The article Happy Chanting by PP Wangchuk, made me wonder whether chanting is so powerful that it can purify one's soul and make one Buddha-like or even a simple, good human being. Can a person think that mere chanting can bring him salvation or bring him closer to God, irrespective of how he acts? I think it can't.
It is the use of one's intellect that helps one realise God, who is all-powerful: nothing can be hidden from Him. This realisation makes us wonder why God has created us, what is His plan for us and how does He want us to behave in life. Surely, we have to answer to the Almighty for all our actions.
It is our deeds and the intention behind our deeds that have the power to purify our souls. Only this can bring us closer to God and closer to salvation, or whatever one chooses to call it.
How can the mere chanting of six syllables purify six deadly human flaws – ignorance, pride, jealousy, desire, greed and anger? To rid oneself of these sins, one surely needs to have belief in God and in His being all-powerful. Then one has invariably to act in accordance with God's will, and this is not an easy but a very difficult process. Changing negativity into positivity can never happen with mere chanting.
The only power chanting has is that it stops the thinking process and calms one for a while, but it does not remove the problem, which can be solved only by using the mind and being determined to act righteously.
Unfortunately, religion has been reduced to a mere ritual and chanting; and, worse, people generally associate God only with these activities --- a view which just does not and cannot appeal to an intelligent, unprejudiced and unconditioned mind.
On the contrary, it makes them reject the idea of God itself. Sadly, believers in chanting are unable to realise the most important truth: God is above all this.
To know God, one has to use one's intelligence and not act irrationally. To know God, think!