This world abounds in various religions, sects, philosophies and belief systems. A parochial view of the divergent faiths has led to conflict, and it must be gathered hence, that a view that embraces diversity can lead to a more peaceful living. The one uniform practice found in almost all the religions of the world is prayer takes the form of chants. \u0910 \u0910 \u0907\u0924\u093f \u092d\u092f\u093e\u0930\u094d\u0924\u0947\u0928 \u0926\u0943\u0937\u094d\u091f\u094d\u0935\u093e \u0935\u094d\u092f\u093e\u0918\u094d\u0930\u093e\u0926\u093f\u0915\u0902 \u0935\u0928\u0947\u0964 \u092c\u093f\u0928\u094d\u0926\u0941\u0939\u0940\u0928\u092e\u092a\u0940\u0924\u094d\u092f\u0941\u0915\u094d\u0924\u0902 \u0935\u093e\u091e\u094d\u091b\u093f\u0924\u0902 \u092a\u094d\u0930\u0926\u0926\u093e\u0924\u093f \u0935\u0948\u0965 ai ai iti bhay\u0101rtena d\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e6dv\u0101 vy\u0101ghr\u0101dika\u1e41 vane| binduh\u012bnamap\u012btyukta\u1e41 v\u0101\u00f1chita\u1e41 pradad\u0101ti vai|| Beholding one utter \u2018Ai, Ai\u2019 even merely out of fear from spotting a wild beast such as a tiger in the forest, She blesses the (speaker) with all that is desired; devoid though of the (ending) nasal sound (and thus incomplete) the (mantra) may be. A single verse\/hymn\/incantation is resorted to with the faith, and repeated a prescribed number of times or for a certain period of time. This practice is called \u2018japam\u2019 in San\u0101tanadharma, and can be of two kinds \u2013 n\u0101majapa and mantrajapa. N\u0101majapa is the repetition of a chosen name ascribed to the Absolute, while mantrajapa is the repetition of an incantation. Mantras unlike n\u0101mas, are esoteric and are usually received as an initiation from a preceptor. The very word mantra is explained as that which protects when repeated mentally continually1. According to the M\u012bm\u0101ms\u0101 school of thought, Gods exist in the form of the indestructible mantras. In other words, mantras are verily God. This is the reason why mantras are esoteric and are often not disclosed to the uninitiated. This is also the reason why most mantras demand the strict adherence to purificatory rites and regulations regarding time and place they can be resorted to. 1 \u2018manan\u0101t tr\u0101yate iti mantra\u1e25\u2019 Every aspect of the Absolute represented as the various Gods of the Hindu pantheon has a particular b\u012bjamantra associated. B\u012bjamantras are syllables that are representative of specific deities, and are hailed as supremely energizing. The soundwaves produced by the continuous repetition of a specific syllable or a combination of specific syllables (that invariably end with a nasal sound) is said to cause an energy surge in the body. The aural effect of the repetition is that the mind is stilled in the sound, leading to calm and increased awareness. The regulation of breath that is a corollary of chanting a mantra, regulates the oxygen content in the body, thereby resulting in several health benefits. These health benefits that modern-day science establishes as facts, could not be established in the days of yore. Yet, the benefits of the practice that were experienced by practitioners could not be ignored. The practices thus came to be enjoined upon man by appealing to faith. Most of the practices enjoined in the Vedas fall under this category. Further, lessons of the Vedas are constructed into narratives of the Pur\u0101\u1e47as for easier understanding. The Dev\u012bbh\u0101gavata contains one such narrative of the efficacy of mantrajapa. In the country of Kosal lived a br\u0101hma\u1e47a by name Devadatta. Issueless and desirous of a son, Devadatta decided to perform a Putrak\u0101me\u1e63\u1e6diy\u0101ga2. He erected a pavilion on the banks of river Tamasa and invited experts in sacrifices to assist him. Gobhila, one of the officiating priests, was breathless during the recitation of the mantras as the sacrifice was being performed. Fearful that the ragged breath of Gobhila may result in the intonation of the hymns going wrong, Devadatta protested harshly. \u201cAlthough a well-educated man, you behave like a simpleton today. I fear that (your breathing) may impede the productivity of the sacrifice I perform\u201d, he exclaimed. 2 A sacrifice specifically aimed at begetting a child. Gobhila was angered by the words of Devadatta. He stated, \u201cbreathing is natural to all living beings and cannot be suspended. I cannot to be blamed for any variance in intonation resulting from breathing. I have not mispronounced the verses in any way. (Angered me as you have with rudeness,) you shall have an idiot for a son, who will be an alien to perfect intonation.\u201d Devadatta was alarmed by the curse. He pleaded with Gobhila, \u201cit is said that sages do not anger easily, but you are furious with me. Moreover, my transgression was a trivial one and you have punished me with a grave curse for it. I am burdened with the misery of being issueless to begin with. You further my agony by cursing me. I take recourse in you. Please take pity on me and relieve me of this curse.\u201d Pleaded with thus, the compassionate Gobhila stated, \u201calthough born a simpleton, your son will grow up to become very wise.\u201d Devadatta was relieved for the blessing. He completed the sacrifice, honored the officiating priests and repaired to his house. In due course, his beautiful and noble wife, Rohi\u1e47\u012b, gave birth to a son. Devadatta performed the rites of birth and named his son, Uthya. When Uthya was eight, Devadatta had his upanayana samsk\u0101ra (threading ceremony) performed and began training him in the Vedas. As can be expected, Uthya was a dullard and could not grasp the Vedas he was being taught. Even with the passage of twelve years, Uthya was unable to learn to perform even basic rites like the sandhy\u0101 rites. Word spread around that the son of the learned Devadatta was a dullard, and Uthya soon became the laughing stock. He was mocked and scolded everywhere he went. Uthya\u2019s parents too grew impatient with him and began chiding him. Dejected with the treatment meted out to him, Uthya developed a dispassion for the world and retired to the forest. He resorted to a beautiful spot on the banks of the Ga\u1e45g\u0101, built himself a hut and began living there, subsisting on wild fruits and tubers. He caused no one harm and lived a peaceful life. Yet, a deep sense of purposelessness gnawed away at him. He lamented his fate and consoled himself with the recognition that it must be the demerits of his past that have resulted in his present lack of intelligence. Although Uthya knew nothing of prayer or sacrifices, he had resolved to speak only the truth. He spent his days contemplating his life and speaking nothing but the truth. Fourteen years went by thus, and soon Uthya came to be called Satyavrata by all those around, dedicated as he was to speaking the truth. Once, a hunter was hunting in the vicinity and struck a wild boar with his arrow. Wounded and terrified, the boar ran in front of Satyavrata grunting in pain. Beholding the boar, Satyavrata exclaimed instinctively, \u201cai, ai\u201d. Satyavrata who was deeply distressed by the wounded boar, had not realized that the syllables that had escaped his lips were (part of) the b\u012bjamantra of Sarasvat\u012b, the Goddess of speech and learning3. As he sat there pained by the agony of the beast, the hunter appeared before Satyavrata and asked him, \u201csage, it is well known that you speak nothing but the truth. Please tell me where the boar went. I have a hungry wife and children to care for. Please be gracious to me.\u201d 3 \u2018Aim\u2019 is the b\u012bjamantra. Here the ending nasal sound is left out. Satyavrata was on the horns of a dilemma now. He had seen the boar take recourse inside his hut. If he told the hunter that he did not know where the boar went, he would be lying and hence breaking his vow of truth. If on the other hand, he kept his vow of truth and pointed the boar out to the hunter, he would be enabling the killing of the boar. Satyavrata could either choose to keep his vow of truth, or save the life of an innocent animal. Even as the simpleton debated thus in his mind, the grace of the supremely auspicious Dev\u012b descended upon him. \u092c\u093e\u0923\u093e\u0939\u0924\u0902 \u0935\u0940\u0915\u094d\u0937\u094d\u092f \u0926\u092f\u093e\u0928\u094d\u0935\u093f\u0924\u0902 \u091a \u0915\u094b\u0932\u0902 \u0924\u0926\u0928\u094d\u0924\u0947 \u0938\u092e\u0941\u0926\u093e\u0939\u0943\u0924\u0902 \u0935\u091a\u0903\u0964 \u0924\u0947\u0928 \u092a\u094d\u0930\u0938\u0928\u094d\u0928\u093e \u0928\u093f\u091c\u092c\u0940\u091c\u0924\u0903 \u0936\u093f\u0935\u093e \u0935\u093f\u0926\u094d\u092f\u093e\u0902 \u0926\u0941\u0930\u093e\u092a\u093e\u0902 \u092a\u094d\u0930\u0926\u0926\u094c \u091a \u0924\u0938\u094d\u092e\u0948\u0965 b\u0101\u1e47\u0101hata\u1e41 v\u012bk\u1e63ya day\u0101nvita\u1e41 ca kola\u1e41 tadante samud\u0101h\u1e5bta\u1e41 vaca\u1e25| tena prasann\u0101 nijab\u012bjata\u1e25 \u015biv\u0101 vidy\u0101\u1e41 dur\u0101p\u0101\u1e41 pradadau ca tasmai|| Pleased by the utterance of her syllables that rose from the compassion experienced at beholding the wounded boar, the Auspicious Dev\u012b blessed him with unimaginable wisdom. - Dev\u012bbh\u0101gavata, 3.11.38 In a trice, Satyavrata who had been a simpleton and the butt of ridicule from the day he was born, was transformed into a wise man. \u092c\u0940\u091c\u094b\u091a\u094d\u091a\u093e\u0930\u0923\u0924\u094b \u0926\u0947\u0935\u094d\u092f\u093e \u0935\u093f\u0926\u094d\u092f\u093e \u092a\u094d\u0930\u0938\u094d\u092b\u0941\u0930\u093f\u0924\u093e\u0916\u093f\u0932\u093e\u0964 \u0935\u093e\u0932\u094d\u092e\u0940\u0915\u0947\u0936\u094d\u091a \u092f\u0925\u093e \u092a\u0942\u0930\u094d\u0935\u0902 \u0924\u0925\u093e \u0938 \u0939\u094d\u092f\u092d\u0935\u0924\u094d\u0915\u0935\u093f\u0903\u0965 b\u012bjocc\u0101ra\u1e47ato devy\u0101 vidy\u0101 prasphurit\u0101khil\u0101| v\u0101lm\u012bke\u015bca yath\u0101 p\u016brva\u1e41 tath\u0101 sa hyabhavatkavi\u1e25|| By the unwitting utterance of (a part of the) b\u012bjamantra of the Dev\u012b, knowledge of everything revealed itself to him automatically, verily like to sage V\u0101lm\u012bki in the days of yore. - Dev\u012bbh\u0101gavata, 3.11.39 Satyavrata was now equipped to handle the moral dilemma he was faced with. He said to the hunter standing before him with his bow drawn to the quick ominously, \u201chunter, the power that sees speaks not, and the power that speaks sees not. Why do you importune me thus repeatedly?\u201d Confused and disappointed, the hunter turned home, sparing the boar. Satyavrata became a celebrated poet in course of time and earned great renown. His fame spread far and wide, to reach the ears of his parents who had turned him out. Devavrata who was greatly pleased with the renown of his son, invited Satyavrata to his hermitage and accepted him in the family with honor and affection. Thus, the b\u012bjamantra, although uttered unwittingly and incompletely, has transformed a dullard to a wise poet, and had effected his fortune to turn completely.