Whether we are listening to a child’s lullaby, relaxing to classical Mosart, or covering our ears as a moving train goes by, sound certainly has a direct effect on us. Certainly, a lullaby may sooth us, while the sound of loud train roaring might irritate us. Modern scientists now agree with early Greek philosopers such as Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) that sound is energy and comes in the form of waves as do other phenomena including light. The wave’s frequency (vibratory rate), will determine both its consistency and effect.
Naad Yoga, an ancient science of sound, was practiced milliniums ago by the rishis and yogis of India. They too, knew the effects of sound on our mind, body and spirit long before Aristotle or other more modern scientists. This particular practice of Yoga utilized certain sounds called mantras, that when pronounced correctly, and in a specific way, would produce not only better health, but various stages of enlightenment. The ultimate stage, called Samadhi, is considered an ectstatic state of enlightenment and the final means to attain union with God, as written in ancient vedic texts such as the Upanishads. Mantra is not listed as the only means, but rather used in conjunction with other practices including pranayama/breath control.
The Upanishads, along with other vedic texts, have the first recorded mantras, written in Sanskrit. It is said that mantras were first heard and seen in the sanskrit symbols. Mantra, meaning “the mind/man attunes” was a direct way to attune to the original creative vibration.
The most recognized mantra today is OM, and often pronounced AUM. In ancient times, the holy vibration was the same as the vibratory word OM, the sound of the whole universe or God in action/ creation. So that which we may attune is the ultimate creative force — God in action. OM is common amongst Hindu and Buddist traditions as well as Sikhism and Jainism. OM is, for them, the whole of creation.
Another mantra, called the Gayatri , is used to attain enlightenment. There are many others. Most scholars today agree that there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of mantras that can be used for varied effects. So how does a mantra actually work? There are 87 nadis (also known as meridians) on the palette of the tongue. These energy pathways are stimulated when a mantra is chanted, having a direct effect on our chakra system, sometimes completely altering the vibratory frequency within our body. The chakra system, which circulates and stores energy in our body, has a direct effect on all of our internal body systems.
It is common to repeat a mantra verbally 27, 54 or 108 times in succession. This is called chanting. It is easy to count on beads called malas. Once you decide which mantra you wish to practice, it is customary to chant the same mantra each day for 40 consecutive days. There are many books and CDs published on this subject and it is best to learn more before attempting to chant. But once you commit, the benefits are endless! If I can be of any further help, don’t hesitate to call or write to me. I’m happy to be of service.
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