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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

mantra (from the Sanskrit; also, mantram) A secret talisman word assigned to devotees of various mystical movements. It is determined not by divine inspiration, as often claimed, but from information such as birth date and the date on which the student first began affiliation with the movement. In some usages, the mantra is supposed to be used by the owner to attain spiritual contact by repeating it endlessly, or to summon up a source of spiritual power.
      The best-known mantra is “Om mani padme hum,” used by Tibetan Buddhists. The simplest is just the word “Om,” attributed to the guru Trimurti. It is recognized in psychology that the constant repetition of a word or phrase (known as echolalia when performed by autistic persons) can be comforting and soothing to the disturbed mind.

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