More about ‘MANTRAS’

published on May 17, 2008


By DR. N. GOPALAKRISHNAN, Ph. D., D.Litt.









What is the effect of mantras?

When
a manthra is chanted in rhythmic tone/sound with its ups and downs, it
creates a melodious musical effect in the brain/ body . This effect may
be defined as the neurolinguistic type of effect. This effect could
control or normalize the brain waves, heart beat, blood pressure,
cholesterol level and adrenalin level in our body. Manthra therapy has
become a part of modern psychology..
 

Should we know the meaning of mantras ?




 

The
neurolinguistic effect can be derived even without knowing the meaning
of the mantras.. One need not understand the meaning of
every vedic or puranic manthra. (Like you can enjoy a song even if you
do not know the language)


 


Is it good to know the meaning of mantras, even if it is not a must ?


 

Yes
it is good to know the meaning of manthra because
if you know the meaning of a manthra, it has got an additional
effect/advantage which is known as Neurolinguistic (NLE) +
Psycholinguistic effect (PLE). As you know that you can enjoy film
songs in your mother tongue better than that sung in other languages
because you know the meaning also.


 


Is it true that research work is going on the effect of mantra chanting?


 

Yes
it is true that many studies are being conducted world over about the
mantra therapy. Many scholars /psychologists are conducting in this
subject. A famous (late) professor Dr. T. Temple Tutler, of the
Cleveland University, USA has conducted remarkable studies on the
understanding and application of the music and manthra in therapeutic
purposes.


 


Should we know the meaning of keerthan and prayers ?



 


Yes!
It is important to know the meaning of the keerthans and prayers.
Because they give psycho linguistic effect (PLE) through psychological
factors by knowing the message of the lines chanted as keerthans. For
this results, the knowledge of the meaning is important.


 


Is manthra chanting a religious activity or superstition ?



 


The
NLE and PLE effects are due to the production and spreading of curative
chemicals (hormones) in the brain. These curative chemicals give
smoothening and curing effect in the body. Thus manthra chanting is not
a superstition/ or merely religious ritual . But the spiritual content
on the ritual makes one chant the mantra regularly.


 

 

 


What are the physical abnormalities which can be controlled by mantras ?



 


It
has been reported that many psychosomatic diseases can be cured or its
intensity can be reduced by mantras. It can reduce the tension and
stress in the working place and also at home. It can directly cure the
psychological disturbances. World over, in hospitals, workshops,
training centers, spiritual centers, working places, production centers
of the multinational companies, etc the manthra effect is used, by
continuously playing the CDs of Veda mantras..


How manthra can be applied in our day to day life ?

It
can be listened while
driving, working in kitchen, working in the factories. It is commonly
used in cancer hospitals, in mental health centers. It is good for
pregnant women to get Abhimanyu effect and provide positive effect in
children when they play or sleep. Even the mind can be tuned under
terrible depression during physiological problems, menopause , during
old age, lonely times, harassed or confused situations.


 


Is there any relation between manthra and music ?







 


Every
manthra is directly a music if chanted with sruthi. Hence manthra
therapy is in a way music therapy. Mantras are known to improve brain
functioning and (mental) analytical caliber.


 


What precaution should be taken for chanting manthra/listening to music ?



 


The
music/ song/ manthra should never be hard/ harsh/rough/. The speed of
chanting should have a smoothening and melodious effect . For example
Gayatri manthra and mruthyunjaya manthra chanting should have a range
of 4 – 8 times per minute, range of chanting the Om Namo Narayanaaya is
40 -60 and Om Namassivaaya at 38 – 68 times per minute and so on.


 


What are the factors to be kept in mind while chanting mantras ?


 

Chanting
the mantras systematically at fixed times everyday can fetch better
results . In modern science the time, space and observer are the three
important factors. Here also the time, space and the (physiology+
mental attitude of the) person chanting/ listening mantras are the
three important factors for deriving benefit of mantras.


 


Should there be suddhi/ purity for chanting a manthra ?



 


Sareera
suddhi, ahaara suddhi, mana suddhi, vaak suddhi and karma suddhi are
essential for deriving the full benefit of chanting the manthra. Also
the sthala suddhi. The ideal timings are the prabhata sandhya and
saayam sandhya; Morning and evening. Group chanting is very good. No
mistake is expected in Veda mantra chanting. Due to health reasons or
old age if you are incapable of chanting the mantras, do not worry
about it. Mantras are chanted for positive effects. Whether one is
chanting the manthra or not chanting should not become a matter for
discussion. The ideal sound intensity for manthra chanting can be
maintained within a radius of 5 meters. Chanting the Vedas in the Vedic
way is not easy so it is advised to chant after learning under the
guidance of a guru.


 


Why non Brahmins should not chant mantras ?


 

If
anyone knows the perfect chanting method with the sruti, it is not
important whether you are a Brahmin or not. If not properly learned and
practiced, even if you are a Brahmin, there can be very serious errors.
Hence it is advised not to chant Veda mantras without proper training.


 


How many types of mantras are mentioned in our literature ?



 


There
are so many types of mantras. They are available in different Vedas,
Aranyakas, Upanishads, Puraanas, Itihasas, etc . Generally one can say
that there are four types of mantras depending upon their
sources. The Vedic mantras are from Vedas. The puranic mantras taken
from puraanas. The itihaasa mantras are from two epics Ramayana or
Mahabharata. The last one is karma mantra chanted as a part of the
karma / prayer /prayaschitta /etc .


 


What is the specialty of Veda mantras ?



 


Veda
mantras have ten sruthees/ swaras/ tones known as udaattha, anudaattha,
swaritha, repha, hraswa, pracheya, anunaasikaa, kampa, deergha kampa,
plutha. It is not easy to get training in the sruthi. Hence can be
learned only through a Vedic teacher or guru.




 


Can we learn the Veda through cassettes or CDs ? if not why ?



 


One
should not try to learn the Veda sruthi through cassettes or CDs
because the difference of chanting in sruthies will not be clear. If
one is trained in the wrong way of chanting , then correction becomes
impossible.


 


What is the alternative if proper chanting is not known ?




 




Listen to Veda mantras from CDs and cassettes. It can even be downloaded from website for listening . (www.nandanmenon.com).
There many other website from where downloading of the veda mantra can
be done. IISH has brought out all the Vedas in the digitalized format,.
In MP 3 format, comprising 200 hrs of veda chanting – all the four +
one Vedas.


 


At what age the Veda should be learned ?



 


The
Vedas learning should start at the age of five or so. It becomes easy
to get the sruthies / swaras at that age. Chanting Veda mantra means
chanting with sruthi. We should know that the sruthi and
meaning are equally important in veda mantras for getting the positive
effects.


 


Why sruthi of manthra is so important ?



 


One should remember that even the meaning of the manthra may change if not properly chanted.
Singing a song in a wrong way at a particular raga makes irritation . Same is applicable for Vedas also,


 


How many years will take for learning one Veda ?


 

It
may take many years for learning the Vedas. Rigorous customs
and rituals (rules) are to be followed during learning. However in
modern days the rigidity and strictness have come down. Hence it is
possible to learn the Vedas part by part depending upon the time
available. Generally advised time duration is 12 years.


 


Does the learning of four Vedas follow the same pathway ?



 


Learning
Rig Veda , Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda follow almost the same pathway.
Where as learning Sama Veda is difficult because of the special
sruthies of Sama Veda.. It may take about five years to learn (by
heart) each of the three Vedas mentioned above . Much more is needed
for Sama Veda. Learning Vedas is a continuous process.


 


For what type of rituals the Veda mantras are chanted or applied. ?


 

Generally
the Vedas are chanted in each and every step in Yaagaas. These mantras
are also chanted sometimes in poojas, archanas and prayers. Majority of
the mantras chanted in poojas and in temple rituals are not Veda
mantras . They are puraana mantras and karma mantras .


 


Who has written Veda manthra?




 


Ancient
Rishies whom we call manthra drushtara (more than 200 Rishes names
appear in Rigveda) known as Vedic rishies have written the Veda
mantras.


 


How we will know the name of the author of each manthra ?




 


Rig
Veda is the compilation of more than thousand sookthas. Each sookta is
written by Rishies whose names are mentioned with the chandas and the
name




of
the devatha in the beginning of the sooktha. Hence by reading the
sooktha or listening to it, one can know the author who composed that
sooktha.


 

 

 


When was these Vedas written ?


 

Vedas
are called anaadi . Hence one cannot give a correct date. Based on the
astronomical lines given in Rig Veda and some of the Brahmanas, it is
assumed that the last part of Rig Veda might have got composed in the
present style during BC 4275 or so. The last part is of later origin
and the first part can be of very earlier. So one can presume that Veda
mantras were composed many thousand years ago ? Some say it is 20,000
years! Few have the opinion 50,000 years and some are of the opinions
that it is only few thousand years !


 


If the age is not known then how can we follow Vedas ?


 

It
is not important when, where, how, who, composed the Veda mantras, if
you are not searching for the historical facts. For a common man and
for a vedic scholar,
the positive effects and the messages are important.


 


Can you give the names of some Veda mantras!/ sookthas?


 

Purusha

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