Definition - What does Bija mean?

Bija is a Sanskrit term that literally translates to “seed.” In yoga, this word can be used in a number of ways. Firstly, bija is a metaphor for the starting point or origin of all creation. It is the seed from which everything originated.

Another common use of the term is to refer to bija mantras. These are seed mantras -- one syllable sounds which have no literal meaning, but connect to spiritual principles or energies. It is believed that these seeds have the potential to accelerate physical, emotional and spiritual growth and transformation.

Yogapedia explains Bija

The most well-known bija mantra is Om (or Aum), the sacred syllable that echoes the primordial sound of the universe. There are also bija mantras which correspond to each of the seven chakras. These mantras can be chanted while meditating on each of the chakras to help balance their energies. In yoga practice specifically, bija mantras can be chanted while performing poses that stimulate their respective chakras.

The mantras for each chakra are:

  1. Muladhara (Root) - LAM
  2. Svadisthana (Spleen or Sacral) - VAM
  3. Manipura (Solar Plexus) - RAM
  4. Anahata (Heart) - YAM
  5. Visuddha (Throat) - HAM
  6. Ajna (Third Eye) - U
  7. Sahasrara (Crown) - OM

It is said that using these bija mantras harmonizes the systems of the body and mind. As such, they may also be used in sound therapy.

Tibetan Buddhists also have bija mantras associated with the Three Vajras, sometimes called the Three Secrets. These are:

  • Enlightened body - a white OM
  • Enlightened speech - a red AH
  • Enlightened mind - a blue HUM

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