Sanskrit chanting has its own beautiful benefits – physiologically and more. A natural state of quietude is brought about in the mind through chanting making one more receptive to the study afterwards. In Sanskrit we call this quietude “sattva”, a quality of lightness, clarity, balance, peacefulness and positivity.
Earlier this week, a wise friend and student asked me about this mantra which has been doing the rounds on What’sApp. She said perhaps it might be nice to share with our Veda chanting group. I shot this suggestion down immediately saying I had absolutely no time or energy for new projects. Homeschooling two kids and figuring out the Webinar world to continue my classes was already taking up all my available resources – time, energy & will-power!!
How many of you have tried to meditate? Sit down, close your eyes and try to keep the focus on your breathing, observe your breath, inhalation, exhalation. Personally, this has not been a very successful approach for me, it certainly demands a highly concentrated and focused mind. How can I build up to that though? It sounds amazing, to be able to sit and enjoy the glory of our breath, that which keeps everything going.
We can unanimously agree that at least a few times in our lives, some more than others, have faced obstacles, things that don’t seem to go as planned or worse, take their own unpleasant direction. Interestingly, if we speak with our friends and family about obstacles in life, we will most likely hear about problems at work, financial troubles, travel problems, holiday problems, school problems, social media problems, the list is endless right?
All names in the universe are the names of Īśvara, of the divine, but it would be impossible to repeat all these names. Therefore, we use a formula!
Patañjali says that Śraddha sets things in motion on our yogic journey. This doesn’t mean we have to come to yoga with full force (faith!). But, in fact, we can come to yoga based on the faintest, even the vaguest interest or curiosity. We can come to yoga full of questions and doubts and criticism.
This is the story of Kay, a dynamite of a human, who fell in love. Truly deeply madly, in love with Vedic chanting.
Through the practice, you will find yourself out of your comfort zone, starting at what seems to be the deep end, glancing at the page number progressing excruciatingly slowly. Then at some point, you will find yourself in a flow, the rhythmic recitation of the verses in anuṣṭubh meter (4 sections of 8 syllables each), will rock you in a gentle trance. The practice ends and for many it seems like we just started!
Just a few months ago, at an event, The Ambassador of India to Belgium asked me a very pertinent question. She said, “Tell me, what is that would make me take the time to learn, understand and practice Veda recitation. I know it is important, but I’d like to understand exactly why.”
I was born in the year 1972, my most significant life event. More importantly, the same year, a wonderful translation of 12 Rig Veda hymns was taking place. Jean Le Mée, extraordinary Engineer and poet, powered by his interest in Sanskrit, completed his Sanskrit studies from Columbia University and published “Hymns from the Rig-Veda”, first edition in 1975.
All of this, all my work is dedicated to the memory of my mother Saroja Sriramaiah. She was an accomplished classical and devotional singer, taught chanting classes to over a thousand students at home and at 10 different chanting centres in Bangalore, India. 6 years after her passing, her students still continue to gather once a month in our family home to chant selected Sanskrit hymns.