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Secrets of Mantra—Hara

By Yogi Baba Prem

Too often students of yoga are not exposed to Sanskrit in significant and meaningful ways, let alone considerations regarding the deeper and more subtle aspects of this spiritual language. An example would be hatha, as in the common reference to hatha yoga.  While there is little doubt that the most widely known system of yoga, in the west, is hatha yoga; it is relatively recently that students have become somewhat familiar with hatha being a reference to the Sun and Moon. (ha=sun and tha=moon).  And some modern teachers do realize this is a reference to the internal sun and moon, and more correctly a reference to nadis such as the Pingala and Ida.  The same lack of exposure could be said about the word hara.  Most yoga teachers/practitioners should be familiar with the term hara, though the familiarity would likely be with the word pratyahara, which is a somewhat common term and one of the limbs within the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. While the Yoga Sutras are likely the most widely read yoga texts, few students are given to contemplate the word hara as a standalone term and in its own context.


While hara, the term, is commonly defined as take away, this definition does not provide depth nor insight into the energetics of the word.   For us to explore hara, rather than presenting a diatribe on the Sanskrit etymology, I believe it would be more useful to examine the primal formation of this word.  To explore this better,  let’s examine the word from a different angle--the primal letter.  The primal letters of hara are 'ha' and 'ra'. 


We know from our examination of hatha that 'ha' is a reference to the sun. Additionally, 'ha' is the last letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, meaning it is the final expression and expansion of the cosmic mind from a level of sound. Therefore, It is a more dense expression and aspect of the sun [1].  In some ways, it would be true to say it is the final expression of the outward flow of the internal sun.  With this final expression, conscious is fully manifesting into what we call creation, and creation is set to begin its return journey toward its source. 


'Ra' is even more interesting, as ‘ra’ and its association to the sun is historically pervasive throughout humanity appearing even in Egyptian teachings. Whereas, ‘ha’ is the final expression of the sun, ‘ra’ does have a heating quality and represents the manifestation of the light of the sun[2].  The combination of ‘ha’ and  ra’ represent the flow of sun’s energies, and as such are interestingly somewhat cooling compared to other solar sounds; which is notable considering that solar energy would naturally be heating and a sound such as ‘ra’ forms the foundation for heating mantras such as ram.  


Hara is also a name of Shiva. As an example, there is the name Harihara which is Vishnu and Shiva.     Shiva as Hara takes away negativity and destroys negativity.  The sounds ‘ha’ and ‘ra’ also represent the knowledge of Sadashiva, which is commonly translated as the joyous form of Shiva. Some see Sadashiva as the protector of all creation.  In their lower manifestation, the sounds 'ha' and 'ra' are manas pada--the measure of the mind; indicating that hara can have a transforming effect on the mind.   

Combining all of this information, one can clearly see that hara as a mantra is transforming and elevating.  But caution is advised, as too much repetition of hara can result in an accelerated clearing of energy which can cause undesirable experiences. It may be necessary, to start with somewhat more gentle mantras before beginning a more serious practice with hara. Initially, it is recommended to start with less than 1-minute of the mantra.  I also recommend that it should be practiced under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher.


To learn more about working with ‘Hara’, students may wish to examine our Pranic Healing Program.

[1] The sun is often a metaphor for atman or consciousness. 

[2] Thanks to David Frawley for the reference to 'ra' and light.  This is also found in 'Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound' Lotus Press.

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Yogi Baba Prem

  • Yogi Baba Prem has two books published in India, and has written numerous other books published by Universal Yoga. 


  • His articles have appeared in several traditional magazines and a variety of e-magazines.