I was walking in the lanes of a Chinese market here in Singapore, when I heard a familiar yet unexpected chant reverberating from one of the shops. "Maha Mritunjay Mantra" was playing in one local Chinese shop, and the owner was devotedly chanting the mantra in sync with his old recorder. I went up to him and I asked him - "Do you know the whole mantra and its meaning?", he smiled and said - "You chant it for a year laa, it will change your life" and went about his daily hustle.
Mantras form an essential part of Hindu Dharma, and each mantra is beneficial in a unique way. There are mantras to increase concentration, to calm you down, to ward off diseases, to bring harmony, and to even attain enlightenment. There are numerous testimonials over the course of centuries that vouch for their potency. So what makes these mantras so potent? Why certain mantras make us feel a certain way? Is there a science behind these mantras? Let's find out.
Mantra is a Sanskrit word, roots of which are "manas" - which means the intellect, and "tra" - which means to cross over. So, the mantras are a medium to go beyond the perceptual intelligence derived from the five senses of the body. In Maatrichakra - The Sanskrit theory of alphabets, the five energies* that Shiva is full of, is represented in the sixteen vowels of the Sanskrit alphabets, and similarly, each consonant represents various energies and levels of consciousness.
*Please refer to my post on Aum and the theory of Sanskrit alphabets for more on this)
Mantras are potent as they're a powerful combination of elevated positive frequencies that Sanskrit alphabets create. We all know how the quantum physics states that at a base level the whole universe is just a mishmash of various frequencies, and how scientists have been praising the Sanskrit language as a potent language for its precise phonetics and frequencies.
The fusion of the various Sanskrit alphabets in a mantra produces the consciousness that is related to a particular mantra. The repetition of the mantras deepen their resonance. And there's more. It is said that there are 84 meridians on the roof of tongue that are stimulated through Sanskrit mantras. There is scientific evidence* that mantras can stimulate the secretions of the pituitary and pineal glands, send signals to hypothalamus, and create a healing response through neurotransmitters and chemicals in the brain and the body.
*Research by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, researcher of Alzheimer's disease.
Mantras are an important part of the rituals, but understanding the meaning and the reason behind these is equally important. Personally, I have derived immense benefit from the chanting of mantras. Simple chanting of "Aum" 21 times a day can transform you phenomenally over a period of a few weeks.
Few simple yet potent Sanskrit mantras like Gayatri Mantra, Maha Mrityunjay Mantra, Astoma Sadgamaya could be easily incorporated in our daily lives, and can also be taught to the children, and can provide immense benefits to all of us.
I am thankful to my school MHAC Nagbani, for its roots in Vedic teachings of Arya Samaj, that introduced me to powerful vedic mantras. I am thankful to my late grandmother and my parents and for immersing me in the beauty of mantras.