In yoga, chanting a mantra is a
practice that yogis use to focus concentration on one thought and/or
still the mind in meditation. The guru mantra can be as simple as
repeating the name of the ishta devata, or personal god, or it
can be a series of bija (seed) sounds or a meaningful expression. For
example, the guru might tell the disciple to repeat the primordial sound, Om
(or Aum), as a japa for his/her guru mantra.
A guru mantra may also be more complex,
such as this tribute to the teacher-guru:
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo
Guru sakshat, param Brahma, tasmai
shri guravay namah.
In this mantra, the yogi appeals to the
Hindu Trinity - Brahma (force of creation), Vishnu (force of preservation)
and devo Maheshwara (force of transformation). It acknowledges the
lessons learned through life experiences and honors both the human
and spiritual guru, including the guru within.