As some background I grew up in a Hindu household but Hinduism never resonated with me.
As an adult I was looking to improve my Anxiety disorder and found meditation to be very powerful. I was unsure about Gods, prayers etc. But I knew from experience and science that meditation works. I decided to experiment with 108 gayatri mantra before meditation daily. The 108 gayatri puts me into a really deep meditation. I decided to try 1008 gayatri and I find that it effects my physical body and mind quite a bit. I even found a study showing how it improves neurochemistry of the human brain.
I was wondering if Gayatri Mantra specifically, or mantras in general affect the physical reality? Does Gayatri mantra change reality on a metaphysical level? And where in the Vedas does it state this?
What was the purpose and use of mantras in Vedic times? What I found online:
In Hinduism, suggests Alper, the function of mantras shifted from the quotidian to redemptive. In other words, in Vedic times, mantras were recited a practical, quotidian goal as intention, such as requesting a deity's help in the discovery of lost cattle, cure of illness, succeeding in competitive sport or journey away from home. The literal translation of Vedic mantras suggests that the function of mantra, in these cases, was to cope with the uncertainties and dilemmas of daily life. In a later period of Hinduism, mantras were recited with a transcendental redemptive goal as intention, such as escape from the cycle of life and rebirth, forgiveness for bad karma, and experiencing a spiritual connection with the god. The function of mantras, in these cases, was to cope with the human condition as a whole.