Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-100

A global research trend in AUM meditation: A bibliometric analysis of past five decades


1 Department of Yoga Science, University of Patanjali, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India
2 Patanjali Herbal Research Department, Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission26-Jun-2022
Date of Decision07-Sep-2022
Date of Acceptance26-Aug-2022
Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vedpriya Arya
Patanjali Herbal Research Department, Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar - 249 405, Uttarakhand
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ym.ym_80_22

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  Abstract 


The scientific community has long been interested in mantras and meditation. However, very little study has been done on specific mantras such as AUM. The major goal of this bibliometric study is to aid AUM meditation research by finding all connected publications and subject coverage, as well as uncovering historical trends, active research domains, prominent journals, authors, organizations, and nations, as well as linkages between them. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) criteria were used to search the Dimensions.ai database for AUM-related articles. VOS-viewer was utilized to reveal emergent trends and transitory patterns in the literature, as well as to demonstrate international collaboration, organizational coupling, and co-cited author networks. After a thorough screening and extensive article reading, fifty studies were chosen for the study. According to the findings, India produced the majority of data. More than half (62%) of the publications were in the field of “Medical and Health”, and about one-sixth (16%) were in “Psychology and Cognitive Sciences”. Based on Publications “The International Journal of Yoga” has the most publications (26.66%) and citations (40.87%). The strongest linkages are found in “Venkatasubramanian, Ganesan (952)”, “India (101)”, and “National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (192)”. This bibliometric analysis synthesized and illustrated 48 years of AUM meditation research, indicating key highlights, and rising trends. The findings of the study contribute to the creation of a platform for future research in the field of AUM meditation.

Keywords: AUM, bibliometric analysis, meditation, OM


How to cite this article:
Bhatt M, Vashisht A, Verma R, Gupta A, Rohit, Arya V. A global research trend in AUM meditation: A bibliometric analysis of past five decades . Yoga Mimamsa 2022;54:92-100

How to cite this URL:
Bhatt M, Vashisht A, Verma R, Gupta A, Rohit, Arya V. A global research trend in AUM meditation: A bibliometric analysis of past five decades . Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 6];54:92-100. Available from: https://www.ym-kdham.in/text.asp?2022/54/2/92/363814




  Introduction Top


Meditation, which originates from the eastern spiritual traditions of India, China, Tibet, and Japan, has also made its way into Western countries as a part of healing, healthcare, and spiritual practice.[1] As a result of various cultures and peoples all over the world, many meditative techniques have evolved.[2] Some of the meditative techniques that have been extensively researched include Mantra Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong.[3] Mantra Meditation is one of the most ancient meditative practices, having been used for thousands of years in India and other parts of the world to tune into different energies in the body.[4] Mantra is a divine power manifested as a sound. Mantras have their frequencies and vibrations, which can have an impact on our lives by causing changes in the subtle world.[5] The highest sacred mantra according to Indian Vedic philosophy is “AUM.” AUM symbol can also be found in ancient and medieval manuscripts, temples, monasteries, and spiritual retreats in Buddhism and Jainism.[6]

The first scientific study of AUM was conducted in 1993, to determine its effects on Middle latency auditory evoked potentials.[7] Since then, a considerable amount of research evidence has accumulated in support of AUM meditation's positive impacts on a variety of mental and physical health outcomes. Researchers have also conducted Surveys on the effects of OM Meditation on the Human, the effect on the Nervous System, etc.[8],[9] Although a large number of studies, including surveys, RCTs, and systematic reviews, have been published on the effects of meditation,[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15] if we consider “Aum meditation” in particular, no clinical studies, as well as bibliometric analysis, have been found, there is still a gap in the bibliometric analysis of works in the subject of AUM meditation. Bibliometrics was coined by Pritchard in 1969 as “the application of mathematical and statistical techniques to books and other forms of communication,” and it is now widely used to examine trends in a body of literature.[16]

In this study, bibliometric approaches are employed to compile a comprehensive list of works published on the subject of AUM meditation, as well as to identify the most referenced publications and active journals. This bibliometric analysis study aims to give to readers an analysis of the work done in the past, as well as to highlight the rate and development of research on the subject of AUM meditation.


  Methodology Top


Source of data and method of article selection

The data for bibliometric analysis was obtained from the database “Dimensions.ai”. Dimensions.ai database was selected because it gives users access to real-time online attention data, allowing them to see how frequently articles and clinical trials are discussed around the world. Its primary goal is to “Slice and Dice” data, which entails three major steps: data filtering, grouping, and labeling.

For publications on “AUM meditation,” a comprehensive Boolean search phrase was created, taking into account all potential outcomes. The following Boolean term “Aumkaar” OR “Omkaar” OR “AUM Mantra” OR “AUM Sound” OR “AUM Chanting” OR “AUM Chant” OR “AUM Meditation” OR “AUM vibration” OR “AUM Humming” OR “OM Mantra” OR “OM Sound” OR “OM Chanting” OR “OM Chant” OR “OM Meditation” OR “OM vibration” OR “OM Humming” OR “Sound OM” OR “Yogic Sound” OR “Syllable OM” NOT “Open Monitoring” was searched in the title and abstract only for the article type documents published from 1973 to 2021.

Data analyses

The “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses” was utilized [as shown in [Figure 1]] to discover prospective research studies on AUM meditation from 1973 to 2021. The study reviews 48 years (1973–2021) of scientific literature on AUM meditation to assess the progress made thus far, and uncover emerging patterns. 2774 and 77 (64 articles, 13 others) publications were identified on the database “Dimensions.ai” based on “full-text and “title and abstract” data respectively. This study selected only title and abstract-based publications (77), followed by their extracted in CSV file. For this study, a total of 13 records of Chapters, Proceedings, Preprint, and 14 records of irrelevant and out-of-domain studies, were excluded and the final dataset of 50 records was used to assess different bibliometric indices. No ethics approval was required as this was an analysis of available published research.

The data was further analyzed and visual maps were created using VOS viewer (version 1.6.18), developed by Nees Jan van Eck. This study used bibliographic coupling analysis to report and categorize the top countries, organizations, authors, articles, and source journals. The findings of the research are then mapped from a network perspective to demonstrate the value of core research and unveil the cooperative working relationship between them.
Figure 1: Chart depicting the flow of records through the screening and selection process

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  Results Top


Publication distribution and citation's growth analysis

The publications chosen were studies looking into the effects of AUM meditation. The first scientific research in this field was published in “The Indian Journal of Medical Research” in India in 1993 on Middle latency auditory evoked potentials by Dr. Shirley Telles. Starting from 1993, the study's temporal span can be divided into three decades. In the first (1992–2001) and second (2002–2011) decades, only four and seven investigations on this topic were conducted, respectively. The number of publications has increased considerably in the third decade (2012–2021), with 80% (39 publications) of the total body of literature published during that time [Figure 2]. [Figure 3] illustrates the distribution of publications.
Figure 2: The percentage of research findings on AUM meditation over the last four decades

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Figure 3: AUM meditation research publication trends by year

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During the study period from 1973 to 2021, the total number of citations was 421. An increasing trend of published articles has been observed during the studied period [Figure 4]. The highest number of citations (80.99%) during the latest decade (2012–2021) was (341), followed by the second decade (2002–2011) with (58) citations which were (13.77%) of all citations, and the least number of citations (22, 5.22%) during the first decade (1992–2001) [Figure 5].
Figure 4: AUM meditation research citation per year

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Figure 5: AUM meditation research citation (%) according to three decades

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Research areas

Based on studies reported as categorized in the 50 papers that were classified as analyses of either direct or indirect effects of AUM meditation or chanting, or a combined (direct and indirect) approach. More than half (62%) of the publications were in Medical and health sciences which makes it the most prevalent research field, followed by psychology and cognitive sciences (16%). [Figure 6] illustrates the distribution of research areas.
Figure 6: The spread of research fields is depicted in the diagram

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Highly productive country and organizations

With a comprehensive and in-depth analysis, it has been found that a total of 27 top research publications came from the four nations that published AUM meditation research articles. According to the survey, India (88.89%) was the most productive country in this field, followed by the USA (3.70%), Saudi Arabia (3.70%), and Thailand (3.70%) respectively [Figure 7]. However, in terms of citations, India continues to lead with (97.88%) citations, followed by the USA (2.11%), whereas Saudi Arabia and Thailand have no citations. In terms of Citation per an article in the top countries, India (13.5) ranked first followed by the USA (7) [Table 1].
Figure 7: World map of published articles in AUM meditation research

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Table 1: Active countries

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The most productive organizations in the field of AUM meditation research during the period 1993–2021 are depicted in [Table 2]. Out of the total of 20 organizations, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA) in India ranked first with (35%) of all publications and (41.74%) of citations, followed by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) (25%) of publications and (35.36%) of citations [Figure 8]. However, according to citations per article, the maximum number of citations per article comes from NIMHANS (24.40), followed by SVYASA (20.75), Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College of Dental Sciences and Hospital (23.00) respectively. Furthermore, the top six organizations are all from India, and Auburn University which holds the seventh position is from USA India (96%), is ranked first in terms of citations.
Table 2: Top 10 organizations that published maximum AUM-meditation research articles from 1993-2021

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Figure 8: List of top 10 organizations (%) contributing to AUM meditation research

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Most active authors

VOS viewer displays 143 authors in the field of AUM meditation, from 1993 to 2021. According to the study, Indian authors were responsible for all top ten global publications. With an identical number of articles (16.7%) R Nagarathna and Shirley Telles from SVYASA are in the first place, followed by H R Nagendra from SVYASA with a total of (13.3%) articles. [Table 3] lists the top 10 most productive researchers, with the minimum numbers of documents (2) and citations (12). As a result of the citation, Shirley Telles (171, 21.24%), R Nagarathna (165, 20.49%), and H R Nagendra (162, 20.12%) are the top three authors. However, H R Nagendra (40.5) publishes the majority of the publications on this subject in terms of citations per article, followed by Shirley Telles (34.2), and R Nagarathna (33).
Table 3: Top 10 authors in AUM-meditation publications during 1993-2021

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Highly productive journal and most frequently cited articles

A total of 50 articles were published by 41 Indian and international publications [Table 4]. In the top ten journals with a minimum number of citations (7), the highest and lowest percentages of published research were (26.66% and 6.66%), respectively. “The International Journal of Yoga” has the most articles published with (40.87%) citations, followed by “Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology” with (13.33%) articles and (28.88%) citations. When the number of citations per article was compared the “Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology” published the most papers (53.0), followed by “International Journal of Yoga” (37.50) and “International Journal of Neuroscience” (28.00).
Table 4: Top 10 journals on AUM-meditation research papers during 1993-2021

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The most frequently cited articles with more than 10 citations are listed in [Table 5]. “Autonomic changes during 'OM' meditation” authored by Telles et al. in the year 1995 and published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, had the maximum percentage of citations with (22.32)%. “Neurohemodynamic correlates of OM chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study,” authored by Kalyani et al. and published in the International Journal of Yoga in 2011, had the second-highest percentage of citations with 21.71%. The title “Autonomic changes while mentally repeating two syllables--one meaningful and the other neutral,” authored by Telles et al. and published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology in 1998, had citations of 10.09%.
Table 5: Top 10 cited articles on AUM-meditation during 1993-2021

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International collaboration

International collaboration is evident in the Authors, Organizations, and Journals domains. The size of the circle in the [Figure 9], [Figure 10], [Figure 11], [Figure 12] signifies a high number of publications, the colors indicate a cluster of collaboration, the lines indicate linkages among items, the distance between items demonstrates their relatedness, and the thickness of the lines denotes the strength of the collaboration.
Figure 9: Network visualization collaboration of authors in the field of AUM meditation research

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Figure 10: Network visualization collaboration of co-cited authors in the field of AUM-meditation research

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Figure 11: Network visualization collaboration of organizations in the field of AUM meditation research

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Figure 12: Network visualization collaboration of active journals in the field of AUM-meditation research

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A total of 143 authors' bibliographic coupling was analyzed for their relatedness to shared references. A total of 10 clusters have been identified with 78 items, whereas cluster 1 has the maximum number of authors (13), followed by clusters 2 and 3 having (12) and (11) number of authors, respectively. Cluster 10 has the smallest number of authors (2). As per link strength is concerned, there are a total of 1321 links with a 7888-link strength [Figure 9].

[Figure 10] depicts the Co-citation analysis of 1763 Authors with a minimum three number of citations in the database for their relatedness of shared references. The total number of links found is 1161, and the total link strength is 6669, with the highest number of links being discovered in Sathian, k (740). A total of 4 clusters have been identified with 60 items, whereas cluster number 1 has the maximum number of authors with a total of 22 members, Cluster 2 has 19 members, cluster 3 has 11 members, and cluster 4 has eight members.

Organizational coupling

Bibliographic coupling of organizations with a minimum number of 1 citation in the database was investigated for their relatedness of shared references [Figure 11]. A total of 3 clusters have been identified with 16 connected items. Cluster number 1 has the maximum number of organizations with a total of 9 members, Cluster number 2 has 4 items, and Cluster 3 has a total of 3 members i.e., all India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and, Sri Ganga Ram Hospital.

As per link strength is concerned, it is maximum at the NIMHANS (192), followed by Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (132).

Journal network visualization

VOS viewer listed 41 journals with at least one publication related to AUM meditation. There were (93.17%) journals with at least (2%) publications (accounting for 68% of all publications). [Figure 12] shows the network visualization collaboration of Journals with a minimum of one number of documents of the source. Psychological thought has the maximum link strength (54), followed by the International Journal of Yoga (51), applied psychophysiology, and (40). The highest citation is concerned is maximum by the International Journal of Yoga (150), followed by the International Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (106).


  Discussions Top


The sound AUM is considered sacred and universal. According to the Vedic scriptures, it is the primordial sound of creation. It is also known as Shabd Brahma and serves as the foundation for all other mantras. Seekers have been meditating upon this sacred sound for acquiring the true knowledge of oneself since time immemorial.[17] According to the Upanishads, AUM is composed of four elements: the first three A, U, and M are the vocal sounds, and the fourth sound is unheard, the silence which begins and ends the audible sound, the silence which covers it. Vedas heavily emphasize the spiritual significance of AUM, which according to Patanjali is another name for God.[18] Apart from the spiritual importance, its physical and mental significance is also high, as researchers have demonstrated via several studies.[8],[19] Focusing, visualizing, and mentally chanting AUM leads to a blissful state of awareness.[9] The combination of mental alertness with physiological rest has been seen during the chanting of AUM.[20]

The first scientific research on AUM was done in 1993 by Telles and Desiraju,[7] and since then many pieces of research have been done till now. To measure growth and uncover new patterns, a bibliometric analysis of 48 years of published literature on AUM meditation was conducted.

Based on the studies the results showed that the chanting or meditation on AUM was done differently in different studies such as “loud chanting of AUM,”[21] “mental chanting of AUM”,[22] “Passive listening to the sound AUM,”[23] and “comparison with the similar sound,”[24] “AUM sound compared with mentally repeated similar sound,”[22] etc., The effects of AUM meditation were studied on different parameters using Neuroimaging techniques,[25] EEG techniques,[23],[25],[26],[27],[28] Middle Latency Response Method,[7],[29] and other methods. According to the findings, only three Clinical studies have been done in the AUM meditation field, in which OM chanting was one of the interventions along with asana or pranayama.[30],[31],[32] When systematic reviews and surveys were taken into account, the results revealed that there was no systematic review and just one survey that systematically examined the previously available studies in this field.[33]

As per publication is considered, during the decade 2012–2021, the number of publications increased dramatically (80%), with more than half (52%) of the total body of literature generated in the last (2017–2021) 5 years. In the year 2020, the yearly rate of publishing has surpassed 28%, the highest of all. Almost half of these publications were within the discipline of “Medical and Health Sciences,” as well as publications in “Public Health and Health Services,” and “Studies in Human Societies,” were among the less prominent disciplines. Although AUM meditation came from the Eastern part of the world, the majority of AUM meditation-related literature came from India only. India produced all of the top 10 publications. Eighty percent of the top ten organizations are from India, while 20% are from the USA.

India has made significant progress in this area. On December 11, 2014, India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, suggested “Yoga Day,” and the United Nations designated June 21 as International Yoga Day. India's contribution in the field of AUM Meditation study, therefore, should obtain international recognition.

Although Western countries have made almost little contribution to AUM meditation research, much more may be done in this subject with the assistance of other nations throughout the world. As a result, it is imperative that the value and significance of this work be promoted globally, encouraging everyone to take advantage of it and make their lives a true success by keeping healthy in all aspects of their lives.

Scope of research

There has been a considerable amount of work being done in the domain of Medical and health sciences, psychology and cognitive sciences, philosophy and religious studies, physical sciences, and human society studies which signifies that it is gaining the attention of researchers, scientists, and people in general. Hence, considering all the possible areas it could be derived vividly that there is a demanding need for the establishment of the research in the field of AUM on the global level. The motive of this study is to further establish and propagate evidence-based research in this field.


  Conclusion Top


This paper used quantitative data to support and encourage other scholars to focus on AUM meditation research studies. This study illuminates the history of AUM meditation research over the last 48 years as well as current developments, which will be valuable to new researchers, students, and academics in domains like psychology and psychiatry. This research also foreshadows future directions in mindfulness research, as evidenced by current research. The current study represents our best attempt to bring the rising knowledge of AUM meditation, which may benefit anyone interested in reading the scientific literature on AUM meditation from pointers to important sources of information such as the most referenced papers, revolutionary articles, most productive journals, and authors.

Acknowledgment

The authors would like to express their gratitude to the honourable chancellor and vice-chancellor of the University of Patanjali to guide and support us in various research activities. The authors further acknowledge the scientific team of Patanjali Herbal Research Department, Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar, India, for their guidance, editing, and support.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10], [Figure 11], [Figure 12]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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