Definition - What does Tam mean?

Tam is the single-syllable seed mantra of Tara, the Hindu goddess of mercy and compassion who protects and removes fear. She is one of the wisdom goddesses.

Like all shakti bija (seed) mantras, tam is believed to promote the feminine divine energy (shakti) of the goddess with which it is associated. Tam may also be used as a mantra to eliminate disease, illusion and worry. In some traditions, the bija mantra for Tara is treem (sometimes spelled trim).

Yogapedia explains Tam

A bija mantra is often chanted repeatedly to focus the mind on the energy associated with it, but it can — and often is — included as part of longer mantras. Although mantras may have meanings associated with them, they are more valued for the power and energy of their sound vibrations rather than any specific meaning.

In addition to tam, other shakti bija mantras and their related deities include:

  • Aim — Saraswati (wisdom, the arts and music)
  • Shrim — Lakshmi (abundance and wealth)
  • Hrim — Parvati (purification and transformation)
  • Klim or krim — Kali (destruction of evil and obstacles)
  • Dum — Durga (protection)
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