Sanskrit & Trika Shaivism (English-Home)

JavaScript is disabled! Check this link!

Learning Sanskrit - Sacred Mantra-s: Krīm̐ (Krim)

Kālī's Bījamantra


Right-click the image and choose "Save Picture As..." or something like this to download the image


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) kriim
ITRANS (commonly used online) krI.N 
HARVARD-KYOTO (also commonly used online) krI.m

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

क काली ब्रह्म र प्रोक्तं महामायार्थकश्च ई।
विश्वमातार्थको नादो बिन्दुर्दुःखहरार्थकः॥

Ka kālī brahma ra proktaṁ mahāmāyārthakaśca ī|
Viśvamātārthako nādo bindurduḥkhaharārthakaḥ||

(The letter) "ka" (kaḥ) (is) Kālī (kālī), (the letter) "ra" (ra) (is) said to be (proktam) Brahma (brahma), and (ca) (the vowel) "ī" (ī) means (arthakaḥ) Mahāmāyā (mahā-māyā). Nāda or half-moon (nādaḥ) signifies (arthakaḥ) the Mother (mātā) of the universe (viśva), (while) bindu or dot (binduḥ) means (arthakaḥ) destroyer (hara) of pain (duḥkha)||


  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. Kālī is the terrifying black goddess linked to Time which consumes all.
  3. Brahma is the Absolute.
  4. Mahāmāyā or great Māyā (the veiling power) is according to Trika (Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir) a special kind of Māyā which is operating in the tattva-s 3 to 5. She is called like that because subject ("I") and object ("this") exist as two realities, but the subject experiences unity with the object though. In turn, under the influence of the common "Māyā", the subject experiences no unity with the object, but he feels different and separated from it. See the documents in "Trika/Trika (overview)" section for more information.
  5. In this seed-mantra, "nāda" (the half-moon in Anunāsika) is the Mother of the universe, i.e. the Supreme Śakti or Power from whom the entire cosmos has been manifested.
  6. 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.
  7. Even though you can see that the letters forming the seed-mantra are: "k", "r", "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 "ra" despite they appear without "a" in the seed-mantra itself.
  8. Bīja-s or seed-mantra-s are always monosyllabic.

Back to Klīm̐ Top  Continue to read Kṣraum̐