The Benefits and Effect of Mantra Practice is Multi-Faceted.
Mantras at their root (bija) are considered Shabda, or pure energy according to Vedic tradition. It is from this pure and natural power than the various vibrations or sounds are made. When we recite these sounds, with the higher intention to know the Source of them, we start climbing the ladder of consciousness to our own origin, our True Self. Mantra is therefore a tool for working with the energy, getting in touch with the real nature and power of sound, gaining intuition of our vibrational nature, tapping into our limitless inner power, and an aid to discover our own higher consciousness.
Much of the material you’ll find online mention the very basic benefits of mantra practice such as balancing and calming the mind, improvement in focus and concentration, better sleep, etc. This particular article focuses on the more expansive and profound, life and perspective changing benefits according to my own personal experience.
1. You Incite a Healthy Change of Neural Pathways
Every act one does sets the parameter for how things should be neurologically wired. Furthermore, how often we choose to engage in this sort of behavior is its “frequency of activation,” which can intensify the result. So if one constantly chooses to think and act in such a way that brings anger, a neural pathway is being “set up” and the more one chooses to activate that pattern the stronger it gets. It is sort of like working out at the gym to build muscle; at first the muscle is not very developed and then it becomes stronger over one’s repetitive choice to develop it. If one gets so used to that muscle and always lives with it as a “way of being,” along with its companion “life rejection mechanisms,” it may get impenetrable to the point where one cannot stop the accidental use of it. What then is bred is a consistently angry person. Traits such as this is what we see coming out in part as segments of “personality,” which is formed by the individual or “sense of I” arranging life in accordance with its likes and dislikes whilst not having deep and true knowledge of the mystery of life. In short, because we don’t know everything about life, self, and existence, we make stuff up to grant ourselves that false sense of security. We falsely create the rules of “our game” and live in accordance to a self-centered philosophy.
Strictly speaking, any way of thinking, speaking, or behaving that is more positive than our normal state of consciousness will yield a “more positive” neural rewiring. If you think contractedly, you “wire yourself in.” If you think expansively, you allow yourself to expand. If you choose to forge more loving thoughts and behaviors, then that will rewire the neural networks for continued expression of those traits. To put this in perspective, the practice of mantra is essentially focusing upon the most positive, expansive, and uplifting thing possible. With every recitation, those neural networks are being reconstructed. If a mantra that focuses on love is being chanted, visualization can help make it more intense. Practice does not stop there, however, when presented with an opportunity to be more loving one should act on it as a way to continue practice through living as the expression one is attempting to commune with.
All mantras point to something extremely profound. There is no shortage of mantra/profundity. If one believes so, then one has not examined the art deep enough. For any issue, there is mantra. For healing the physical body, to rewiring our thoughts and behavior, to attracting a relational partner, even for liberation, all things are covered in mantra. One just has to select the right one; but more importantly, one needs to maintain the correct intention while chanting the mantra. As one chants the mantra, one cleanses their mind, figuratively, subtly, and also quite literally.
2. You Gain access to Blessings
Mantras were traditionally given out by Self-Realized Sages or Enlightened Beings to spiritual seekers that wanted to also discover the Truth of their Existence. In many cases, there are stories of how the spiritual seeker had to test oneself in many ways, facing the extremes of nature, subject to intense hard physical work, and having to endure extreme levels of mental and emotional diress before such a mantra would be given. Some had to wait decades until the “Yogi in the Himalayas” would even acknowledge and speak to them. And then finally would receive one mantra. This may seem harsh to the “give it to me now, self-entitled mind” that thinks it should get whatever it wants just because he/she is alive, but imagine the sanctity that mantra would hold in that spiritual seekers mind? It would be revered as God itself to them, a Cosmic Manifestation, a boon beyond imagination. And due to that superior level of love and respect, the student would evolve massively. Thus, that same student would talk about the wonderful effects of mantra and how it gives you everything, it is a direct connection to the Ultimate, and a miracle on Earth. However, when the other normal people of the world would try to recite it a few times, for a few weeks, they didn’t have the same result because they did not go through that profound initiation period as the original sadhaka did.
Nowadays so many mantras can be found all over the place, in books, online, in retreats, social media, blogs, so there is a tendency to overlook the “might of the mantra.” It is sort of like “give everyone a boon and then no one sees it” sort of problem. Plus, nearly all of those mantras were not directly “handed down” or energized by the grace of a true spiritual master, current day. It may have been before, but once in the hands of egos, its loses the purity of its spiritual connection. In order to have the “full effect” of the mantra, it MUST be handed down by an Enlightened Spiritual Master. There is no other way to have the Full Power in it. It is the Energy of the Enlightened Being that gracefully transmits into the earnest spiritual seeker. This is rare, but still an ongoing tradition. Again, anyone can read or hear a mantra and then hand it out or forward the post to another, but that is not the same thing as getting it directly handed down by an Enlightened Being or Spiritual Master, as the mantra is literally an extension of their Beingness doing its work in you every time you recite it.
What makes ParaNadam incredibly unique, for others and for its bandmembers, is that all of the mantras put to song have been literally handed down slowly over the past 14 years that Brian and Isha have been around and in the Presence of their SatGuru, Sri Svami Purna Maharaj, an authentic Enlightened Himalayan Master. He is so graciously giving all of these mantras out, and empowering them, so that everyone can have access to this spiritualizing and enlightening energy that is a part of this Himalayan Yogic Tradition, which is a legacy of thousands of years. In a sense, ParaNadam is a revival of this ancient tradition, Inspired and guided by, Sri Svamiji, which is known as “Mantra Diksha”. In this process, He asks for nothing and tirelessly gives this energy to all humanity in hopes that they will have access to all of the tools needed for their own healing, transformation, and eventual liberation.
3. You train yourself to attune to and maintain higher positive focus and spiritually useful intentions
The more that one chants a mantra, the more that one aligns with its values and meaning, thus making it difficult to live life incorrectly when the mantra being chanted is constantly pointing you in the correct direction. Obviously one could live in opposition to the practice, which happens quite often, but it becomes increasingly hard to. It would be like asking a person for directions to where you really want to go, they point the way, and you walk opposite? In another example, when chanting the mantra to submerge into infinite love, it becomes silly and unconscionable to go out into the world speaking hateful things. So mantra practice becomes a profound reminder of your utmost goals in life, to be the embodiment of that higher reality that you seek.
Most people have trouble attuning to higher energy. This is mostly due to people not having experienced it and therefore can’t find it. And, if you repetitively don’t experience something it seems to be hidden and thought to be a complete mystery. By constant trial and error, one eventually becomes more conscious of more positive energy. Then ones system of practice starts to feel more like trial and success than trial and error. It is when this happens that the path starts to feel more fulfilling. It will become instantaneous, just think of a mantra, and with half a thought, you are there; submerged into that quality of unitive consciousness, enjoying that eternal reality.
4. You Align with Higher Plans for your Life
Mantras can be considered “packets of energy still attached to the root power of the Source that allowed for everything in existence.” Thus, when we connect with a mantra, we are connecting to its “essence/value” and “effect” (what it is programmed to do).
In other words, one can think of mantra as flowing in two different directions, accomplishing two different things:
(1) energy flowing from the Great Beyond being directed to do very specific form-based adjustments, such as healing the body, opening the heart, cleansing the mind, resituating our life, resolving or fortifying our relationships, increasing finances, working on parts of our personality, etc.
(2) energy flowing in the other formless (root) direction to reharness our consciousness, redirecting it back to the Nature of All of Life, which gets called by many names: God, Truth, Infinite Self, Divinity, Pure Mind, Open Heart, Pure Consciousness, The Formless Reality, Atma, Brahman, Shiva, Enlightenment, Liberation, etc.
In mantra sadhana (practice), one attunes to their objective as well as the energy. So it may be that one wants to currently work on enriching their relationship so they chant mantra everyday for months or years until the objective fulfills. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it does not. When it does not, it can be argued that what was really needed to enrich a relationship with your partner was to find a new partner. In similar fashion, one may chant mantra for more money in their job, but what if your job is unable to fulfill that request, and after months of chanting awaiting your boon, you get fired instead? You will feel as though mantra did not work. However, that job needed to eject you so that you could go out and find another job that would give you the level of salary you have been praying for all along. Maybe you need to get fired a few times before it finally works out. It is always hard to judge the reasons why things happen in mantra sadhana, but they will always happen for a good reason that is helping you.
In another, different type of example, let’s say that you chant every day to be happy, with many thoughts about how this should look. However, instead of this, you get none of it. Rather, you get nothing but hard lessons. You get frustrated at practice, sour with spirituality, and give up on a lot of things. A few years later you realized that the Universe was just trying to help you disconnect with outer worldly success so that you could have the happiness of enlightenment instead. You realize that you really thought you needed those things to be happy, but upon further reflection, you can see that it would have been foolish for those things to manifest in your life. Sometimes having more means greater suffering, while other times having less means greater freedom. So in this practice we have to learn how to have a great sense of trust and surrender, with a huge dose of humility, in order to truly receive what our practice is trying to grant us. Drop all thoughts of what the practice should do, though they can be there as a guideline and positive thinking, but just recite the mantra with all of your mind and heart allowing the Universe to fulfill your needs as IT sees fit. It is only then that you will truly experience fulfillment, happiness and freedom.
So while it is definitely true that the Universe gives you what you want, it may not come in the timeline you specify or in the form factor you had imagined. But rest assured, after the initial blow of “not getting what you wanted” and then “blaming the mantra practices as being useless and a total waste of time” something starts to work itself out and manifest in favor of you and your own personal fulfillment. Just be open to how the boon is delivered and in whatever form factor the Universe has chosen for you.
5. You discover purpose and true meaning in your life
When in the normal, world-saturated, accomplishment/objective state of mind, it can be quite easy to miss the universality of life. We are so focused on our little existence that we forget and lose attunement with that which truly matters. In so doing, we lose perspective. This continual focus on the smallness of our egocentric self makes us disconnect from the greater reality, the bigger picture. This makes us feel smaller and less fulfilled. Reciting mantra helps to put things back into perspective. And when the mind and heart start dissolving into more unitive states of consciousness (so to speak), life seems to become so much grander than before. The little things in life now seem to be attached to great cosmic meaning, and everything little things feels important to celebrate, respect, and honor. When all of the silly little things in your mind and heart fade away, what remains is what is important. It is amazing how focused our life becomes when choosing not to concern ourselves with the unimportant little things; how quickly we become conscious of the purpose of our life.