This is the story of Kay, a dynamite of a human, who fell in love. Truly deeply madly, in love with Vedic chanting.
I’ve known (of) Kay for several years now, thanks mostly to the yoga community of Brussels and social media. But I only met her in person not so long ago. This fall season, with great joy, I watched her chant her way to a practice that had been waiting for her to come along.
Some key points to note – Kay walked into a course that isn’t exactly ‘easy’. Devī Sūktam (Hymn from the Rig Veda) is a detailed, nuanced, complex hymn to learn. This is the first course Kay had signed up for. It was for the very first time our group was learning this strange Vedic note called the ‘kampa’, a tremulous sounding of vowels in different notes that takes the reciter to a whole new height of enjoyment of this mantra.
And she had to read Vedic phonetic colour coded sheets like these!
The learning that happens in the class with the teacher is by far not enough though, much practice needs to happen for the mantra to become a part of you. Completing the course is in fact, when the real practice begins.
And here’s what she was able to do, with consistent practice. She tells me she finds her mind bright and clean with this practice. That the practice has been so deep for her, leaving her with no option but devotion. This is Kay’s love story.
Four learnings from Kay’s experience:
- When the practice calls you, technical details, nuances, phonetic rules, use of technology to study (if you’re not already used to it!) and all other details become just that – details. Details that can be mastered, with concentration and an innate inspiration.
- There are no beginner and advanced mantras or hymns at the end of the day. If you apply yourself, concentrate and practice, those categories become irrelevant.
- You are alone in your practice. Your teacher helps you learn the mantra, the rules of pronunciation, gives you all the tools to understand it. But you practice on your own to fully internalise and memorise the hymn.
- The ‘real’ practice begins when you finish learning the mantra.
Kay’s story didn’t begin with this course. She began her journey with Yoga at the age of 14 and she is 63 now. So almost 50 years as a student of Yoga! Kay finds teaching and studying a natural progression in life.
This is no ordinary preparation. It is a lifetime of falling in love.
With much gratitude & love to the sincere group of learners Kay studied with.
I find the four learnings from Kay’s experience listed here, so very meaningful and touching. Beautiful!
Shipa, thank you for this! I hope to write more student stories, we have an amazing community!