Every religious practice has some form of Mantra Jaapa / Recitation & Repetition of a name or a hymn as prayer. Jaapa comes from the root word “to whisper”. It could be said aloud, lip or silent. Many use beads or other forms to stay in the moment as the count is not what should be important even if we believe so.
Chanting in certain rhythmic form is seen as an important step for the vibrations it creates inside the body generates cosmic energy. The is an initiation to build discipline for higher levels of practice.
For example, Sikhism suggests the act of repeating God’s name as you share food. It is a simple yet profound way to instil a good habit. Chanting the Gurbani (the holy hymns) or listening to it is equated to Amrut or the holy water cleansing you.
All chanting can be done alone, in your own confine. When the same chant changes to a song, it is called a bhajan and when it is sung by many people in unison, it becomes a satsang or kirtan.
Some of the additional benefits of recitation and repetition is to gain control of breath or an indirect way of pranayama (a part of yoga). A common occurrence with amateurs is to yawn when chanting. This is just the body taking in additional oxygen and relaxing.
Repetition and Chanting aloud eases anxiety and fear and minor ailments that come with it. The name you recite is not the name of the Supreme Reality but visual aid. What matters is the sound and the rhythm, as language and words are man-made.
A lot of mantras have been proven by neuro-science to generate comic energy like the Gayatri Mantra. Cosmic energy is like radio waves. They are always in the air. Always. But you need to switch on a transmitter to receive it. Reciting hymns could be one of the transmitters.
We sometimes give too much importance to the number of repetitions and not the emotion. We don’t say ‘I love you’ a 100 times to our partner but once with the right emotion. The reason for repetition is that there may be that one time in the process you feel that unique emotion to the Higher Reality. At that specific moment, the mind chatter goes blank and the body goes into silence. That is the moment when you gain the benefit of what you were attempting to do with the Prayer, Recitation, Repetition….
Naveennarayanan — FB