Magicians have used mantras in the performance of magic since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians. Mantras are considered «names of power» and have been used in conjuring up deities and casting spells. The history of their use continues from the Egyptians and Hebrews through the Gnostics, especially Simon Magus, as well as in the Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and sects to the present.
The secret names of God such as Yahweh, Adomai and Elohim were considered very powerful mantras. (See: Law of Names) Nonsensical syllables derived from selecting the first letters of various scriptural verses also composed mantras.
Om, the Supreme Reality, is the most sacred mantra of the Hindu. It represents the sound from which the universe was created. There is a variety of Om mantras: Om, Tat, Sat, Om, meaning «O Thou Self-exisent One.»
A Buddhist mantra is Om mani padme hum, which is translated as «O, Jewel of the Lotus, Hum,» or «The Supreme Reality (is the) jewel of Oneness.» The Om mani padme hum mantra also is called the Mani mantra and is used by many Buddhists constantly for many purposes such as enhancing bodily washings and eliminations, and to heal. In the Pure Land sect, the mantra is used to ask fore entry into the Pure Land after death. Many wear these mantras as amulets to ward off evil and bad luck.
In Buddhism the repetition of Om in meditation helps to create spiritual light and power to cleanse the subtle body and do away with disharmony.
Exorcists in Sri Lanka use secrets mantras to expels demons and ghosts believed responsible for possession, illness and misfortune. The mantras are used in the accompaniment of drums, dancing and curative oils.
In the 20th century, Aleister Crowley created his AUMGN mantra. To Crowley it was an expression of the Om mantra which he believed to be the magical formulae of the universe. He thought the sound vibrations of AUMGN were so powerful that any magician using it would be able to control the uninersal forces. A.G.H.
Mantras meanings in spiritual traditions
Mantras, a concept deeply rooted in various spiritual and esoteric traditions, are considered powerful tools in the practice of magic, meditation, and ritual. They have been used across different cultures and time periods for various purposes, ranging from invocation and spellcasting to spiritual enlightenment and protection.
Ancient Use in Magic
- Egyptians and Assyrians: The use of mantras in magic dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, where they were used in religious and magical ceremonies.
- Names of Power: Mantras are often regarded as «names of power,» used to conjure deities or cast spells.
Across Various Traditions
- Judaism: In Jewish mysticism, secret names of God like Yahweh, Adonai, and Elohim were viewed as powerful mantras.
- Gnosticism: Figures like Simon Magus in Gnostic tradition utilized mantras in their mystical practices.
- Hinduism: In Hinduism, mantras are integral to spiritual practice, with ‘Om’ being the most sacred, symbolizing the primordial sound of the universe.
- Buddhism: Mantras like ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ are central in Buddhist practice, used for meditation, healing, and spiritual advancement.
Applications and Effects
- Spiritual Practices: Mantras are used in meditation and spiritual exercises to create harmony, spiritual light, and cleanse the subtle body.
- Protection and Healing: They are often worn as amulets for protection against evil and misfortune and used in healing practices.
- Exorcism: In some cultures, like in Sri Lanka, mantras are used by exorcists to expel demons and alleviate illnesses or misfortune.
Modern Usage and Adaptations
- Aleister Crowley’s AUMGN: In the 20th century, occultist Aleister Crowley developed the AUMGN mantra, an adaptation of ‘Om’, which he believed had the power to control universal forces.
- Continued Use in Spiritual Practices: Today, mantras continue to be a significant element in various spiritual and esoteric practices, used for meditation, personal transformation, and ritualistic purposes.
Cultural and Psychological Aspects
- Cultural Significance: Mantras hold cultural significance in many traditions, often embodying deep philosophical and theological concepts.
- Psychological Impact: The repetitive use of mantras can have a calming and focusing effect on the mind, making them useful in stress reduction and mindfulness practices.