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Learning Sanskrit - Sacred Mantra-s: Klīm̐ (Klim)

Kriṣṇa or Kāmadeva's Bījamantra


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1) The sound Anunāsika (demilune plus dot in the original Sanskrit character above) is a nasal resonance which should be pronounced by keeping the mouth open always, feeling that the sound goes up from the palate up to the crown of the head. If you were to close your mouth at the end of its utterance, that ascension to the summit of the head would be impossible. It sounds like ng approximately.

2) Pronunciation 1 is a good document to start your pronunciation learning.

3) First of all, there is a measure unit called mātrā or the time gap needed to pronounce a short vowel (e.g. a). Short vowels (a, i, u, ṛ, ḷ) last 1 mātrā, while long vowels (ā, ī, ū, ṝ) and diphthongs (e, ai, o, au) last 2 mātrā-s. In turn, Anusvāra and Visarga last 1/2 mātrā. Anunāsika (final resonance indicated by demilune and dot in the above Sanskrit character) also lasts 1/2 mātrā and thus it should not be protracted. Granted, these measurements cannot be followed to the letter the whole time, but one should always attempt to follow them as closely as possible.

4) If you want the Mantra to have a more powerful effect on you, firstly repeat it with the physical tongue, and then with the mental tongue (i.e. repeat it in your mind). If you were to mentally repeat it once while inhaling and once while exhaling, the energy contained in that Mantra would spread much more quickly across your system.

5) Here you will find a complete explanation of the nature, characteristics, etc. of a Mantra.

6) Mental repetition of a Mantra is always more powerful that gross utterance performed by the physical tongue, as the mental tongue is subtler. However, it is usually good to start your practice with some gross utterance before entering the mental one.

7) To repeat a Mantra while one beholds its form, that is, the Sanskrit characters forming it, is extremely auspicious. Therefore, repeat the Mantra while beholding its form and then close your eyes and keep repeating it mentally.

Transliteration IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration) kliim
ITRANS (commonly used online) klI.N 
HARVARD-KYOTO (also commonly used online) klI.m

The celebrated Varadātantra explains the meanings of each of the letters forming this Bījamantra in its sixth chapter:

कः कामदेव उद्दिष्टोऽप्यथवा कृष्ण उच्यते।
ल इन्द्र ई तुष्टिवाची सुखदुःखप्रदा च अँ।
कामबीजार्थ उक्तस्ते तव स्नेहान्महेश्वरि॥

Kaḥ kāmadeva uddiṣṭo'pyathavā kṛṣṇa ucyate|
La indra ī tuṣṭivācī sukhaduḥkhapradā ca am̐|
Kāmabījārtha uktaste tava snehānmaheśvari||

(The letter) "ka" (kaḥ) (is) described (uddiṣṭaḥ) as Kāmadeva (kāmadevaḥ) or (athavā) (it is) even (api) said to be (ucyate) Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇaḥ). (The letter) "la" (la) (is) Indra (indraḥ), (the vowel) "ī" (ī) is expressive (vācī) of satisfaction and contentment (tuṣṭi), and (ca) Anunāsika (i.e. half-moon and dot) (am̐) (is) that which grants (pradā) pleasure (sukha) (and) pain (duḥkha). The meaning (arthaḥ) of Kāmabīja (kāma-bīja) (is) spoken (uktaḥ) to You (te) out of love (snehāt) for You (tava), oh Great (mahā) Mistress (īśvari)!||


  1. The Tantra-s (revealed scriptures, see Tantricism for more information) are presented as a dialogue between Śiva and Śakti. Pretty generally, Śiva acts as the spiritual preceptor or guru, and Śakti as his disciple or śiṣyā. Varadātantra is no exception to the rule.
  2. Kāmadeva is the celebrated god of love.
  3. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Self. He is also the eighth incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu.
  4. Indra is the lord of heaven.
  5. Anunāsika (half-moon and dot) is also known as Nādabindu, being "nāda" the half-moon and "bindu" the dot. Read Meditation 6 for more information about Nādabindu, please.
  6. Even though you can see that the letters forming the seed-mantra are: "k", "l", "ī" and Anunāsika (half-moon and dot), the consonants in the Sanskrit alphabet have an appended "a". What is the reason? Because "a" is Śiva, the Supreme Self, and without Him all consonants are barren, as it were, that is, they have no power at all. Thus, Śiva describes the original consonants including "a" in the stanza, i.e. "ka" and "la" despite they appear without "a" in the seed-mantra itself. In turn, Anunāsika (half-moon and dot) is written am̐ by Śiva, because this is the way it appears in the Sanskrit alphabet as well as Visarga (ḥ) and Anusvāra (ṁ). Without a vowel preceding it, Anunāsika cannot be uttered at all. The same thing is true regarding Visarga and Anusvāra, obviously. And the chosen vowel in the alphabet is "a", of course.
  7. In the last line, Śiva makes clear that, despite this is a seed-mantra of Kāmadeva or Kṛṣṇa, its meaning is uttered out of affection for His own Śakti, i.e. the recitation of this stanza of Varadātantra, in which the meaning of Klīm̐ is explained in detail, is out of love for the Supreme Śakti, got it now?
  8. This seed-mantra is linked to "love", specially "sexual love" as the term "kāma" suggests that.
  9. Bīja-s or seed-mantra-s are always monosyllabic.

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