The Outlook today published a news article titled ‘Can Chanting Gayatri Mantra Treat Covid-19? Govt Collaborates With AIIMS Rishikesh To Find Out’. It is about a 14-day long trial program being undertaken by the All India Institute of Medical Science, Rishikesh, where people suffering from the Coronavirus infection would be made to chant the Gayatri Mantra and perform Pranayama along with the usual treatment.
Though in the body of the article it is mentioned that the institute would be researching the effect of chanting Gayatri Mantra and performing Pranayama on Covid-19 patients in addition to usual treatment, the misleading headline makes readers believe that the central govt is considering using Gayatri Mantra as a stand-alone option to ‘treat’ COVID-19.
Since many social media users tend to only read the headline of an article when it’s shared on social media sites and not the entire news article by going to the website, as soon as Outlook shared this mischievously titled report on Twitter, users began to mock the central government for mulling such a preposterous option.
Uthalo re baba. Uthalo pic.twitter.com/AVBOtLd6LO— Devlina (@AarKiBolboBolo) March 19, 2021
So if this is a clinical trial, what does the placebo group get to recite? They take out two critical chants?— Aneela Z Babar (@AneelaBabar) March 19, 2021
We are on the road of no-return. When science becomes a slave of religion, where is the hope for change. Please chant Gayatri Mantra and check results for erectile dysfunction also. 🤬 pic.twitter.com/4PISG4CxIT— dr. meena kandasamy | இளவேனில் (@meenakandasamy) March 19, 2021
But the fact is, unlike Outlook’s reports’ mischievous headline which insinuates that the Modi govt is considering using Gayatri Mantra to ‘treat’ COVID-19, AIIMS Rishikesh has started a 14-day trial in which it will only observe the effect of chanting Gayatri Mantra and performing Pranayama on Covid-19 patients and this will be done along with the regular medical treatment which is otherwise given to the patients suffering from the infection.
It is a well-known fact that controlled breathing or Pranayama is a specific set of respiratory exercises within yoga that has been proved extremely beneficial for the strengthening of the lungs and fight respiratory illnesses. Since COVID-19 infection has a direct impact on a person’s lungs, damaging the walls and linings of the air sacs in the lungs, it is only common sense that these deep breathing exercises will surely be beneficial for the patients fighting the COVID-19 infection.
Moreover, it has been specifically found that chanting of the Gayatri mantra elevates a person’s mind and soul to a higher level. The vibrations created by the chanting of The Mantra, stimulate the penial gland, which helps in release Endorphins and other relaxing hormones in the body that helps keep depression at bay.
This again will prove effective to treat the various traumatic stressors, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other trauma- and stress-related disorders that the COVID-19 patient might suffer.
Isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones in coronavirus patients. Meanwhile, COVID-19 itself can lead to neurological and mental complications, such as delirium, agitation, and stroke. People with pre-existing mental, neurological or substance use disorders are also more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection ̶ they may stand a higher risk of severe outcomes and even death.
In such a situation, reciting Gayatri Mantra would only help these patients to fight stress and strain making them more resilient.
So basically, the central government is in no way trying to replace the medical treatment of COVID-19 patients with Gayatri Mantra or Pranayama, as the title of the Outlook article suggests, but is only trying to introduce it as an additional treatment, which might accelerate the recovery of the patients.
What the All India Institute of Medical Science, Rishikesh intends to do in this 14-days trial is that it will identify 20 patients and equally divided them into two groups A and B.
Ten patients of Group A, along with the usual treatment for Covid-19, will also be chanting Gayatri Mantra, in addition to an hour session of Pranayama in the morning and the evening. The other 10 patients in Group B are only getting the usual treatment for Covid-19.
In this 14-day long trial, the hospital will observe the changes in the level of inflammation in the body in both the groups and will compare them.
The study has been sponsored by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.