Yes, even if one chants the Name of God without faith, one does derive benefit from it though it is limited to worldly benefits only.
Analogy of a vitamin pill: Each Name of God corresponds to a specific aspect of God. By chanting a particular Name of God, we derive benefit of that particular aspect or Principle of God. This can be understood through the analogy of taking a vitamin pill. When we take a vitamin pill, we derive the benefit of that vitamin, i.e. that vitamin level increases in us. This happens just by virtue of ingesting the pill, even if we take pill without faith in it. Similarly when we chant the Name of God, that Principle rises in us. This is irrespective of our culture or religion and whether we are chanting with or without faith.
Chanting with and without faith: In fact as most people are below the 30% spiritual level, their faith in God is just about 0 – 2% (refer to the graph below). In their case chanting is begun with little or no faith but this very chanting gives them worldly benefits as well as various spiritual experiences that result in development of further faith. However if one chants with faith, added benefit is accrued. There is a saying that money is the currency of worldly life and faith is the currency of spiritual life. When we chant with faith, we:
- Activate very quickly, the energy of the Deity (aspect of God) Principle whose Name we chant,
- The effect lasts for a longer period of time and
- Most importantly, through chanting with faith we derive spiritual growth towards God-realisation.
The reason this happens is because when we chant with faith, we feel God’s presence more. This means an increase in our spiritual emotion (bhav), which is our ability to feel His presence all around us. This feeling of His presence reduces our focus on ourselves and therefore reduces our ego. Because of our reduced ego, we are better able to access the Divine Energy of the Deity (aspect of God) whose Name we chant.
As per the law of action, there are always results from anything we do. If we chant with the limited purpose of gaining some worldly benefits, then after completing a certain pre-decided quantity of chanting, we are graced with the worldly wishes. However if we chant with faith from the viewpoint of realising God, then it instigates spiritual growth.
Effectiveness of chanting with and without faith
The following is a graph which shows how our chanting increases with spiritual level.
The following table shows the difference in spiritual energy generated between two persons, one at a spiritual level of 30% and the other at 70%, both chanting with their corresponding amount of faith.
Note: For gaining benefit from chanting of mantras, whether we chant with or without faith is not important. However , pronunciation is what matters.