What Is Baba Nam Kevalam?

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बाबा नाम केवलम

Baba (beloved) + Nam (name) + Kevalam (only)

Baba Nam Kevalam Definition

Baba Nam Kevalam is a Sanskrit mantra often translated as: “only the name of the beloved,” but may be also understood as “love is all there is,” or “the love of the supreme consciousness is the essence of all things.”

Baba is an honorific term often translated as “father,” or “most beloved one,” used to affectionately address a wise elder or guru. In the mantra, it is understood as describing a near and tender relationship with the divine.

Nam means “identity” or “name.”

Kevalam means “only,” “solely,” “completely,” “exclusively.”

representation of the baba nam kevalam mantra

Baba Nam Kevalam Deep Dive

Baba Nam Kevalam is a modern mantra, developed in 1970 by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, the founder and spiritual leader of Ananda Marga (Path of Bliss). Sarkar, sometimes known by his followers as Sri Sri Anandamurti, founded Ananda Marga in 1955 as a worldwide spiritual and social service organization. It exists to this day in over 180 countries, with a mission to help people become self-realized and improve collective welfare.

Sarkar is said to have gifted the mantra, Baba Nam Kevalam, to all of humanity, and it is therefore considered a universal mantra, meaning it can be used by anyone, under many different circumstances.

Some stories claim that miracles occurred when the mantra was first used during a kirtan in October of 1970. Since then, it has been used as a mantra for meditation, japa, singing, and more, and is still considered the quintessential mantra by Ananda Marga. The organization recommends singing or chanting it for 10-15 minutes before meditation, and it is considered very powerful during kirtan.

Like all mantras, Baba Nam Kevalam is meant to liberate the mind by freeing it from negative thoughts and creating inner peace.

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar portrait
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar

Baba Nam Kevalam in Your Life

Among the gifts imparted by the mantra Baba Nam Kevalam is its versatility in a multitude of applications. Beginner yogis and experienced practitioners appreciate its short, rhythmic, rhyming qualities.

The mantra may be used to prepare for meditation, or as an integral part of it. Try chanting it out loud, quietly, or even silently. In japa meditation or mantra meditation it may help to use mala beads, but it’s also OK to use rosary beads, tasbih beads, or any other type of beaded accessory that helps you maintain a point of contact for counting.

Similarly, you can meditate by focusing on your breath, and with every breath in recite Baba Nam Kevalam, and with every breath out, Baba Nam Kevalam.

Baba Nam Kevalam is also commonly sung, sometimes with accompanying music. You can do this alone, or at a kirtan.

As always, see what works for you and gives you the sense of the mantra’s true meaning.

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To go deep and expand your yogic knowledge, access our free Yoga Terms Encyclopedia, where we host a profound wealth of ancient and timeless yogic wisdom in an accessible modern format.

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Hailing from the Yukon, Canada, David (B.A, M.A.) is a yoga teacher (200-hour therapeutic YTT) and long-time student and practitioner of various spiritual disciplines including vedanta and Islam.

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