The Hindus have always held to their historical values with great reverence and respect, with the Sanskrit text being one of their favorites. They have not only memorized parts of Sanskrit’s texts but have also used them in their meditations, as “Mantras”. It is considered that learning these mantras by heart enhances the memory and improves it for the better.
The “OM” mantra is one of the most popular mantras that Hindus have chanted for so long. When special research was carried out on the effect of this mantra on the brain, it was found that chanting this mantra causes a vibration to be resonated on the brain. When further investigated, this vibration was seen to cause an effect on the vagus nerve (through the auricular “ear” branch), which carries it to the brain and there, causes deactivation of structures like the amygdala, hippocampus, limbic system, etc.
The deactivation of these systems causes a profound feeling of relaxation to be experienced by the person, and they immediately feel calm, owing all of this to the vibrational “world” created in their mind with the simple chanting of a word as small as “OM”.
The Role of “OM” Mantra in Meditation
The chanting of the “OM” mantra during a meditation session serves two main purposes out of the many ones that people believe in, each of them is described below:
- Union of the Participants:
Chanting this mantra more than three times before the beginning of the session, with everyone’s eyes closed (this is preferred), ensures that all the participants on the session are on one page. Their purpose is the same, and that all of them wish to be blessed in similar ways. This creates a sense of unification and community-building in the entire procession and sets up an ambiance for the session to begin.
- Creating A Personal Space:
The “OM” mantra is usually chanted thrice or more times before a session begins. The purpose of doing so is very simple; it helps all the participants to enter the Unknown – a world where their troubled and upset souls could finally find solace. It helps in gaining the focus of the present. The same goes for the reason why it is repeated after a session ends. It is to signify that it is now time for the participants to come back to reality.
What Is The Science Behind The “OM” Mantra?
Mantras, in general, are thought to cause vibrations in the brain, which is the reason why focus and perspective are easy to gain during their chanting.
When people were asked to repeat the “OM” mantra regularly, it caused perfectly synchronized waveforms, with perfect symmetry to appear in the brain. These people also noticed a sudden peace and calmness in their lives and were also able to achieve mental peace.
Studies were carried out to discover the science behind the “OM” mantra too, and an MRI-brain study revealed that chanting of this sacred mantra causes the Autonomic Nervous System to be stimulated in a way that it regulates the heart rate, stabilizes the blood pressure, and causes an overall feeling of relaxation to take over the person chanting it.
The Benefits Of Healing Mantras
Mantras suit everyone and bless everyone who chants them with countless benefits, each of which is of immense use to the people.
- They have an overall therapeutic effect on the body. Not only do they help in calming down the body, but also help fight conditions like depression, anxiety, stress, epilepsy etc.
- Mantras have also shown to help people in fighting their addictions of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc.
- They induce a feeling of positivity in the body, which in turn helps a person maintain his blood pressure and heart rate, while also significantly making the person feel happier and lighter.
- Chanting has also shown to heal and strengthen the immune system.
- By calming the nervous system, the chanting of the healing mantras helps the brain to release curative hormones and chemicals in the brain, and the body, which helps the body in fighting off different diseases and illnesses.
- Kalyani BG, Venkatasubramanian G, Arasappa R, et al. Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Int J Yoga. 2011;4(1):3-6. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.78171
- Kumar S, Nagendra H, Manjunath N, Naveen K, Telles S. Meditation on OM: Relevance from ancient texts and contemporary science. Int J Yoga. 2010;3(1):2-5. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.66771