I KNEW IT!!!
Back in the early 90's I studied Sanskrit with a wonderful teacher, Swami Shivananda, AKA Swami Bob to all those who knew and loved him. I studied with Swamiji consistently for about three years and when I left RI and moved to Florida continued with my own studies for quite some time. When I came up to RI for visits I would always stop in and spend a few hours with my beloved Swamiji one on one or sit in on one of his workshops if he happened to be teaching that weekend.
I strongly believed that the study and practice of chanting Sanskrit did wonderful things for my brain, particularly in the area of memory. It actually felt to me as if it were making me "smarter"- certainly helping me to think more clearly and efficiently. I had no positive proof of this but within me I was always quite certain that this was so.
In January of 2006 I sustained a severe blow to the head (my right temple) resulting in a fairly serious head injury. I was living in Florida at the time and my sound healing center had just been open for a year. A month after the injury I was invited to a retreat with another of my teachers, Shri Shyam Bhatnagar. It was very synchronistic as it happened that it was going to be in Florida, about an hour and a half from where I lived and I was in desperate need of healing. I was well enough by that time to take a chance on driving myself, which I did- the first time I had driven since the injury. I was in a very internal place as it literally hurt my brain too much to think at that point, but every day we would chant Sanskrit mantras with Shyamji. He is a Nada Yogi and his practice is solely using sound- mantra and tamboura- along with a strict Sattvic diet. Acharya Roop Verma defines Nada Yoga thusly: "Nada Yoga is an ancient science of sound vibrations. It is a path of exploring consciousness through sacred music which originated in the Vedic times. The aim of Nada Yoga is to purify and harmonize the gross and subtle bodies in alignment with their natural vibration, and to bring the individual to the highest state of awareness, the state of Yoga."
I was there for 5 days- maybe 7- I don't have memory of certain things from that time. What I do remember though is feeling the vibrations, the frequencies, of the Sanskrit mantras working on my brain, literally healing my nervous system. I didn't realize how poorly I was still doing until I began seeing the improvement in a daily basis.
I was so excited when I ran across an article this morning in Scientific American confirming what I already was sure to be true. I have told many people over the years that chanting Sanskrit literally feeds the brain, but that information only came from my own personal experience. To me, that is always the best testimony to the efficacy of a practice but I also love seeing the scientific confirmation!
Below is a short video of Shri Shyam Bhatanagar as well as a link to the article from Scientific American. For article click here.