Meditation and the Power of Mantras.
Thanks to the Stop, Breathe & Smile organization, I had the honor to serve for two days last weekend at the Krishna Das workshop and concert in Miami. He’s a world renowned Kirtan singer (Kirtan is call-and-response chanting with musical accompaniment). He started his journey back in the sixties and moved to an ashram in India where he found peace, devoting his life to his guru. He began to chant as part of following the path of Bhakti yoga – the yoga of devotion. When he came back to the West, he brought with him the mantras he learned and has been singing them all over the world since then. He’s become a bestselling artist and yoga rock star.
The following is an excerpt from ‘Pilgrim of the Heart’ audio series by Krishna Das:
“The words of these chants are called the divine names and they come from a place that’s deeper than our hearts and our thoughts, deeper than the mind. And so as we sing them they turn us towards ourselves, into ourselves. They bring us in, and as we offer ourselves into the experience, the experience changes us. These chants have no meaning other than the experience that we have by doing them. They come from the Hindu tradition, but it’s not about being a Hindu, or believing anything in advance. It’s just about doing it, and experiencing. Nothing to join, you just sit down and sing.”
I’ve been listening to mantras for maybe 12 years now. I remember the first time I heard Snatam Kaur belt out her Ong Namos in a Kundalini yoga class; it was love at first sound. The following day I went online and bought her CD. I loved her music so much I offered her CD to all my girlfriends. We were surprised to see that some of us resonated with one song, while others couldn’t stop crying at another track. What is it about these sounds that touches us up so deeply? IS it the devotional sentiment of the person singing or the actual sound vibrations we hear?
I believe that much like an instrument, our bodies which consist of all five elements (water, fire, earth, wind, ether) can be fine tuned – pun intended – by the use of vibrations. If mantras are sounds and sounds are vibrations, vibrations is energy and we are energy then it’s only good science to deduce that sounds can affect us on a cellular level, vibration on vibration. Then the fact that a certain range of sounds could heal your organs or influence certain areas in your life is not so farfetched. This must be researched more. (And sound is used is science for imaging!)
When we are in the womb the sound of our mother’s voice (and heartbeat) is the first sound we hear. And as babies we are sung lullabies at night to calm us and put us to sleep. This must be our first contact with the sound current which is used to get a certain response from us. If you disregard the lyrics which in some case are of bad taste, the sound of these childhood melodies are soothing and comforting. Music & sound is an integral part of our lives, it surrounds us, whether it plays a background role in your life or is at the forefront. But we rarely stop to think about how it can affect us and how we can benefit from it.
Listening to Krisha Das sing the Hanuman Chalisa last Friday was one of the most touching moment of my life. You did not need to understand what the Indian Gurmukhi language means; you only needed to hear the sound of the mantra to feel its power resonating through you. Amazing bliss!
When I heard Deva Primal and Mitten sing for the first time the Gayatri Mantra it was an extraordinary moment. The crowd was entranced by her rendition of this ancient song which at one time was kept secret and passed down only from guru to devotee. The Gayatri Mantra is said to be the oldest and most powerful of mantras, being thousands of years old. It purifies the person chanting it as well as the listener as it creates a tangible sense of well being in whoever comes across it. Translated, it means “May all beings on earth reach enlightenment,” but as with all mantras, the meaning of the Sanskrit words isn’t as important as the effect the vibrations of the words have on the body and energy centers.*
Her dad started to sing it to her every day from the time she was in her mother’s womb. It has imprinted in her DNA and all who surrounds her. She has since sung it thousands of times around the planet, sharing her gift with the world as a successful recording artist and peace ambassador.
All these artists have an aura of peace around them that is unperturbed and emanates the most beautiful vibes. When I leave these concerts I “feel” the mantras staying with me for days, lingering on my aura and caressing my heart with their beautiful harmonies. I dream in surround sound and wake up with melodies in my head.
Have you ever been to a crystal bowl healing circle or a gong bath? In one of my first gong bath, I remember I kept opening my eyes to check around to see if anyone else was in the room with us. I could hear the symphonies of a whole orchestra playing and I couldn’t figure out how since there were only two persons playing gongs in the room. It was a remarkable experience and one that has repeated itself regularly since.
All these experiences have peak my curiosity on the sound current and I’ve taken a few workshops on the Naad or “the essence of all sound.” It is a particular vibration, a fundamental frequency that comes from one common source or sound current. I absolutely love the technology of it. I say technology because I learned in Kundalini yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) that certain mantras are repeated for a certain outcome. There are mantras for health, prosperity, courage, strength, grief, shock, protection, etc. Different mantras are for different chakras or aspects of your life. Some are just plain fun and some can move you to tears. They can help to assimilate things in your life and or let go of others.
I also learned that each of our chakra has its own specific sound and you can use sound therapy to remove blockages.
Have you ever dive underwater? What do you hear when you are alone in your bubble bath? Or when you are sitting under a tree and surrounded by complete calmness?
Can you hear the ringing tone when all other sounds are silent?
The sound of YOU?
The sound of your own amalgam of vibrations, cells and energy spinning and exchanging and vibrating in this world. This sound wave of energy is the life sustaining current flowing through you. It is repeating your thoughts on a vibrational level, your actions and words echoing in the universe. These vibrations which is the sum of YOU, is calling out your every wish and desires. Like a silent incantation, you are collaborating with the universe to give you what you ask for. What are you manifesting? Are you vibrating positive or negative affirmations? Are you aware of what you are resonating out in the universe, consciously and unconsciously?
Wouldn’t you want to be in tuned -Pun intended- with your best and highest path? To be in vibrational harmony?
Hmmmm… makes ME think! Or I should say; makes me wanna chant! How about you?
Ommmmmm Shanti, Shanti, Shantiiiiiiiii!
Om, or Aum, a sacred syllable of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, is considered to be the first resonating vibrational sound within an individual being. It also denotes the non-dualistic universe as a whole. In Buddhism, Om corresponds to the crown chakra and white light.
PS. I started a 120-day meditation last week and been struggling to find a dedicated time to do it but I’ve managed to take time each day for it. So far I have not seen any change in my physical symptoms but with the wonderful weekend I just had, I’m happy! Will post more on that later…