This article is one that brings my love of two things together: science and bhakti yoga. The miracle workings of the human body are a daily reminder to me of the mystical wonder behind everything. It’s part of the reason why I studied science. Although many people use science to try and dispute the existence of a higher intelligence, to me it becomes more undeniable that it’s not possible that the intricacies of cells come from nothing.
Practitioners of the bhakti yoga path daily chant the maha-mantra, and it is this mantra that we will be considering the effects on the human body, and soul. For those of you who don’t know, the maha-mantra is, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”. This mantra calls out to the all attractive and compassionate, who is the source of all happiness, and without a doubt it becomes easy to see how this happiness infiltrates into the lives of the meditators.
An experiment by Niva, W.J, and others, was done on a group of nurses, who work in a highly stressful environment. It was testing their cortisol levels, a hormone that is released as part of the stress response system. If too much of this hormone is released, it can disrupt almost all your body’s functions. It puts you at risk of many health problems, namely anxiety and depression (which I am all too familiar with). The nurses were told to chant the maha-mantra for 20 minutes every day for 45 days. The results showed a substantial decrease in cortisol levels in nurses with moderate to severe stress. Another study even states that chanting this mantra subdues emotions during stressful episodes.
Another study done by Kritiprasanna Das and others used an EEG to monitor brain activity before and after the patient chants the maha-mantra 108 times. It’s a non-invasive way of recording the electrical activity in the brain. After the patient chanted the mantra, the brain waves suggested a more calm and relaxed state of mind. The conclusion of the study is that chanting could be an effective way to control depression, tension and stress.
So, these are the impacts that it has on your body, what about your soul? Apart from the relief of stress and the deep sense of relaxation that comes with it, mantra meditation can invoke a change in oneself. It gives you a clearer mindset, allowing you to deal with problems better, and even heal emotionally. I speak from experience as someone who is emotionally scarred. Opening up your mind and heart can make you a more compassionate and reflective individual. When you take the time to share your thoughts and innermost desires with the divine, the divine takes the time to respond and be present with you, and share that sacred space. You experience a type of reciprocation personally catered to you.
Mantra meditation is not an activity you do on your own. It’s an opportunity to revive a connection with someone who loves all of you, who knows all of you. While you may feel alone, and look like you’re alone, you’re actually investing in your relationship with someone greater than you, with the power of the universe and the entire cosmos. This relationship is special because it transcends any of the connections you have in this world, which are only temporary. This is eternal, and lasts lifetime after lifetime. Chanting the maha-mantra opens you to increased self-awareness and a deeper understanding of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This heightened awareness may also extend to a greater awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings. It gives you a very real and tangible connection and a sense of oneness with the universe and divine.
Remember, the cause of suffering finds its roots in the mind. So to alleviate suffering, we have to control the mind, and the best way to do that is to chant the maha-mantra. The mind is powerful, trust me, I know, but what’s more powerful is the energy and absolute life force that exists within the maha-mantra, which is non-different from the divine Himself. Science is still testing and trying to figure out, the limits of the inferior and lower energies created by the super brain known as Krishna. How much more powerful do you think the superior energies could be? Meditating is not easy, but it is simple. And if I can do it, then you definitely can too.