Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mantra

This paper is based on research and theories of Dr. Gopalakrishnan (M.Sc. (Pharm); M.Sc. (Chem.); M.A. (Soc.); PhD (Bio); D.Lit (Scientist, CSIR)) and Dr. Sambasivan (M.S. (Gen); M.S. (Neuro); F. R. C. S (Neurosurgeon, President, World Federation of Neurosurgical Society)). I’m thankful to God Almighty for opening the doors for me, and blessing me to know Him more and understand the rich heritage of Haindava Samskaar. In this paper we are going to talk about Mantras.

Definition of Mantra

Mananena thraayathe iti mantra =

Mananena thraayathe =“a transforming thought”; literally, “that which, when thought, carries one across [the worldly ocean of sorrow]” (Wikipedia).

iti mantra = that is mantra

The power of a mantra lies in its ability to produce an objective, perceptible change in the yogi who repeats it correctly. When a mantra is chanted in rhythmic tone/sound with its highs and lows, create a melodious musical effect in the human brain and the rest of the body. This effect is defined as the neurolinguistic effect. The vibrations emitted through chanting triggers bio-chemical changes in the human body and also activate the energy molecules in the environment. This can be achieved by not knowing the true meaning of the mantra, but continues replicated listening or chanting alone. This theory can be backed by the science of neurolinguisitic effect. Thus said, if one knows the meaning of a mantra, it has got an additional effect/advantage which is known as Neurolinguistic (NLE)+ Psycholinguistic effect (PLE). Researchers are still trying to understand the intensity of the above energies on human bodies and the environment. Remember the NLE and PLE effects are due to the production and spreading of curative chemicals in the brain which enhances calming and curing effect ih human body and mind.

Benefits of Listening to Mantras

Manthras help us attract positive energy and also assist in clarifying problems beyond direct human control. According to Dr. Gopalakrishnan, the ideal effect of mantra chanting can be maintained, at radius 7 meters from the person who chants it.

Listening to mantras directly lowers blood pressure (also cholesterol level), normalizes heartbeat, regulates brain wave pattern, and also controls adrenalin level in the blood due to the formation of curative hormones/chemicals in the brain. Modern medicine is currently making extensive use of music therapy, yoga and pranayaama to heal human mind and body. Chanting the keerthans, melodious bhajans, songs, etc activates positive energy flows and create both NLE and PLE. However there should be a melodious pattern for that. Dr. Gopalakrishnan advices the music/song/mantra should not be practiced in harsh and rough tones. The delivery speed should possess a soothing affect, for example, Gayatri mantra chanting should be done at the range of 4 - 8 numbers per minute, Om Namo Narayanaaya at 38 -62 and Om Namassivaaya at 42 – 68 range per minute.

Types of Mantras

There are four types of Mantras :

  1. The Vedic mantras,
  2. The Puranic mantras,
  3. The Itihaasic mantras and
  4. The Karma mantras.

Generally the Veda mantras are chanted in each and every step of the Yaagaas. But in poojas/ archanas and prayers only few lines/sookthas of vedas are chanted. But all the mantras chanted in poojas and in temple rituals are not Veda mantras. Majority of them are puraan and karma mantras.

When chanting Veda mantras, only when the meaning and the sruthi are understood, can the benefit from Neurolinguistic and Psycholinguistic effects be attained for mental/ physical and spiritual merits.

Veda mantras have ten types of sruthees/swaras/tones:

  1. Udaattha,
  2. Anudaattha,
  3. Swaritha,
  4. Repha,
  5. Hraswa,
  6. Pracheya,
  7. Anunaasikaa,
  8. Kampa,
  9. Deergha kampa,
  10. Plutha.

Few examples of Veda Mantra are:

  • Purusha sookatha,
  • Sreesuktha,
  • Bhaagya sooktha,
  • Rudra,
  • Chamaka,
  • Navagraha sooktha,
  • Gayatri manthra,
  • Mruthyunjaya manthra.

Purana mantras are those mantras which are present in one or more of the eighteen mahapuranaas or upapuraanaas. They can generally be chanted by anyone including ladies independent of caste and religion with sareera sudhi, aahara sudhi, manasuddhi, vaak suddhi and karma suddhi. In these mantras generally there are no rigid sruthies and rules for chanting the puraana mantras. One can opt for their own ragas. The rules for learning the purana mantras are not rigid, but one should have clear voice/sound and devotion and sincerity. Purana mantras can be chanted for poojas or as evening and morning prayers.

Few Examples of Purana Mantras are:

  • Lalitha sahasra naama,
  • Devi maahathmya,
  • Siva sahasranaama,
  • Ganesa sthothras.

Ideal ways to chant a Mantra

Mantras chanted at specific times of the day are proven to have more influence on human body. . The ideal timings are the prabhata (Morning) sandhya (Evening) and saayam sandhya (late evening). In physics the time, space and observer are the three important factors. In Vedas, the time, space and the person connected with chanting/listening mantras are three important factors for deriving benefit of mantras.

Group chanting is excellent form of energy generation. Vedic chanting should be done with absolute care. Hence sareera suddhi (Clean body), ahaara suddhi (appropriate food), mana suddhi (purified mind), vaak suddhi (clean speech) and karma suddhi (morally excepted way of performing one’s duty or work) are essential for deriving the full benefit of chanting the mantra. A clean, comfortable and peaceful environment is also necessary for reaping the true effects of mantra.

Who can chant Vedic Mantras?

One need not be a Brahmin for learning Vedas. There are many scholars in Kerala, who are not Brahmins by birth but have attained even a higher level than Brahmins, who are chanting the Veda mantras. There are thousands of ladies in Karnataka who chant Veda mantras perfectly and also some of them perform Yaagas by themselves. It takes years of training for anyone to learn the Vedas and rigorous customs and rituals (rules) are to be followed during the learning period.

Those who are interested in learning Vedas should learn all the vedic swaras listed above. Veda mantras SHOULD be chanted with sruthi. Even the meaning of the mantra might change if not properly chanted. Hence it is generally advised that anyone should not chant Veda mantra carelessly, but can listen (sruthi) for getting the positive effects. Like in physics three parameters are important the place (space) of chanting the mantra, the time (physics also time) and the person who chants mantra (in physics it is the observer).

9 comments:

Ranjeesh said...

My advice for those who chant mantra is that , chat mantra loudly & fast in the first half .. This helps in quickly energizing, to feel good, to come out of the chattering mind .. In the second half, bring down the volume and slow down .. make it very subtle .. It can take you to a deep meditative state .. Don't forget that Mantra is the First step and meditation is the last step ..

Cheers

Anonymous said...

"This theory can be backed by the science of neurolinguisitic effect."

But off course! it had to be backed by NLP. Has there been any rigorous empirical verification for NLP? The last I heard there wasn't. That's primarily because with developments in neuroscience we know quite a bit about brain development and sorry NLP no matter how scientific it sounds is just another new age psychotherapy junk. Does 'Nature' carry peer reviewed articles on NLP? Well no.

"Manthras help us attract positive energy and also assist in clarifying problems beyond direct human control."

This doesn't make any scientific sense. What form of energy is being discussed here? Can it be measured in the natural observable world? What do you mean by 'positive' energy?

"Listening to mantras directly lowers blood pressure (also cholesterol level), normalizes heartbeat, regulates brain wave pattern, and also controls adrenalin ......"

Sure and the reduction in the number of pirates is responsible for global warming http://www.seanbonner.com/blog/archives/001857.php. That is not how you establish causation in a scientific study. How about giving the subjects some other soothing music to listen to, and telling them that its some mysterious hymn that will cure their ailments. I bet the scientific study would show similar results.Could it not be another form of the placebo effect?

Am just too tired to critique this whole article..but I guess you get the message.

Srija Anand said...

To the Anonymous,

Arguments can be raised against every line or phrase of articles based on philosophy. I write what little I know of the focus of my interest. I research and try to find answers to the questions I have.
I studied NLP before I wrote, and as you must know, a Theory is an explanation of a set of observation based on a particular hypothesis. The confidence level of the claim can be questioned by any critic and that makes the subject even more interesting.
Following is an excerpt of the background of NLP : Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the 1970's. NLP is being applied in UK education, for example through the UK NLP network called `NLPEdNet'iv, through interest from associations such as the Society for Effective Affective Learning (SEALv)

NLP has received little attention in academic research or publishing to date. There is a sporadic literature in several fields. These include education (Craft 2001), training and development (e.g. Lee 1993; Thompson et al 2002; Trickey 1997), and management (e.g. Ashok and Santhakumar 2002; Georges 1996).
Much of this literature explores applications of NLP to the field of practice in question. Research interest, from experimental psychology, consisted mainly of studies in the 1980's that examined NLP's `eye movement' model.

NLP was originated by John Grinder (whose background was in linguistics) and Richard Bandler (whose background was in mathematics and gestalt therapy) for the purpose of making explicit models of human excellence. Their work Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Vol. I & II (1975, 1976) examined the verbal and behavioral patterns of Milton Erickson, founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and one of the most widely acknowledged and clinically successful psychiatrists of our times. As a result of this earlier work, Grinder and Bandler formalized their modeling techniques and their own individual contributions under the name "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" to symbolize the relationship between the brain, language and the body. The basics of this model has been described in a series of books including Frogs Into Princes (Bandler & Grinder, 1979 ) ,

Through the years, NLP has developed some very powerful tools and skills for communication and change in a wide range of professional areas including: counseling, psychotherapy, education, health, creativity, law, management, sales, leadership and parenting.

Few materials that can be read in this field are:

Ashok S. & Santhakumar A.R. (2002) `NLP to promote TQM for effective implementation of ISO 9000' Managerial Auditing Journal, 5 June 2002, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 261-265

Buckner, M., Meara, N. M., Reese, E. J., & Reese, M. (1987) `Eye movement as an indicator of sensory components in thought', Journal of Counseling Psychology Vol 34 no. 3 pp. 283 - 287

Dorn, F.J., Brunson, B.I. & Atwater, M. (1983) `Assessment of Primary Representational Systems with Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Examination of Preliminary Literature', American Mental Health Counsellors Journal vol. 5 pt. 4 pp. 161-168

Fauconnier, G. (1997) Mappings in Thought and Language Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

Jupp, J. J. (1989) `Neurolinguistic programming: An experimental test of the effectiveness of "leading" in hypnotic inductions', British Journal of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 6 no. 2 pp. 91 - 97

Talmy, Leonard (1985) `Force Dynamics in Language and Thought', in Papers from Parasessions on Causative Agentivity Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago: Chicago U.P. pp 293 - 337.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1939) `Thought and Speech', Psychiatry 2: pp29- 54

IN CONCLUSION ABOUT NLP:
Some theories are practiced, and experienced by all, believed by few, and understood by none!

________________________________

POSITIVE ENERGY: simply means, Energies that help bring positive results within an object and around an object. It does not mean a positively charged ion! The term "positive energy" is very familiar to the philosophical, spiritual, and holistic world, and of course very unfamiliar to the skeptics.

I enjoyed the Global Warming joke of urs. With my limited knowledge, I know that relaxation and deep breathing helps proper blood circulation and regulates heart beat. For the skeptics : A mantra cannot be chanted without proper relaxation. A mantra cannot be chanted if the breathing is irregular. So for the skeptics who do not believe in this can visit any cancer treatment facilities in the United States and abroad and can find themselves in midst of people believing in themselves and the power within. Please understand that the mind have a lot of power over the body, weather proven or not, but all that brave cancer survivors are living proofs of this theory practiced in one form or the other.

Last but not least, Dont be tired of Critiquing. Keep it coming :)

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ram said...

mantras play a very crucial role while reciting. there is a way in reciting these mantras, and any deviation from the right way, is not good for the reciter. it gives a negative effect. or it wont be of any effect to reciter.

Srija Abhishek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Srija Abhishek said...

@Ram : I really appreciate your comment. Saying that, let me reinforce that pure intention, good heart, and free spirit of the reciter supersede everything else. Reciting mantras inaccurately will not result in negative effects, although it might not trigger miracles :D