Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Saguna Mean?

Saguna is a Sanskrit word that means “with attributes” or “with qualities.” It is used several different ways in Indian and yogic philosophy. Saguna refers to the manifestation of God, or Brahman, and it is Brahman appearing in human or animal form.

Saguna Brahman is the personal aspect of Brahman appearing as an incarnation for worship by believers. Saguna Brahman is also known by both male and female aspects: Ishvara, Parameshvara, Maheshvara, Shiva, Durga, Kali and Divine Mother, among others.


Yogapedia Explains Saguna

In meditation, saguna meditation focuses on the tangible, such as a sound, a deity, an image, the breath or a point of light. In this type of meditation, the yogi is separate from, yet devoted to, his/her ishta devata (personal deity). The ultimate goal is union with the Absolute or Higher Self, but it is through nirguna (“without attributes”) meditation that the union is achieved.

A common tool in saguna meditation is the saguna mantra, which is designed to invoke the ishta devata. Some believe that repeating saguna mantras can lead to the actual manifestation of the deity who is the focus of the mantra. Two common saguna mantras are:

  • Om Gam Ganapataye Namah – This mantra is recited for the power of Lord Ganesha to remove obstacles to success.
  • Om Namah Shivaya – This mantra praises Lord Shiva and is traditionally chanted for healing.

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