Mantra Therapy & Its Health Benefits For Mental, Physical & Emotional Well-Being
Mental and emotional health are a major component of an individual's overall health and in this era of stress and anxiety people seem a lot more aware than before regarding the methods to stay sane and one such method is meditation. Meditation is a technique to clear the mind of stress and anxiety via physical and mental techniques with the ultimate goal - relaxation of the mind. Multiple practices of meditation are performed worldwide and one such practice is mantra-based meditation or THE MANTRA THERAPY which involves chanting of a particular word, syllables, or phrases either aloud or silently in the mind. The mantra therapy can involve both religious and nonreligious chanting based on the beliefs and motives of the individual performing it. In the last few years, there has been a lot of research going on over this therapy and more and more countries, individuals and medical systems are showing interest in this. In this article, we will be reading about the introduction of mantra therapy, its types, different mantras and their effect on various health conditions, indications of mantra therapy, its scientific and Ayurvedic overview, its advantages and disadvantages, and a conclusion.
The word mantra is derived from the Sanskrit word "Mananaat Traayate" which means that by just chanting these mantras we can keep ourselves protected. Mantras also mean a revealed sound or a combination of words or sentences that are recited continuously for a fixed number or duration. Mantra therapy is a manualized and modularised and very effective treatment for those who have any kind of mental or emotional health issues and this process involves awakening the healing mechanism of the body by listening to or chanting the mantras. Our Vedas claim that the mantra therapy can be of very much help in achieving health, wealth, luck, and prosperity if we chant the mantras properly with complete focus and trust. Before continuing further, it is very important to discuss the origin of Mantra therapy.
Origin Of Mantra Therapy
The concept of mantras originated from the Indian Vedic tradition and then it became an integral part of the Hindu religion. The use of mantras accounts for that time when there was no medical science available to treat patients and saints and vaidyas were used to treat patients with this mantra therapy along with herbal medication. Mantra therapy was specifically thought of for the patient who used to suffer from anorexia nervosa in ancient times. People having trouble thriving, difficulty maintaining relationships, and trouble eating were treated with this method. The chanting of mantras is considered so powerful that it is used widely to treat deadly diseases. Mantras are also called the "Pharmacy of Spirituality". Mantras were also believed to be working on our Karma and would help in aligning the chakras as well as it helped in lessening the karmic baggage that we all carry along from our past lives. Mantras were also used with yoga asanas to open the blocked channel and cure illnesses. When modern science came into practice they also used the concept of chanting mantras in the form of sound waves that were used to break stones in the body. Every major spiritual tradition has a strong foundation in mantras which are chanted in a variety of languages like Hebrew, Hindi, English, and Latin.
Classification Of Mantras
Mantras are universally classified only on two bases i.e. - the origin and the purpose. A mantra can be a Guru mantra that is given by the guru to his disciple for his/her betterment or there are universal mantras that one has to find himself if he is unable to meet the guru. The mantras are further classified by origin as follows:-
- Vedic mantra - The mantras written in Vedas,
- Tantric mantra - Originated from tantras, these mantras have multiple purposes like wealth, success, health, etc,
- Pauranic mantra - Relatively simple mantras and anyone can practise them.
The choice of mantras to be chanted is purely individual and based on the purpose of the individual chanting them. For e..g. The Gayatri mantra has a direct influence on the sympathetic nervous system and is best for aggressive patients whereas the Maha-mrityunjay mantra influences the sympathetic nervous system's activities.
How To Perform The Mantra Therapy
Mantras, whenever recited shall always be recited with pure faith, with proper knowledge of the meaning, and with the reciter's own will as only then the positive results can be observed. When done in the right way, the Japa or the mantra chanting will align the chakras and bring an enormous amount of positive vibrations and sensations in the body, mind, and environment which will be proof that this therapy is no joke. There are many ways by which this therapy can be practised and the choice varies as per the condition of the reciter. These methods are as follows:-
- Upamsu Japa - This is a method of chanting the mantras in a very slow way and there is no sound made and only lip movement is there.
- Manasic Japa - This type of japa includes no lip movement and no sound and only involves chanting of mantra in the heart.
- Vachik Japa - In this method, they can sound in different tones i.e. high, medium, or low.
Also, the following points shall be taken care of while performing the mantra therapy:-
- Focus on the intentions of performing this mantra therapy
- Use a mala beads to keep a count of mantras
- Finding a comfortable spot or position
- Setting a timer
- Choosing relaxing sounds
- Start with a few deep breaths with a focused mind
- Use exact wording of the mantras with proper knowledge of the meaning
- Redirect the mind from wandering thoughts
- After finishing the therapy do not get up right after, stay in that meditation state for a few minutes and then continue with your work
Effect Of Different Mantras On The Health Of An Individual
Different mantras can be chanted by an individual based on the purpose of the chanting and these different mantras are known to have different effects on individuals. These different mantras are as follows:-
1. The Gayatri Mantra
The Gayatri Mantra is a 24-letter mantra
ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्।
which when chanted is known to put all the blocked channels also known as nadis into order and helps to activate all the ganglias associated with them. There is a huge amount of positive vibe generated during chanting in the whole body that the whole body feels recharged and becomes integrated with the Prakriti, sounds. The word Gayatri in Gayatri Mantra stands for Kamadhenu also known as the desire-yielding cow and it is believed that one who chants this mantra with proper focus and devotion is blessed by the Mother Gayatri.
2. The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra
This mantra is the most powerful Shiva mantra that is a verse of Rig Veda and is mostly chanted silently.
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे
सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥
One who chants this mantra can achieve a strong connection with his/her divinity and can also stay protected from any kind of emotional, physical, or mental challenges going on in the family due to the strengthening of the soul. Apart from all this, this mantra is very helpful to achieve longevity, happiness, and prosperity and reduce the fear of death and any illness.
3. The Hare Krishna Mantra
Sri Krishna and Lord Rama, who are manifestations of Sri Hari Vishnu are honoured with the chant
हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण, कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे।
हरे राम हरे राम, राम राम हरे हरे।।
हरेर्नाम हरेर्नाम हरेर्नामैव केवलं।
इति षोडषकं नाम्नाम् कलि कल्मष नाशनं।
Hare Krishna means supreme bliss and it is purely believed that chanting this mantra is known to provide peace of mind and calm it down to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It is also believed to remove problems in life.
4. The Om Namah Shiavaya Mantra
When the Lord Shiva first manifested as a pillar of fire, the Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" was born. The five sides of the pillar stood for elements of earth, fire, sky, water, and air and the first word "Om" was created when energy was poured into the pillar of fire as a result of interaction between these components and subsequently the other two words "Namah" and "Shiavaya" came from other elements.
ॐ नमः शिवाय
This mantra is known to overcome obstacles in life and calm down the mind by getting rid of all negative emotions like lust, anger, attachment, fear, greed, etc. It also helps to make one courageous and enthusiastic by providing a direction to life.
5. The Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya mantra
This is one of the most important mantras out of all mantras of Lord Vishnu and it means "Om I bow to Lord Vishnu or Lord Vasudeva."
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
This mantra keeps the chanter protected from all the evils and negativity in life and also pacifies the planets. It also helps to attract positivity in life and gets rid of all the problems in the life of the chanter. It provides freedom from the cycle of birth and death as well.
Many mantras are present in the Vedas and all of them have different purposes in life. Most Mantras are chanted 108 times as it is believed that this number helps to bring harmony to a person and represent the wholeness of existence. In Ayurveda, it is believed that the human body has 108 marma points - vital points of life forces and each chant is known to bring the chanter closer to god. The crown chakra is thought to be formed by the 108 nadis, or the energy lines coming together. The crown chakra is said to open and create a pathway for self-realisation when a mantra is chanted 108 times.
Effect Of Mantra Therapy On Mental Health
Mental health is important and mental health issues are on the rise but all these mental health issues can be tackled well with the help of mantras and mantra therapy. Not only for religious people but even for non-religious people, mantras have calming effects as they synchronise the mind with breathing and help to get rid of negative thoughts and bad vibes around us and this is the reason why mental health issues patients are advised by their doctors to meditate and do yoga as it takes away all of the stress off the mind and provides calming environment inside the body which helps in internal as well as internal healing and better absorption and effect of medicines when taken along.
Charak and Vagbhata in Ayurveda have explained three important principles of treatment i.e. Daivavyapasraya or treatment upon faith, Yukthivyapasraya or treatment to be given upon the reasoning, and Sattvavajaya or psychotherapy. When we consider mantra therapy the concept of using a mantra of treatment has been covered under the concept of Daivavyapasraya in which the patient is made to pray and recite mantras to keep the mind calm and build a strong willpower against the disease and build up the confidence and if this concept was mere a myth then the saints in the mountains would not have been wasting years reciting mantras.
Mantras can be of much use if chanted before exam preparation and during an exam as it keeps the mind calm and composed and increases the level of concentration which keeps the anxiety and fear away leading to a better performance in exams.
Effect Of Mantra Therapy On Physical Health
A medication is given to ease the life of the patient from the disease he is suffering but when mantra therapy is combined with this medicinal treatment, the effect of the given, medicine doubles up as it creates such a spiritual aura inside the body and generate such a great amount of positive vibes that body itself goes into the state of healing. Charak and Sushruta have mentioned in their ancient texts that before delivering a child the mantra "Aum" shall be chanted for an easy delivery as the sound "A" influences vibrations at the navel that boost energy and vitality in the reproductive organs, and sound "U" has influence at the chest which eases the breathing and the sound "M" influences on throat and head which leads to better dedication and better presence of mind.
Diseases That Can Be Managed With Mantra Therapy
Mantra therapy can be of much use in the treatment of various kinds of diseases when done along with proper diet, medications, and advice from the doctors. There are a lot of diseases that can be managed with mantra therapy and some of them are as follows:-
- Mental health issues - There are a tremendous amount of people suffering from mental health issues due to daily life stresses and mantra therapy can be of much help in such cases. Be it anxiety, stress, depression, manias, or anything else, mantra therapy has got it covered. Mantra therapy helps in calming an individual's mind and makes their mind focused, sharp, and clear by activating the parts of the autonomic nervous system that directly affect control and attention which impacts heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rates.
- Anorexia nervosa - Anorexia nervosa is a debilitating eating disorder that makes one think they are too fat to eat and it all connects with mental health. Mantra therapy was used by our ancient saints in the treatment of this disorder and this method is widely followed in London by the name of Maudsley Anorexia Treatment. The main purpose of using this therapy is to help get rid of negative emotions about self and boost the confidence of the patient with behavioural changes.
- Kidney Stones - For all urinary system and renal system diseases we have Mutra Mochana Suktam which is a Vedic chant from Atharva Veda that when chanted helps in healing of all urinary and renal issues. Mantra therapy acts similarly to the Shock wave lithotripsy and the vibrations created in the body after chanting mantras have similar effects to the waves used in SWL.
- Cancers - Mantra therapy especially the Mahamrityunjaya mantra is known to boost the willpower and strength of cancer patients and make them feel the energy circulation in the whole body which makes their healing and treatment process a little easier for them.
When research was conducted it was found that chanting mantras and meditation even for ten minutes has been found very useful in patients of different diseases and when this was combined with yagyas with different types of samagari prepared for different patients, the effects doubled up. At the end of this, many patients also stated that they have controlled blood sugar levels, and a lot of releif in their mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression, negative thoughts, etc. Therefore, it is evident that mantra therapy is of much use along with both modern and ancient medical systems.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Mantra Therapy
Like all other methods of treatment, Mantra therapy, when used for treating someone, also has good and bad sides to it that can be described as follows: -
The following advantages can be noted for mantra therapy
- There is no need for hospitalisation,
- No “white coat fear,
- No interference with the daily activities of the patient,
- Age-old methods with a lot of knowledge and research have positive effects,
- Can help strengthen interpersonal relationships,
- Can boost one’s self-confidence and self-worth,
- Can help get rid of the fear of illness and death,
- Can boost concentration and focus,
- Positive long-term effects.
The following disadvantages can be noted for mantra therapy: -
- This therapy is not going to work in all cases,
- Not of many effects on hospitalised patients as there is limited access to those patients and also these patients lack the energy and willpower to perform mantra therapy,
- Family support is required in mantra therapy as if the patient does not have good family relations then mantra therapy is less likely to help.
- It is a long process and takes up to 9-12 months to show results and it also requires a lot of commitment.
- Might not be helpful in deep-seated traumas.
Scientific Viewpoint On Mantra Therapy
There has been a lot of research work going on mantra therapy and it has been found based on results of EEG, EMG, ECG, and fMRI that mantra therapy is very beneficial in cases of mental health issues like anxiety, and depression as well as in cardiac health issues like hypertension and. It also boosts the immunity of the body to fight diseases. It also helps to improve the oxygen levels in the brain and apart from that stimulates the vagus nerve and deactivates the limbic system. It is also believed in science, that chanting mantras helps to achieve synchrony in the left and right brain hemispheres and makes the mind alert, aware, and more conscious.
Ayurveda's Overview On Mantra Therapy
Ayurveda not only works by using herbs, animals, and mineral-based medications to treat their patient but also has a holistic approach to the patients which includes their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Mantra therapy is a parallel science with Ayurveda. Mantra therapy is known to open up the blocked channels in the body and bring an overall balance of doshas which helps in getting rid of diseases from the root cause. Mantras are known to create a positive effect on the body which helps to get rid of all the evil inside and enhances the process of healing when given along with herbal medications. From birth to death, an individual is linked with mantras. When someone is born there is the recitation of a mantra done in the right ear. This is called Jaatakarma which is done to protect the newborn from all evil. There are seven dhatus in the body and six chakras and when any dhatu is affected, illness results, and along with that there is a misalignment of chakras. With the chanting of mantras, this misalignment can be brought back to alignment and all the doshas can be restored to harmony. Thus overall improving the health of an individual. Mantras also affect the time of healing of an individual as they serve different purposes in different diseases.
The trend of meditation and mantra therapy is on the rise and people are becoming more and more aware of this ancient Vedic method of treatment. In London, there is a treatment given to anorexia nervosa patients that involves the use of mantra therapy under the name Maudsley Anorexia treatment. In the Vedas, many mantras are found with different purposes and actions when chanted. Mantra therapy has been found to help patients a lot to fight multiple health issues and impacts the emotional, spiritual, and mental health of the patients. Planet Ayurveda provides herbal medications that are formulated with the purest herbs under the guidance of MD Ayurveda experts, following strict principles that have been mentioned in ancient texts, and those medications when combined with mantra therapy along with a proper following of diet charts created at Planet Ayurveda can help a patient fight disease and get out of it safely. For more guidance, you can visit www.PlanetAyurveda.com.