Meditation, Chanting and Singing

“Spiritual collective consciousness has a powerful influence on the world” – Radhanath Swami

Chanting God’s names transcends all sectarian boundaries. Scriptures the world over have revealed many of the Supreme’s names to humanity. Krishna, Jehovah, Christ, Yahweh, Allah, Narayana, Rama, Govinda : any revealed name from a genuine spiritual tradition is invested with grace, and chanting any or all of these names connects us with the Supreme.

The bhakti literature proclaims the chanting of the divine names to be “the prime benediction for all humanity” because, more than any other spiritual process, the chanting has the power to cleanse the mind and awaken the soul’s dormant love for God. Chanting is easy; anyone can do it. Much can be said about the power of spiritual sound vibration. An analogy explains how chanting revives our original conscious ness. When a raindrop falls from a cloud, it is pure water and you can see through it. However, when it mixes with the earth, it loses that natural transparency. When the impurities are removed through filtration, the raindrop returns to its original clear state. Chanting God’s names is compared to the filtering process; it purifies the consciousness, returning it to its original pure, transparent state.

Peace- Immediate Benefit

Just as the relentless waves in an ocean keep a boat restless, the relentless waves of worldly dualities – honor-dishonor, pleasure-pain, victory-defeat – keep our mind restless. Just as an anchor steadies the boat, the mantra acts as an anchor that steadies the mind. When we chant a mantra attentively, it invokes God’s supremely stable presence, thereby bringing profound peace. This benefit, though immediate, may not always be instantaneous. Just as anchoring a boat caught in stormy waves may require some persistent effort, anchoring a mind caught in extreme reactions to events may require some persistent effort. But peace surely comes.

Purity- Intermediate benefit

We are plagued internally by many impurities – selfishness, arrogance, pessimism, cynicism and lethargy, for example. These impurities impel us to actions that hurt others and even ourselves. God is supremely pure, so connection with him frees us from impurities, just as an effective medicine frees us from germs. As inner impurities have long afflicted us, cleansing ourselves from them takes time, just as recovering from a chronic disease takes time. But it’s worth the wait. Just as the recovery of health brings physical energy, the recovery of purity brings inner energy, thereby enabling us to do justice to our Godgiven abilities and contribute constructively to the world.

Pleasure- Ultimate Benefit

Among all pleasures, the pleasure of love is most fulfilling. Love brings lasting fulfillment when it is directed towards an eternal object – God. We are all related to God as his children, but we have forgotten that relationship due to spiritual amnesia. Mantras act as potent sonic stimuli that revive our lost memory and activate our dormant love for God. Thereafter, just as speaking the name of a loved one brings joy to our heart, reciting the names of the supreme beloved bring the supreme joy to our heart. We chant selflessly, to express our love for God, and joy arises spontaneously. Indeed, so great is this joy that saints compare it to an endless ocean of nectar – an ocean whose currents can flood our heart with happiness and through us similarly flood the hearts of many others.