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Scientific Study demonstates Power of Meditation and Chanting: Reduce Stress, Depression, and Elevate to a Higher Guna

Study shows that meditation and chanting reduce stress and depression

Scientific Study demonstates Power of Meditation and Chanting: Reduce Stress, Depression, and Elevate to a Higher Guna

सत्वं रजस्तम इति गुणा: प्रकृतिसम्भवा: |
निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् || -Bhagavad Gita 14.5
"O mighty-armed Arjun, the material energy consists of three guṇas (modes)—sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance). These modes bind the eternal soul to the perishable body." 

Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna that the material nature possesses three gunas -  sattva, rajas ad tamas. These three gunas comprise the psychological build of an individual. Sattva, the highest guna is characterized by calmness, truthfulness, compassion, satisfaction, and discipline. Rajas is attributed with  passion, dissatisfaction, and envy of others. Tamas is associated with anger, fear, anxiety, depression, and a feeling of helplessness. A balance of these three gunas is quintessential to our perceptions and way of life. The guna that predominates in our nature affects our perspective about life and the world around us. For example, a person with high rajas guna is attracted to material world and is engrossed in pleasures of the world.

Lord Krishna clarifies: 
सर्वद्वारेषु देहेऽस्मिन्प्रकाश उपजायते |
ज्ञानं यदा तदा विद्याद्विवृद्धं सत्वमित्युत || 11||
लोभ: प्रवृत्तिरारम्भ: कर्मणामशम: स्पृहा |
रजस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे भरतर्षभ || 12||
अप्रकाशोऽप्रवृत्तिश्च प्रमादो मोह एव च |
तमस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे कुरुनन्दन || 13|| -Bhagavad Gita 14-11/12/13

"When all the gates of the body are illumined by knowledge, know it to be a manifestation of the mode of goodness. When the mode of passion predominates, O Arjun, the symptoms of greed, exertion for worldly gain, restlessness, and craving develop. O Arjun, nescience, inertia, negligence, and delusion—these are the dominant signs of the mode of ignorance."

Humans are gifted with an ability to balance the three gunas. Daily sadhana can lead to an increase in sattvic guna while decreasing the rajasic and tamasic gunas. This has also been proven scientifically. A study (Wolf and Abell; 2003)  conducted in 61 people hypothesized that meditation could increase the sattva guna and decrease rajas and tamas. Of these 61 people, 23 people were made to chant the name of Lord Krishna, 19 people chanted a mantra that did not have Krishna's name (meaningless combination of sanskrit words) and 19 people did not chant anything for 20 to 25 minutes per day for 28 days. Interestingly, at the end of 28 days, it was found that in the group of people who chanted Krishna's name per day for just 20-35 minutes, the scores for sattva guna increased significantly and rajas and tamas gunas decreased. Not only that, these people also had lower stress and depression. But, these positive changes were not observed in the other two groups.

Imagine, if in such a short duration of time, we can have such positive effects; what a magnanimous change we can make to our lives through Daily Sadhana!