Mantra’s and Your Brain

Your memory is the capacity to retain experiences and information. It is this ability that has allowed us to develop language skills, which ultimately led to all the progress and development that we witness around us.

The more you use your brain to retain information, the more it develops. Development according to scientists is measured by the size of your hippocampus; since you have two, collectively known as hippocampi. So if you engage in activity that improves your memory, the hippocampi get thicker, something that can be measured using an MRI. The right hippocampus, in particular, specializes in patterns, sound, spatial or visual.

It is accepted that mantras, as recited by a large section of people in India, have been around for thousands of years. Written as couplets and memorized by rote, young students spend a lifetime learning and then passing on the mantra to the next generation. The recitation of a single text, the Skukla Yajurveda can take up to six hours. A young student who wishes to make a career out of learning these mantras must, therefore, memorize the entire verse, apparently not an easy task. He or she has a few things on their side. The couplets are rhythmic making it easier to remember. Repetition helps.

An analysis of people who engage in constant learning shows a remarkable improvement in the size of their hippocampus. The question before us is does this increase in size protect us from degenerative diseases in our old age. Some scientists seem to think so, mainly from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s which are caused by misfolded protein deposits in the brain. Retaining your faculties well into your old age is undoubtedly a key to good health. As I sat writing this article, I used my headphones to stream the Shukla Yajurveda into my ears. I could swear it improved my ability to remember what I wrote above.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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