The Incredible Power of Mantra


#1

The great yogic sage, Patanjali once described many yogic tools that could affect our internal systems. These included diet, movement, sleep, breath, and also the use of sound or chanting mantra. If we were to compare the human being to a highly evolved computer system, we would see that there are two ways in which programs are fed into the computer’s CPU, or central processing unit. Through a study in energetics and in the cognitive affect of archetypal images connected with sound, we could greatly control the output of our CPU. In short, sound creates form.

Lots of research has been conducted in the last twenty years regarding the affect of sound on the human brain. We now know that the brain is taken to different levels of cognition and awareness based on the frequency of a pitch. Sound is actually the interruption or disturbance of mechanical energy that propagates through physical objects as a wave. It is measured in Hz. There are more complex ways to measure sound that have to do with the amplitude of the wave, but for now, it is sufficient to know how sound occurs in our environment.

There are four different types of brain states that are affected by the frequency of sound:

? Beta (14-30Hz) This state is associated with arousal and decisive concentration
? Alpha (8-13.9Hz) This state is associated with relaxation and a relaxed focus, also a light meditative state of mind
? Theta (4-7.9) This is the state associated with REM sleep or dreaming
? Delta (.1-3.9) This is the state of mind associated with dreamless sleep or deep trance

Audio frequencies below 20 Hz have found to be inducing a ‘trance’ state in many people. The normal range of hearing for humans is from approximately 20hzs to 20khs. In this state, the brain makes Delta, Theta, and Alpha waves in sympathetic resonance to the sound. While the brain is making these types of waves, our sixth sense and intuition are greatly enhanced. In some studies, different parts of the brain, sections that we do not often use, are lit up by Delta and Alpha waves. It turns out the Earth’s Schumann Resonance is actually in tune with the brain while in this trance-like, or meditative state. The Schumann resonance is a spectrum of sound waves in the extremely low frequency portion of the Earth’s electromagnetic field.

The research of Alexander Lauterwasser is also very insightful in describing how sound creates form. A German researcher, Lauterwasser has eloquently shown with photography, via an emerging field called Cymatics, how powerful sound truly is. In his lab, he sets water surfaces into motion using sound sources such as pure sine waves, various types of music and overtone chanting such as is the suggested by yogis in the practicing of ‘Om’ chanting in yoga. His work as www.wasserklangbilder.de describes the results, but in effect, he has shown us visually that the field of form is created and changed through the vibration of sound. His research would explain, for example, sounds created by Sanskrit chanting that form the shapes of the letters being sounded, or how Tibetan monks chanting OM into sand placed on metal plates will actually shift the sand with the sounds of their chanting into the shape of the Om Symbol. There are hundreds of web sites that show this phenomenon if you are interested seeing the visual representation of sound at work. There are pictures available of the shapes made by all kinds of frequencies showing many mandala shapes even, and some with shapes matching ancient sound pictures from Tibet.

When we chant mantra, the Sanskrit language is like an” amplifier for very low amplitude waves “which help to bring our brains into a more meditative state” If you are aware of the benefits of meditation, you know that by bringing the brain into a relaxed state, the body will follow suite. There are tremendous benefits to be gained from meditation, ranging from better sleep, to more creativity and intelligence to lowering the cholesterol and stress hormones produced in the body. Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, a top Oncologist in the USA, has a very interesting web site where he gives some of the benefits of using sound from singing bowls, and using the voice in simple toning or mantras. The benefits to the immune system are immense. In his book, the Healing Power of Sound, he documents his research with his cancer patients over many years. One benefit of chanting, for example is seen when certain frequencies in the delta range trigger the release of growth hormone beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is just one example of the tremendous benefit that sound can have on the body and mind. These different frequencies retrain the brain to let go of other, more negative behaviors that may be held in the brain with different sound patterns. These energies are not only held in the brain they are held in the body as well. Use of manta or toning will create vibrations of a more balanced or positive nature and the body will respond to these by changing its vibration, thereby releasing emotional patterns, mental habits and physical illnesses.

Former musician and now sound researcher, Jonathan Goldman states that, “everything in the universe is in a state of vibration. Everything is in motion and produces a sound or frequency. This includes the various parts of our body, organs, bones, tissue, etc. When we are in a state of “sound” health, everything in our bodies is vibrating in resonance or harmony with itself. When something is vibrating out of harmony, we call this ‘disease’. Sound is an energy that can entrain or change the vibrational rate of objects. Therefore, if something is vibrating out of tune or harmony, it is possible to create the correct, natural “resonant” frequency of the out of tune object, project it to that out of tune portion and cause it to vibrate back to its normal, healthy state.”

In his research he found that “. . .modern science is now in agreement with what the ancient mystics have told us—that everything is in a state of vibration, from the electrons moving around the nucleus of an atom, to planets and distant galaxies moving around stars. As they’re creating movement, they are creating vibration, and this vibration can be perceived of as sound. So everything is creating a sound, including the sofa that we’re sitting on, or this table, or our bodies. Every organ, every bone, every tissue, every system of the body is creating a sound. When we are in a state of health, we’re like an extraordinary orchestra that’s playing a wonderful symphony of the self. But what happens if the second violin player loses her sheet music? She begins to play out of tune, and pretty soon the entire string section sounds bad. Pretty soon, in fact, the entire orchestra is off. This is a metaphor for disease.”

Just like in music, there are different sounds and vibrations made by different chants. These vibrations affect the body and mind in different ways. Chants are like a tuning fork that affects us tremendously. A Gregorian chant will positively affect you in a different way than the Gayatri Mantra does. Some of the Vedic chants are considered to be the oldest in the oral tradition, tracing back to before the time of Homer, containing their own personalized vibration. These varied sounds cause specific vibrations thereby making different waves with different amplitudes. The amplitudes of the waves cause the brain to sympathetically resonate depending upon the shape of the wave. Chants can be as simple as those with only a seed sound or as complex as a highly multifarious symphony. No matter which chant you decide to try, just practicing it for a relatively short time in a consistent manner can greatly affect your CPU. You can reprogram your brain to be more peaceful, more in tune with the abundance all around you, or to be more creative. It’s all in the sound you make. Chanting also uses the human voice, the only instrument made by life itself, or god. There are pictures of the research done by Fabian Maman at the Paris Institute of Science where he and a team exploded cancer cells using sound waves. The instrument which achieved this phenomenon the quickest was the human voice. The benefit is huge and on all levels or within all the sheaths (koshas) of the body as described by the Upanishads.

Chanting can also be done silently and has even a greater benefit, for it is done on the mental and etheric level which then feeds into the physical. (More information on this is available in a clearly written way from Thomas Ashley Farrand’s books and cds. He is a mantra master and has a wealth of eastern mantra knowledge which he is sharing in very easy to understand terms.) The use of mantra is like creating a generator. It creates a sound wave, this wave has energy in it, and this energy can be used to do work. The work done is achieved with the choice of the mantra and even more importantly…intent. The intent of the voice work may or may not be related to the mantra, but the intent will be the switch in a way to direct the energy to the place we want the energy to flow. It is like setting up a circuit board in our bodies, mental physical or emotional. The wave and intent can be imagined as an ocean wave, the power of the wave created by the motion of the earth creates a wave, a person may then take a surf board and ride this wave, turning back and forth, doing what they want on it. Our intention is the surf board. If we want the energy to go to our liver, our focus and intent that it does so makes it happen, we chant and the energy is generated for us to direct with our intent or thoughts. This is the incredible power of mantra.

References: http://mastermind.sysop.com/bookstore/ebooks/sound_spirit_matter.pdf

http://www.neuroacoustic.com/

Post script: An excellent place to get further information on brain entrainment is a web site run by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson and his research site called, The Center for Neurolinguistic Research. (http://www.neuroacoustic.com/)
You can also look into Dr. Masaru Emoto’s book, Messages from Water


#2

great article! will bookmark!


#3

Yogidiva, very well-researched and compiled.

Here are some more food for thought for your readers,

The Beta-Delta range of sound frequencies are sub-stratas of what Vedic literature describes as human/ physical (vaikheri) sound. Anything beyond that cannot be heard by us, but creates frequencies anyway. “Vaikheri” is about 25% of “madhyama” range of frequencies, attributed to our astral bodies, which is about 25% of “pashyanti” range, attributed to causal bodies, which then is about 25% of “para” range of the transcended state.

When we recite mantras aloud we use its small potential power. Hence, mantras are typically recited aloud and as we internally align with their frequencies, the recital becomes softer in amplitude, but intense in realization by subtle bodies. Unless we practice this we will only associate the power of mantra by physical vibrations.

Interestingly, any language is a range of phonetic vibrations. It has specific meaning only for someone who knows (how to decode) the spoken words. Mantras are not just a string of words/ vibrations. They are inspired in someone’s deep state of samadhi and hence, more than the words, deeper insight and meaning is embedded in them.

Quantum physicists present similar ideas when they mention ‘energy manifesting as wave or quanta depending on the obeserver’s perception’. It is very important how we approach mantras. Life is pulsating and that causes movement and change. Mantras too pulsate and bring about movement and change. But for that, one has to get in touch with their deeper presence. One cannot be what one is and expect mantras to ‘fix’ things as modern-day medicine does.


#4

So in order for music to fall under the “trance” genre must it have a frequency below 20 Hz? :wink:

You guys are way ahead of me but I’m gonna try to catch up! Interesting stuff!


#5

His research would explain, for example, sounds created by Sanskrit chanting that form the shapes of the letters being sounded

Im really curious about this, but unfortunately I could not find any footage or image about this. I want to know how to reproduce this, and which specific pitch was used.

So far I found out Hans Jenny was the first scientist who reported this.


#6

Namaste.

Very lovely article, indeed.

For a very long time, I have not posted here. I gave up my Sadhana for a more ‘hedonistic’ lifestyle, until the Grand Alignment caused me to witness my Lord performing his Tandavam dance again, destroying my ignorance and bringing myself back to that ‘oneness’ that is Lord Shiva. It’s like my whole life came ‘full circle’ at that point.

I actually stayed up all the previous evening of the 20th, chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra from 9pm until 5am when I finally collapsed from exhaustion. I didn’t know what needed healing the most, myself or the world.

Suffice to say that [I]many[/I] times, I lost total awareness through chanting it and had to stop myself from giving in totally to Bhakti. I thought about Adi Shankacharya at that point, the greatest proponent of Advaita (non-Duality) who wrote some of the most hauntingly beautiful Mantras and prayers ever.

I knew Maha Pralaya/Rapture or whatever wasn’t going to occur, but I also gained a newfound appreciation and total love for Kal Bhairav/Virabadra because of it…something about an angry God beheading ignorant wrongdoers sounded good about then and it was at that point I heard the Kalabhairavashtakam for the very first time.

Realising that the planet Saturn was retrograde in my natal birthchart and that Shiva was Ishwara Devata, the union I felt with the Primal Destructive Energy I felt during subsequent meditation on that Mantra was nothing short of pure bliss, pure love. Something I haven’t felt in a very long time.

Now, I don’t even have to [I]try[/I] to meditate. Certain Mantras act like a ‘switch’ for me and then Bhakti takes over.

I have come home.

Om Namah Shivaya.


#7

[QUOTE]Quote:
His research would explain, for example, sounds created by Sanskrit chanting that form the shapes of the letters being sounded

Im really curious about this, but unfortunately I could not find any footage or image about this. I want to know how to reproduce this, and which specific pitch was used.

So far I found out Hans Jenny was the first scientist who reported this.
[/QUOTE]

this is what I’ve discovered so far which comes close: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw13EAX3cZk

however, I’m not sure which letters I should see other then ‘O’


#8

Thanks for the article!!!


#9

Trying yet again here to square the beliefs of ancient veda with the findings of modern science, to give yoga a scientific basis.
Mantras are not part of serious investigation, they only supress the ability of the brain to think, it is much better to investigate the nature of your thoughts. I observed many old grief stricken people among the exiled Tibetan community in India medicating themselves with endless rounds of mani (the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hung”), unable to face up to the terrible circumstances and isolation facing them at the end of their lives, unable to face their emotions. Mantras are types of sedative and anathema to open awareness. You must heed the pain within, not drown it out.


#10

Mantras are not part of serious investigation, they only supress the ability of the brain to think, it is much better to investigate the nature of your thoughts.

That resonates with ignorance.


#11

Continuing the discussion about mantra, I’d like to add the aspect of initiation into a mantra.

Some mantras are open to everyone, beneficial to all, Gayatri and Mahamrityunjaya being examples. Their effectiveness being dependent on sincerity and number of repetitions.

Purascharana means repeating a mantra for a particular number of times and for a period of time, like 1250 malas, not missing a day. A mahapurascharana is 10,000 malas.

Others require a formal introduction and training by a Guru to be effective. If you lack the spiritual prerequisites for a particular mantra, it doesn’t work and you’re wasting your time.


#12

[QUOTE=hrit-padma-1;85958]That resonates with ignorance.[/QUOTE]
I gave experiential evidence to back up my point , and dismissing that with no counter argument, truly “resonates with ignorance”


#13

Your experiential evidence is actually biased observation.

Where these people maintaining their spiritual integrity by continuing their sadhana under stressful conditions?

Are these people making a choice, choosing to maintain their connection with a higher truth over water, food, shelter, organizing a militia?

Meditation with mantra goes beyond mind, beyond ego, beyond a “thinking-brain”.

The statement that “Mantras are not part of serious investigation” is outrageous, just say’in.


#14

I find the idea that reciting a mantra maintains a connection with a higher truth as outrageous, personally. It’s just a throwback to magical formulas as far as I can see. What is your personal experience of the power of mantras, how have they impacted on YOUR life?
I know my view goes against Hindu dogma and I am rapidly coming to realize that this forum is extremely dogmatic.
I look to personal experience and not to scripture, being as much a living laboratory as any human who lived.
Anyone can read a book and condemn another person for being at odds with that book, this is not wisdom or knowledge, just good memory!
These Tibetans that I speak of are completely out of their element, being refugees in a strange land without the familial support systems that are traditional for them. They age and die in isolation (not all of them, just the ones I was working with). There is no way for them to make sense of their circumstances or to process their emotions, no help or lead is given. Life is dismal for them, their religious practices occupy their time but don’t seem to give them any comfort or joy. In this context the endless reciting of mantras is nothing but a palliative and as far as I am concerned, an inadequate response to suffering. It horrifies me.
Clearly this is not the right forum for pitting vital personal dilemmas and individual revelations (both of which motivate and inspire me) against dogmatic assertions.
So tell me ANYONE, and tell us all …
What is your PERSONAL experience of the awesome power of mantras, how have they impacted on YOUR life?


#15

The guru must be living


#16

Seven years back, I was having depression and other mental health problems. I consulted psychiatrist and he prescribed some medicines. I started taking those medicines and I found that those medicines are causing more sleep and lethargy. Then I started doing Asanas, Pranayama and Mantra chanting. After a month, I was able to get rid of the side effects of medicines and my depression has gone. I do not know for sure, which one (Asana, Pranayama, Mantras) has benefited me. (I still take medicine for depression). However, I do not have side effects of the medicines.

For mantras, I used to chant “Om nama sivaih” for 3*108 times per day. Yes, it is dogmatic pursuit. But then, I believed in what I am doing. I did not ask for FDA approved, scientific-proof of “power of mantras”.

Now I do not chant mantras daily. May be a couple of times a week. But, whenever, I do chant I feel more calm within.

Mantra chanting harmonizes “Prana” and hence is incapable of doing any harm, as far as I know.

Mantra word has the meaning of “Manah trayate iti mantrah”, which is interpreted in multiple ways. To me, mantras act above the mind/thinking plane, it is more tangential to the mental plane. Mantras may subdue mental worries and lessen the generic burden feeling of life.

All that “serious investigations” into non-materialistic concepts like Mantras are not effective tools for realizing the effectiveness of the Mantra practice.

To me, what those Tibetans are doing is a good practice given their situation.


#17

I know that when I get upset, my mantra erupts into my awareness.

I know that I can hear the cosmic OM, and sometimes even beyond that.

I know that I experience great peace and that mantra elevates my being.


#18

I respect what hrit-padma-1 and yaram say, no need for FDA trials!
Experience!


#19

Beautiful article. Thanks for sharing the article. I just started reading each of the articles here and its really amazing resource.