One day, out of the blue, someone known to someone who knew my state, phoned me. He gave me a mantra to cool me down. He dictated the mantra which I had to recite and the written copy to be kept below my pillow while I slept. Always under the impression that mantra is a negligible energy, I was not too enthused. But, being in a state of desperation, I recited the mantra a few times on the phone and got the rhythm and phonetics correct. After putting down the phone, I closed my eyes and started saying the mantra repeatedly. And suddenly, after over 4 months of intense heat experience, I started feeling cold and in control of my body. Minal, my wife came and touched the bed where I was sitting and found it to be ice-cold. That started my process of recovery from the horrifying heat in my body. That was my first experience of the power of mantra.
Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist, took water samples and subjected it to simple words like love, thank you, war and hate. These water samples were then examined under the microscope. The samples subjected to love and thank you formed into brilliant crystal shapes. The hate and war samples formed ugly, amorphous shapes. This brought out the impact of words on water, as it would be on other elements. One can imagine the impact of words on humans who are made of 80% water.
There have been a lot of experiments on the influence of music, sounds, mantras and words on plants, animals, people and water. And for every one sensitive to the influence of music, sounds mantras and words it will be no surprise that harmonious classical music like that of Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Mozart and Beethoven or of harmonious new-age music, words like “I love you” and natural sounds of the sea, whales etc have a benevolent influence. And the opposite has been the case with disharmonious music like heavy metal, sounds like traffic noise and words like “I hate you”. The entire Indian classical music with its different ragas is based on the understanding of mantras on the psyche. The recent discovery of scientific and medical potency of ultrasound and ultrasonic devices is a pointer towards the impact that sound has on us.
Indian ancient seers and Rishis with their deep science and knowledge used sounds, syllable, word, or group of words called "mantra" to create transformation in mind, body and spirit. Mantras are essentially vibrations which help to intensify the purification and energization of the human mind-body-consciousness.
Mantras start a powerful vibration which corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and a state of consciousness in seed form. Over time, the mantra process begins to override all of the other smaller vibrations, which eventually become absorbed by the mantra. After a length of time which varies from individual to individual, the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Ultimately, the mantra produces a state where the organism vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy and spiritual state represented by and contained within the mantra.
At this point, a change of state occurs in the organism. The organism becomes subtly different. Just as a laser is light which is coherent in a new way, the person who becomes one with the state produced by the mantra is also coherent in a way which did not exist prior to the conscious undertaking of repetition of the mantra.
More powerful than individual alphabets are the atomised combinations of alphabets to create a powerful seed or primary mantras (Bija mantras) such as Hrim, Krim, Aung, Phat, Klim etc. While, these bija mantras do not convey any meaning, the unleashing of their energy by repetition can act on various parts of the human consciousness to create powerful impact.
Bhajans, kirtans, prayer, healing mantras are some other forms of word manipulation to impact us. Vibrations can be audible or inaudible. The mantra is internalized in five stages (each stage being equally powerful): through writing, through speaking, through whispering, through thinking and through uninterrupted inner repetition (japa).
It is important to understand that as much as the exact word, it is the Chhanda (rhythm, enunciation, chanting, combination of musical accents and the speed) that is critical. The specific pattern of sonic waveforms generated by the mantra–japa depends upon the syllables of the mantra and the type of chhanda used. The assignment of appropriate chhanda for the spiritual evolution processes (sadhana) of practicing a mantra is decided with reference to the purpose of the sadhana, the configuration of the mantra-syllables and the mental and spiritual level of the sadhaka. For example, the chhanda or rhythm of the mantra that I repeat is such that with the gaps to breath in the rhythm, I breath only 12 times a minute instead of 15. That slows down my breathing speed and improves my health.
The japa of the bija generates the ‘energy’ essential for initiating the activation of the shakti (sonic power) of the associated mantra. The impact of sound on this system results in corresponding vibrations in the molecular, cellular (e.g., an enzyme in a cell or a membrane, or a hormone...) or organ (e.g., the liver, uterus or ears.....), brain cortex (visual, thinking, memory....) and generates isolated or cascade effects (positive or negative, depending on the type of sound) on the interconnected subsystems.
Several instances of the negative physical effects of the impact of sound on the gross body have been scientifically verified. Examples of the positive physical effects (on the gross bodies of any living being) include – increase in the immunity of human beings under specific therapies based on sound; acceleration of the growth rate of vegetation by special music; increase in milk production of cows and bulls; increase in the reproduction rates of some varieties of fish and hens under certain music-based treatments.
The main Bija mantra is Aum or Om. This is an all-encompassing chanting that is not just healing, but can energize humans and accelerate their spiritual growth. I have written in my earlier blogs of the tremendous power of chanting of Aum.
There are various mantras that activate different parts of the body and mind. The Ganesha mantra "Aum gam ganapataye namah" works on the muladhar (root) chakra, its connected organs and brain cortex and the earth element. The Saraswati mantra " Om Aim Kleeng Saum Saraswatiya Namaha" works on the vishuddha chakra (throat chakra), its connected organs and brain cortex and the ether element. There are thousands of similar mantras that energize, open blockages and strengthen different chakras, organs, brain cortex etc.
Mahamrutunjaya Mantra has great healing quality and is chanted when one is seriously ill. But, the most powerful and complete mantra is the Gayatri mantra. It is the most holistic and integrated mantra, which is very potent and powerful. It energizes many parts of the body and is recited when one wants overall and general well being and shakti.