Question to Radhanath Swami: In many other traditions – Christian and Buddhist traditions – there is chanting of a devotional nature. Through those chanting can one expect to gain similar results as gained through the chanting of the Mahamantra?
Radhanath Swami Answers: The power of transcendental sound has been accessed by various traditions, throughout history and throughout the world. Chants, prayers, hymns, recitation of texts, can awaken our inherent spiritual nature. Mantra means that which liberates the mind, cleanses the mind. The mind is like a mirror; if the mirror is dirty, you cannot see yourself in it. Similarly the soul is seeing itself through the mind. When the mind is covered with the dust of so many misconceptions, selfishness, arrogance and greed, we identify ourselves only as that. When the mind is cleaned through the mantra, the divine qualities of the soul reflect through the mind, and that effect can be perceived in everything we do in this world. Mantra is so simple, but so powerful.
There are different levels and different varieties of divine sound vibrations also. And different traditions through their chanting and through their practices help us tune into a certain aspect of the divine. In bhakti the mantras are designed to tune into that aspect of divine grace that awakens the love in our hearts.