Here is the definition as per Merriam Webster online dictionary:
: a mystical formula of invocation or incantation (as in Hinduism); also : watchword 2
Examples of MANTRA
1. a businessman whose mantra is “bigger is better”
Origin of MANTRA
Sanskrit, sacred counsel, formula, from manyate he thinks; akin to Latin mens mind — more at mind
First Known Use: 1795
From Eastern understanding:
The Hindu spiritual teachings in the Veda define mantra as a translation of the human will. The mantra “AUM” and “OM” are two single syllable mantras. And yet within these simple mantras lies a complexity, that by recitation in a centered and focused way the mantra takes on a life of its own and transforms the singer of the mantra into the target of the mantra being sung and the person singing becomes the object sung for. Another way of saying this is the vocal sounds of the mantra have inherent meaning independent of the understanding of the person uttering them. An example of this is AUM.
The AUM which it is said within in this mantra is found the entirety of existence. The Gayatri Mantra is another example of the use of song to invoke the Godhead to bring us closer and ultimately become that for which is being invoked in this manner through mantra.
The Gayatri Mantra:
By chanting this mantra, Divine spiritual light and power is infused in each of the seven chakras and connects them to the Spiritual Realms. The last part infuses our minds, hearts and souls with the power of the spiritual light that created the Universe.
OM BHUR BHUVAHA SWAHA OM TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM BHARGHO DEVASYA DHIMAHI DHIYO YONAHA PRACHODAYAT
The Gayatri Mantra has been revered for thousands of years by both Hindus and Buddhists alike. It is considered a supreme vehicle for enlightenment. It is called "The Mantra of Spiritual Light" because it infuses the Spiritual Light of Creation into all the seven Chakras. It heals the body, feeds the Spirit and illumines the Intellect. Not enough praise can be given to this Queen of all Mantras.
The balanced qualities of the Mantra
The Gayatri is a perfectly balanced mantra, yin and yang. The body or text of the Gayatri Mantra is feminine, and her message or invocation is masculine. Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas and this means the mother of all knowledge. She appeals to the masculine Savitur, which is said to be the radiance of perception and intelligence. This radiance, which is everywhere and in every experience, is likened to the radiance of our solar sun. In other words, all of the knowledge of the intricate ways of existence is contained within the syllables of the mantra and so too is the means and vehicle with which to go beyond knowledge as well.
So in a nutshell, what is a mantra? It is a mystical formula or invocation. This mantra can also be in the form of a single word. Most mantras come to us from the east in Sanskrit or Tibetan. The mantra is normally sung or recited in a non-
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