Yep, another aim, AING, aiṃ…(ऐँ) with chandra bindu for extra symbolism. The blue colors are for Saraswatī‘s affiliation with water. The composition focuses on balance without symmetry. Because of the way the glyph was constructed, I sometimes see an auṃ trying to emerge, and it reminds me that they are related. Auṃ being the sun, and aiṃ the moon. The character centered on the bottom is in Telugu script, from Andhra Pradesh; it is the first syllable for the name Jāyapa, my signature for this meditation art, and, a tribute to the man (Jāyapa Sennani) who wrote a comprehensive treatise on classical dance Nritya Ratnavali.
I would like to continue with intertwining the aspect ratio and the various relations of the strokes…
If you’re familiar with auṁ (Sanskrit:ॐ, more commonly written as om), the 800-pound gorilla of bija mantras (aka beej mantra or seed syllable), think of the aim bija mantra as aum’s little sister.
So, what exactly is a bija mantra?
Why is it important?
And what is the aim bija mantra?
A good place to start is with eight (8) interesting facts about the aim bija mantra.
1. Aim bija mantra—what is a bija mantra?
Aim is one of a number of bija mantras. First of all, what is a bija mantra? A bija mantra is a monosyllabic mantra, as opposed to longer mantras such as the Gayatri mantra. The word bija, in Sanskrit, means seed, therefore it is also known as a seed mantra or seed syllable. But what is a bija mantra? In Hindu philosophy:
Certain sounds which cannot be translated into a literal meaning but have the power to create great transformative growth and expansion in humans at the physical, emotional and spiritual levels are known as “Bija” or Seed Mantras.
Are you familiar with the chakras? Then you know that seed mantras are associated with each of the seven chakras. When a seed mantra is said out loud,
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And yet another association is with deities. Which leads us to number 2.
2. How to pronounce Aim?
As A-U-M is to om, so too A-I-M is to aim. If you say it really slow, it sounds like ah-ee-mm (like ah-ooh-mm for om). But when you say it quickly, it sounds like “I’m” (where the “m” becomes nasal). Then why is it sometimes written as aing?
Well… it’s more problematic for non-Sanskrit speakers as it is a different means of transliteration. An easy analogy, for me at least, is the difference between Peking and Beijing:
They both refer to the same word
In Chinese, there is only one pronunciation (no Chinese speaker pronounces it with a “p”)
But, depending on the source, you see it written both ways
Clear as mud?
Don’t worry. While proper pronunciation is nice, above all else, it’s your intent that’s important. Especially when reciting mantras in the beginning. Don’t let the player haters fool you.
In typical Hindu fashion, each goddess has her associated seed mantra. The aim bija mantra is associated with Saraswati, goddess of the arts, literature, music, learning, knowledge, and wisdom, for starters. She who dispels darkness and ignorance.
Saraswati is a personal favorite here at The Lazy Beetle. A goodly amount of our articles and designs center around Saraswati, who is just plain awesome no matter what your religion or beliefs. Consequently, if you stick around, or check back, you’ll see more and more Saraswati (and Saraswati mantras) popping up throughout The Lazy Beetle.
This leads us to number 5—what does this mean for the practitioner?
5. What does Aim invoke and what does it mean for the practitioner?
Because aim is associated with the goddess Saraswati, chanting aim aids us in learning, art, expression and communication. Because it represents the energy of sound, in Ayurveda, it strengthens the voice and the vocal chords.
In David Frawley’s book Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, “aim is also the mantra of the guru and helps us access all higher knowledge.” Thus, we can use it to:
Invoke wisdom and understanding
Motivate, to direct and to strengthen our will-power
Orient us toward whatever it is we seek
Increase concentration of our mind to awaken our higher intelligence
*And, imho, it really helps in getting things done that need getting done
In essence, chanting aim is a good thing; a very, very good thing.
6. The feminine counterpart of om (aum)
As Om is the unmanifest and expansive aspect of primal sound, Aim is the manifest or directed form. As Om is the supreme Purusha or cosmic masculine form, Aim is Adya Shakti, the supreme Shakti or cosmic feminine force.
7. The aim bija mantra is the second most common one word mantra after om/aum…
…according to Mr. David Frawley in his book Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound. We don’t make this up folks.
8. Aim with chandrabindu
Lastly, we have the chandrabindu. Now here’s where it gets a little challenging. Nailing down chandrabindu, is like going down a rabbit hole. (The rabbit hole is a common theme at The Lazy Beetle…) Some aim seed mantras contain the chandrabindu while others do not. So, what’s the deal? Is one correct and the other one incorrect?
Here’s where we take a little dive into Sanskrit grammar. To understand chandrabindu, we must first begin with the concept of anusvāra.Anusvāra means after-sound. In modern day Devanāgarī, it appears as a dot over the syllable, e.g,. ta त vs taṃ तं. In Roman script, we use an m with an underdot (ṃ); or some times an overdot (ṁ, as in auṁ). Next, there is the anunāsika (‘from the nose’). When “n” or “m” follow a vowel, the “n” or “m” becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasal. The anunāsika is indicated with chandrabindu in Devanāgarī: la ल vs lṃ लँ. In modern languages, such as Hindi, the anusvāra and anunāsika are used interchangeably, but the anunāsika is used with seed syllables so as to add symbolism. (SeeVisible Mantra and Wikipedia.)
And there you have it folks—chandrabindu for extra symbolism. Thus, to answer the original question, both forms are correct (thank you Hinduism).
Thus concludes our journey of the aim bija mantra. Hopefully, you have a slightly better understanding of the aim bija mantra and bija mantras in general.
We leave with one final thought. For all mantras, it’s your intent that matters. Stay in the present moment, be mindful, and have fun. Because, in the end, that’s what counts.
The aim bija mantra featured in this article is available for sale on Etsy.com.