Why Indians chant OM mantra? – Scientific Reason

YUVA SHAKTI BANARAS/ February 9, 2015/ Science & Spirituality/



One of the most popular misconception about “OM” is that it is religious. On the contrary, it is the most universal syllable because it neither refers to any particular religion nor God. There have been several theories behind the OM mantra with the most popular explanation being that it was the cosmic sound which initiated the creation of universe (big bang theory). But that alone would not have been sufficient to turn it into a regular practice in Indian culture.

As with most of the traditional practices followed in India, this also has a scientific and practical explanation (based on the physics of sound, vibrations & resonance) with some long term benefit and we shall find out what it really is.


What is mantra?
In its most rudimentary form, a mantra is made of syllables which exert their influence by means of sound (vibrations). As one would have personally experienced, different syllables have different vibration patterns which affect different parts of the body. Each syllable resonates with certain organ or part of the body.

For example, by chanting “aaaaaaa”, one can feel the sensation and hence resonance of nervous system in the stomach and chest region. Chanting “ooooo” creates sensations in throat & chest region and resonates with them. Similarly, chanting/humming “mmmm” resonates with the nasal cavity as well as skull/brain region.

Here is a short clip in which a Doctor explains the same:



What happens when we concatenate (join together) the above syllables into one mantra? We get the AUM mantra which when chanted sequentially activates the stomach, spinal cord, throat, nasal and brain regions. The energy moves from the abdomen all the way up to the brain, thereby channelizing energy and activating the spinal cord & brain.

If you observe the nature of sound you’ll find that all ordinary audible sound are produced by the striking of two objects : bow and strings, drum and stick, two vocal cords, waves against the shore, winds against the leaves, bat against the ball, tyers against the road etc. In short all sounds within our range of listening are produces by things visible or invisible, striking each other or vibrating together, resulting in pulsating waves of air molecules which we interprets as sound.

In contrast to the above, OM is the sound which is not the result of the striking of two objects. It, rather emanates on its own. It is the primal sound of the universe that contains all sounds in itself.

Chanting of Om has several benefits – therapeutic, psychological and spiritual. Even if you don’t know the meaning of Om or are otherwise skeptic about it, you can still avail the therapeutic benefits from it.
The vibration produced by chanting Om in the physical universe corresponds to the original vibration that first arose at the time of creation. The sound of Om is also called Pranava, meaning that it sustains life and runs through Prana or breath.
It has been scientifically proved that singing OM has invaluable vibratory effects in our bodies, helps to achieve slow, regular and complete exhalation, aids to control and relax our breathing system and has several soothing effects in our minds.

Lets now look at the benefits of OM
The sustained ‘O’ -formed by the ‘AU’- sound makes all the bones of the thoracic cage vibrate, proving that vibration is communicated to the mass of air contained in our lungs and that the delicate membrane of alveolus in contact with this air vibrates too, this stimulates the pulmonary cells and enables an optimum gaseous exchange in our lungs. Furthermore, the latest research of many Western physiologists has also shown how this vibration produces very accentuated effects in the endocrine glands, to which Science is gradually attributing an increasing importance.
Besides, the vibrant internal massage resulting from the emission of the vowels ‘au’, acts especially in the abdominal organs and the organs of the thoracic cage, whilst the vibration of the ‘mmm’ in our skulls induces a vibration of the cranial nerves.

One of the most popular claims made by Yogis is that chanting Om mantra improves our concentration, gives peace and steadiness to our mind, reduces mental stress and clears all worldly thoughts. Although those who practice it regularly would have experienced it first hand and affirm the same, scientists were curious to find out more about it and verify such claims with the help of science & technology.

Few years ago, scientists conducted an experiment in which participants who had never chanted Om mantra were asked to chant it for few minutes and each of their chants were recorded. The time frequency analysis of it showed irregular waveforms which indicated unsteadiness in the mind. They were asked to chant the mantra on a regular basis and after few days, the experiment was repeated. The time-frequency analysis this time had some startling revelations. The waveforms were improved with regular spacing, had almost perfect symmetry and harmony. Not only had these participants witnessed dramatic improvements in focus, concentration & steadiness, but found themselves to be in peace, witnessed reduction in mental stress & could remain calm all the time.



In another such instance, scientists conducted experiments to study the effect of Om mantra on nervous system through repeated practice. Using sophisticated software tools, mathematical transforms were applied to raw samples of the chantings and similar results (improvements in focus concentration, steadiness, peace, reduction in stress etc) were observed.




In another experiment, scientists analyzed functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (f-MRI scans) before & after Om mantra chanting and concluded that regular chanting of Om mantra can treat depression & epilepsy as well.



The therapeutic or health benefits:-

Om is a foolproof method to add healthy years to your life.

a. Chanting of Om several times would relax your entire body and regulate your hormonal system.
b. If you have disorders due to anxiety or worry, or you tend to lose temper, there can be no better remedy.
c. It acts like a detoxifying agent for entire body. If your environment is polluted, you MUST use it.
d. It strengthens heart and circulatory system.
e. It will make your digestion stronger.
f. It will bring youthfulness in body and face.
g. If you are tired and exhausted, it can serve as a great rejuvenator.
h. It can solve most worrisome sleep disturbance patterns, in case you suffer from it. You would wake up alert from sleep if you practice it in night.
i. It strengthens your lungs with some practice.

Psychological benefits:-

a. It can make you much more relaxed to face the world around comfortably.
b. It can help you control your anger and frustration. If you have been chanting Om regularly, it is unlikely that you get angry.
c. It can help you be in resonance with nature. Thus you would find yourself much more intuitive and in control of things. Your gut feel will become much higher.
d. Your interpersonal relationships will improve. You would be able to develop rapport with people much better and make friends from enemies.
e. You will find life much more meaningful and purposeful and carry that natural smile.
f. You will find a jump in your enthusiasm and activity level. Your alertness would increase.

Other Benefits:-

-The chanting of Om drives away all worldly thoughts and removes distraction and infuses new vigour in the body.
-When you feel depressed, chant Om fifty times and you will be filled with new vigour and strength. The chanting of Om is a powerful tonic. -When you chant Om, you feel you are the pure, all pervading light and consciousness.
-Those who chant Om will have a powerful, sweet voice. Whenever you take a stroll, you can chant Om. You can also sing Om in a beautiful way. -The rythmic pronunciation of Om makes the mind serene and pointed, and infuses the spiritual qualifications which ensure self-realization.
-Those who do meditation of Om daily will get tremendous power. They will have lustre in their eyes and faces.

The OM being chanted during the exhalation, it directly contributes to make it slow, regular and complete. The emission of the ‘Au’ sound limits the pace of the expired air, and the benefits of slow breathing are numerous and well known by Yoga practitioners

So get on and start Chanting OM to reap the sweetest fruits. Wonder How?? Here are some tips to get you started
-Sit in a quiet place in a comfortable posture.
-close your eyes relax your body and nerves.
-Take few deep breaths
-Start chanting OM and feel its vibration.
-continue till you feel comfortable.
-When finished just relax and open your eyes.
Om is the ladder which takes the aspirant to the loftier levels of super consciousness and spiritual heights of splendor and glory.