The Siddhas of Mount Girnar once came to Tulsidasji to ask him the way in which he had overcome lust. They further inquired whether he had conquered it by yoga or by knowledge? Then Tulsidasji said, "Neither yoga nor devotion, and neither by the mind, only through chanting the name of God..."
Once a group of devotees came to Kabirji. Everyone in the group was suffering from some sin or other. Kabirji at that moment had gone to bathe in the Ganges. His wife was at home. After listening to everybody's woes, she said, “Take the name of Ram three times a day. You will be set free from all sorrows and sins" Everyone left satisfied. When Kabirji arrived after sometime, his wife told him about the visitors. Listening to her, Kabirji became sad. Seeing him like this, his wife asked, "Why are you sad all of a sudden?" Kabirji replied, "You still do not believe in the name of Ram? Why did you tell them to chant it thrice when the pain is removed simply by taking the name once?" Such is the power of chanting. Bhagwan Swaminarayan has said in the Vachanamritam that "No matter how sinful a person may be, even if he utters the name 'Swaminarayana' on his last breath, he will be rid of all sins and dwell in Brahmamohol." (Vach.: Q.56)
We discussed a few examples regarding the benefits of chanting in the previous article. Let's research a few more such examples today.
(1) A few years ago, a group of Christian priests in France experienced extraordinary healing effects on both mind and brain by the regular practice of yoga and chanting. French neurolinguist scientist Dr. Alfred Tomatus discovered that by way of chanting, these priests experienced high levels of energy and their spirits were also invigoratingly high. Then, for the sake of exoerimentation, they ceased chanting for a while. The result: there was overall laziness and also cases of minor illnesses among priests!
(2) Harvard University researcher Olivia Carter studied the Tibetan Buddhist lamas and concluded that high levels of concentration are cultivated through regular meditation and chanting. Normally a human eye can stay focused on a single picture for two and a half seconds only, but due to the influence of mantra-meditation, a Tibetan Buddhist monk was able to focus his eyes for 723 (seven hundred and twenty-three) seconds.
(3) When the mantra is chanted rhythmically, it produces a benevolent effect on the mind and body. Even if you don't know the meaning of the mantra, you can still benefit from chanting. Scientists call this effect the Neuro Linguistic Effect (NLE), but chanting the mantra alongwith knowing the meaning of the mantra produces a pronounced effect. Scientists call it the 'Psycho Neuro Linguistic Effect' (PLE). USA Cleveland University researcher Dr. Temple Tutler has scientifically proven the healing effects of Mantra by doing significant research in this field. By listentening and chanting mantras in a ritualistic manner can significantly control high blood pressure, heart rate, release of the dreaded adrenaline gland, and cholesterol levels too!
(4) Researcher Dr. Allan Watkins and his team of the Neuroscience department at the Imperial College of London also proved through experiments in 2008 that chanting can lower high blood pressure.
(5) In the year 1995, The Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology had published a study conducted by the Bangalore based Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation on the effects of chanting the 'Aum' mantra. In it, scientists said that chanting the 'Om' mantra controls the heart rate. It brings deep relaxation and more alertness in the person.
In 1998, the scientists of this research institute said that the heart and breath rate can be controlled by chanting the holy mantra. The remarkable thing is that any other meaningless word like 'one', repeatedly uttered has no such effect as compared to our sacred mantras like 'Om' etc.
Dr. Herbert Benson, author of the book called 'Technique of Mind and Body' says that even serious diseases can be cured by chanting the Omkar mantra, through which breathing becomes rhythmic. There is a decrease in the blood pressure, which in turn prevents heart diseases. Diabetes is also cured by its recitation. In comparison to the lower rajasic and tamasic thoughts in a person, there is an increase in the higher sattvic thought. The pranavayu is also effectively used, as a result, the cells of the body become active. There is an overall flourishing of one's Inner resilience and strength.
In the Bhagavata Purana, there is the story of Ajamil, where the Vishnudutas say to the Yamadutas:
साङ्केत्यं पारिहास्यं वा स्तोभं हेलनमेव वा ।
वैकुण्ठनामग्रहणमशेषाघहरं विदुः ॥
Saying the name even for calling out the name of one's child, even in jest, even said in an insulting way, or just for the sake of singing, the name of Vaikuntha Bhagwan, chanted in any manner vanquishes all sins, say the wise sages. Ajamil used to chant the name to call his son Narayan, and thus by saying the Lord's name even in ignorance, he attained the abode of Vaikunth.
In the holy book Harlilamrut, Shri Hari, enumerates the glory of the Swaminarayan mantra in the village of Faneni;
Whosoever chants the Swaminarayan mantra shall be released of all sins;
The Shrutis mention me by innumerable names, but of all, this name (Swaminarayan) is the supreme...45
Just by chanting the Swaminarayan mantra once is as good as chanting thousands of mantras together;
Chanting this mantra brings infinite benevolence..46
So great is this mantra, that one attains all one desires;
This mantra drives away one's sorrows, and gives one true happiness and eventually one attains my abode Akshardham...47
Even if a vile person simply hears this mantra on his last breath, he too will get salvation;
This pure mantra drives away all impurities and bestows one with enlightenment...49
(Harlilamrut: 5/3/45-47, 49)
This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Sadhu Amrutvadandas. We thank swamiji for his research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about life and peace being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.