Nirguna Mantra

Definition - What does Nirguna Mantra mean?

Nirguna mantra is one of three main categories of mantras, which are single words, sounds or phrases repeated either aloud or silently to aid in meditation and/or to achieve a specific result or purpose. Nirguna comes from Sanskrit meaning “without attributes.” As a mantra, it is a tool used to gain liberation from the recurring cycle of life, death and reincarnation; and for union with Brahman, or the Absolute.

Mantras, in general, and nirguna mantras, in particular, are frequently chanted in yoga as part of meditation, pranayama and even certain asana practices. Nirguna mantras are more advanced, intended for deeper meditation and require higher concentration.

Yogapedia explains Nirguna Mantra

Also known as Brahmik mantras, the nirguna mantras have goals that are more esoteric than other mantras. They do not appeal to a particular deity, object or idol. The other two main types of mantras are bija ("seed") mantras, which are one-syllable sounds representing specific deities or chakras; and saguna mantras, which evoke the energy and power of particular deities. Saguna means “with attributes or qualities.”

One of the most common nirguna mantras is om (also spelled aum), which has no specific meaning but is valued for its sound vibration, representing the primordial cosmic sound and Brahman. Additional examples of nirguna mantras include:

  • Soham – "I am that" or “I am what I am.”
  • Aham Brahma Asmi – “I am Brahman.”
  • Tat Twam Asi – “That thou art.”

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter