Guru Granth, the Sikh holy book, has 15,028 references to the so-called Hindu deities (I prefer to call them universal) and concepts, 2,400 of them to Sri Ram, as per searchgurbani.com website. The most commonly recited lines I know of are: “taati va na lage parbrahm sarnai, chaugird hamare Ram kar, dukh lage na bhai, satguru poora bhetia, jis banat banai, Ram naam aukhad diya, eka liv lai, raakh liye tin raakhan haar, sab biyad mitaai.”
The gist of these lines is this: I seek the vibration of Ram naam to surround me; the name of Ram is a therapy given to us by the creator and by chanting it, all diseases get wiped out. At another place, it is said, that even a hundred thousand yog asans are nothing in comparison to the benefits that accrue from the chanting of Ram (lakh neoil karo nit asan, nahin Ram nam tul kcchh koye).
Devout Sikhs, who are well-versed with the concept of naam shakti or the power that is inherent in the recitation of the holy name, chant this in times of a crisis. Even ordinary people like me have known them and their value since childhood. However, it is only after coming into contact with Yog Guru Yogi Ashwini that I learned how to chant the name properly and realised that, when chanted in a certain way, it is, indeed, a therapy, as said in the Sikh holy book. I have experienced its power. Here is one of the clips.
If I chant Ram fast and superficially, just using the vocal cords, I feel tired after a while because a lot of breath gets expended. Of course, even this way, something begins to change positively in my energy circuit by the repeated sound and it brings mental relief. After all, as Yogi Ashwini says, “tarak mantra hai shakti ghar, beej akshar hai Ram” (which means that a mantra is a powerhouse of energy that can bring about salvation and the seed word is Ram). A mantra, I have heard from him, has three parts: beej, shakti and keel (seed, energy and seal).
When I chant Ram from deep down as practised under his guidance, being aware of the manipurak chakra, the whirling energy centre at the point of the navel in the energy body, the vibration that is generated has to be experienced to be believed. As the sound of Ram merges into that of Om and begins to resonate in your internal and external atmosphere, you start feeling so integral within and without. After a while, you begin to lose a sense of time and a great stillness descends upon you.
Unlike the somewhat superficial chant from the throat, this one can be done for very long, even hours. At the end, you would feel rejuvenated. I heard it in a video by the Bharat Yoga Swamiji that the manipurak chakra/the navel point is the place where all the 72,000 nadis (channels) converge. This, perhaps, is the reason for the physical cures that come about by chanting Ram at this deep level. Of course, I am just putting two and two together.
What I know for sure is that a mantra is truly power-packed and if you practice it under the guidance of a guru who is free of the clutches of maya, and who hasn’t turned yog into commerce, you would experience its power. Besides, I always remember what is said by Sri Krishna in Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta: “Among words, I am Om.”
I have done experiments with the healing power of Om, but more than that, its joy, that date back 26 years. I used to sing a lullaby improvised out of Om to an infant, who loved it. I even chanted it to heal a stray dog that came to our place after an injury in a dogfight. The dog, lying in a pit he dug out in the garden (mud pack/bath in our language), would move its ear flaps very slowly, almost rhythmically, before falling into deep sleep.
Coming back to the value of chanting Ram, I would only say this: between Dussehra/Vijaydashami and Diwali, a lot of verbiages is expended on katha and singing about Sri Ram. While that has an appeal to simple people, the best way to harness the energy of these powerful days, in my practical experience, is to chant the name of Sri Ram. The vibration calms the mind, which leads to physiological cures, and it is a superb way to connect to the higher forces.
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