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When we study quantum physics, we see that everything in this universe is made up of vibrations. These vibrations when coupled continuously give form to the manifested universe that we see around us. Moreover, when we understand the order of creation, it is seen that the creation started from the space element. After space came the air element, then fire, water, and lastly, earth. All things came from space and that vast ether is the source from which everything is created.

There are ways that we can affect the four gross elements. Fans help us experience air, we can create fire with two wooden sticks, and we can touch the water and soil. However, the only way the space element can be affected is with the help of vibrations, or sounds. The concept of mantras isn’t limited to the Vedic literature. Hymns and melodies have been recited around the world in all the cultures. And yet, the mantras that we hear and chant on daily have a different science behind them. Let’s understand a bit more about how these mantras work.

What are mantras? How do they work?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar once mentioned that the meaning of mantra is manana trayete iti mantrah – the repetition of that thing which helps you sail through the ocean of maya (illusion). We face conflicts daily, haranguing us with stress and leaving us drained of all energy. That something which does not let us drown in this world, whether it is in emotions or the illusions of the world, is called a mantra.

Repetition of anything that helps us sail through these troubles is called a mantra.

When we understand the engineering of these mantras, we see that the basic consonants and vowels in Hindi and Sanskrit Devanagari script are themselves some forms of mantra. These are the sounds of nature that are compiled in a particular order, containing an energy behind them. These sounds are engineered in such a way that they are able to create an impact in any particular aspect of our life.

How mantras affect the space element

Mantras bring a change in our core and also the manifested reality around us in a positive manner. And they do so by pacifying the space element around us.

With a rise in global warming and pollution levels, there is a rise in manufacturing and sale of air purifiers which can improve the air quality around us. But have you ever wondered how we can purify the space element?

Just like air pollution, the space element also gets disturbed regularly. The unit of disturbance of the space element is called entropy. Higher the entropy, higher the disturbance. It is that feeling of being drained out, of being bombarded with thoughts and ideas that make us feel exhausted. Chanting of mantras at a particular time and in a particular way helps bring down the entropy of the space element. And these mantras not only work at the space around us, they also calm down the space within us. That is why people have experienced an amazing sense of calmness descend over them after a session of chanting.

When you repeatedly create such a pacified space around you and within you, you realize that you are experiencing a pervading sense of peace and joy. This is because everything is generated in the space element. The cells in our body are created everyday and they come from this space and when they die, they go into that same space element. This is the source of our existence and when we fix the source, there is a gradual and positive change in our personality.

Different mantras and their benefits

Different mantras create different vibrations and these vibrations lead us to various benefits. The mantras impact the pancha-tattva (the five elements) and through these our health, mental state and the states subtler than the mental state are improved. One of the most powerful chants is the Shri Rudram or the Rudra puja. Even Adi Shankarachary once mentioned that Shri Rudram is one of the best chants as it can give you liberation as well as all the worldly achievements.

For the beginners, mantras like Om Namah Shivaya or Om Namo Narayanaya or Om Shri Gurvaye Namah can be picked up easily and chanted for a long time.

In Om Namah Shivaya, the na ma shi va and ya are the five beej mantras. These are connected to the panchanga of the day or five limbs (portions) of time. Chanting Om Namah Shivaya for 10 to 15 minutes every morning will improve the panchanga of the day and for that day, all the planetary impact on will be taken care of. So, if you want to improve your day or you feel that some important things are happening and you want that extra edge, then just chant Om Namah Shivaya for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning. If you do it for a prolonged period of time then the fruits of this are multiplied. Easily avail the benefit of mantras on the Art of Living app.

Why are mantras chanted 108 times?

When we look at rosary beads and rosary chains, we often find that they contain either 108 beads or a number that can be multiplied to result in 108. Even many practitioners suggest that you must chant a mantra at least 108 times. Why is this number so important?

As mentioned above, mantras affect the space element in and around us. Even the impacts of planets are seen on the space element. This number 108 connects mantras to astrology. There are 12 astrological constellations and nine planets. By chanting a mantra 108 times, the connection of every planet with every zodiac is covered.

The root of 108 is not limited to just this as this number is constantly seen in astronomy and astrology. Astrologically, the moon has to complete 108 badhas (paths) in one cycle and chanting a mantra 108 times insulates us mentally and emotionally in all aspects of life.

Moreover, a lesser known fact is that 108 is also the golden ratio of creation. The distance between the sun and earth is equal to 108 times the diameter of the sun. Similarly, the distance between moon and earth is equal to 108 times the diameter of moon. This golden ratio of 108 is the reason that life happened on earth. Moon is constantly shifting and only when the moon entered this 108 ratio, life began blossoming on earth. And the day the moon shifts from this 108 ratio, life will cease to exist.

It is this combination of sun and moon that has helped create life in this existence. And this aspect is seen in Shivaratri as well. The combination of Shiva and Shakti is the reason behind the manifested reality. In astrology also, the lord for sun is Shiva and the goddess for moon is Shakti.

Moving at a grosser level of astrology, the sun is represented by the father and the moon is represented by the mother. It was their coming together at a certain time that gave life to us, just like the coming together of sun and moon in a certain way gave life on the planet. Many astrologists mention that if you have to improve the impact of Sun on your astrological chart then you should serve your father. Similarly, to improve the impact of the moon, one must serve their mother. Just like the sun and moon, a mother and a father, it is the coming together of Shiva and Shakti that has resulted in this whole creation. These are all similar elements, just represented in different ways.

Whether you wish to take an initiation into a mantra, like doing Upanayanam for getting initiated into Gayatri or wish to take upon a simple daily mantra, or wish to experience a powerful experience like the Rudram, the benefits of chanting cannot be denied. Inculcating this one small habit in your daily life can lead to many subtle and gross benefits.

Based on inputs from Ashutosh Chawla, Head, Jyotish and Vastu, Vaidic Dharma Sansthan. Inputs from the wisdom talks by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.