Have you ever heard a yogi chant Baba Nam Kevalam in their wonderfully meditative manner? If you have, you know what beauty this mantra holds by simply hearing its divine sounds fill your ears. But do you know what it really means so that you, too, can begin integrating this lovely chant into your own mantra meditation practice?
Here you'll learn the literal Sanskrit translation of Baba Nam Kevalam, its deeper meaning, the benefits of chanting it and how to start a japa mantra practice with it.
Baba, roughly translated, means “beloved.” You may have heard of yogis whose names begin or end with the honorific title of Baba — like Neem Karoli Baba or Sathya Sai Baba. They are being referred to as being beloved by their disciples. Nam, when translated to English, means “name.” That’s easy to remember, right? In some cases, Sanskrit isn’t too terribly different from English. Then we have Kevalam, which can be understood as “only.” When we put all three words together, we have a powerful mantra that means “Only the name of the beloved.”
The Deeper Meaning
Yogis believe that the Divine is love, and that this love is pure consciousness. It is the essence of everything that exists and all that surrounds us. When we recite the mantra, Baba Nam Kevalam, what we’re saying is that love is constantly surrounding us at all times. We need to confirm this truth over and over again. It is one of the reasons why we have this mantra as part of a yogi's toolbox.
We often forget that we are surrounded by divine essence that is pure love and that love is our true nature because fear is part of the human experience, and our ego keeps us in fear more often than not. The more we recite the Baba Nam Kevalam mantra, the more we can continually see our lives from this enlightened perspective.
(Let go of ego and learn How to Choose Love Over Fear With Each Thought.)
Benefits of Baba Nam Kevalam
Surrounded in Love
Think of the many wonderful ways your life might change for the better when you begin to surround yourself with the love that is the essence of everything! What wonder, what strength and what bliss you will attain! The ancient yogis knew this deeply, which is why this particular mantra is such an important one.
It’s also a uniquely universal mantra because it is not focused upon any particular god or goddess like so many of the yogic chants are. Love really IS the answer. You may find once you begin chanting Baba Nam Kevalam regularly, that it becomes your favorite mantra, accessible at all times and in all circumstances.
While many contemplative disciplines, like transcendental meditation, assign a yogi with a personal mantra, many are universal in nature. That’s the beauty of Baba Nam Kevalam; it truly is accessible to all, making it more powerful when it comes to the unity and connection that is at the heart of yoga.
Purifies the Mind
Another fantastic boon of this mantra is that it’s believed to help clear away mental disturbances, the ones that inflict our lives with pain and suffering. While all mantras have this purifying effect on our mental state, Baba Nam Kevalam is believed to be uniquely powerful when it comes to mental health. When our minds are cleared of clutter, spiritual solutions arise and peace takes the place of worry and mental unrest. That’s reason enough to start reciting Baba Nam Kevalam on a daily basis!
For Your Japa Mantra Practice
It's an ideal mantra to recite as part of your japa mantra practice before sitting in silence. This mantra quiets the mind and drops you into a state of mental rest, where you can sit more effectively in meditation.
As you sit quietly with your eyes closed, begin repeating, “Only the name of the beloved,” for a few minutes and then switch over to Baba Nam Kevalam. This can help us implant the meaning into our English speaking brains before switching over to the powerful seeds of a Sanskrit sound.
For this mantra to work its magic, sit with it and recite it two times every day — once in the morning and once in the evening. You can regard it as a powerful bookend to your day. It can set a peaceful and loving tone in the morning, making the rest of your day more pleasant. It can then help you ease into the last part of the day with grace and wisdom, which will help you get a better night of sleep.
(More on japa mantra in The Makings of a Japa Mantra and How to Add This Yogic Practice to Your Sadhana.)
All You Need Is Love!
Feel free to chant the mantra anywhere, any time. That’s the beauty of universal and powerful words. Let Baba Nam Kevalam enhance your life and bring you into contact with the love that’s constantly surrounding you — the love that is your true nature.
(Continue reading for the The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum.)