Saturday, April 2, 2011

Modernity, Memory and Mantra

Went to my first ashram last weekend, a Ramakrishn­a Vedanta one. I was so impressed by some of the members who could chant any part of the Gita if given the number of the chapter and shloka. Inspires me to try the same some day. (But I want to attempt the Hanuman Chalisa first!)

Anyway, I found this article on the Huffpost that talks about the practice of memorizing and chanting the Bhagavad Gita:

Mantrajapa (chanting of mantra) simultaneously engages three of the eight limbs of Yoga -- namely pranayama (breath control), dharana (concentration) and dhyana (devotion or meditation on the Divine). It has also been referred to as the Yoga of Sound, with scientific studies enumerating its medical benefits, which include lowering blood pressure to producing endorphins and supporting healthy metabolism. But science is not what is on our minds when we lose ourselves in the power and beauty of the Gita. Perhaps it is the knowledge that these are the words of Lord Krishna. Or maybe there is spiritual power in the intonations and rhythmic patterns in which the Gita is traditionally chanted. Could it be the recognition that we are connecting to millions now and before us who have indulged in this primeval spiritual practice? Whatever the reason, my family is experiencing something deeply moving and profound.