Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Tryst with Chanting

Ever since I was little, the sounds of chants and mantras have captivated me! As a teenager, I remember seeking out audio tapes on Veda chants and listening to them over and over. Each time I heard them, I felt renewed, reconnected to the Universe. Plain and simple, I just felt happier!  

As a little boy, when I learnt to chant in Sanskrit, I knew I had found a way to feel closer to God anytime, anywhere. It was the one thing that could take me to a happier place, instantly. Talking of relative degrees of happiness at that point in my life, I would say I considered chanting a means to something more delightful than my battery operated cars that, well, I totally LOVED! My sister will vouch for my unsurpassable passion for driving my cars all over the house floor, creating traffic jams that now, 20 years later, I struggle to get OUT of each morning!

All those years ago, one evening, after driving around my stately cars, clearing the traffic jams they got themselves into, and calling in my treasured police car and ambulance just for effect, I picked up the Bhagavad Gita. I chanted some verses from it, and then couldn't put it down. For the next few evenings, I had a date with this eternal "Song of the Universe."

Fifteen years later, Dr. Tom Egenes, a Professor of Sanskrit at the Maharishi University of Management in the U.S., invited me to his class to chant for his students. What followed was many hours of blissful chanting during the years I was pursuing my Art degree at the University.

Today, six years later, my chanting of the Gita is recorded on a Website that is part of the Vedic Literature curriculum at the University. Tom shared a YouTube link with me that has a few verses on it. I'd like to share the link with you too.

Chanting brings me peace, even if I don't know the literal meaning of what I'm chanting. That's the beauty of Sanskrit, a language in which merely the sound of every word exudes power, affirmation, and melody.

(Also posted on my blog)


Katherine Jenkins said...

I love chanting and listening to chants. One of my favorite parts of meditating for 15 days in India was hearing the Sadhus chants coming over the hills into my meditation cell. I would here, "Ommm Nahma Shivaya!"... it sounded so lovely. When I lived in a yoga ashram while getting my yoga license in Colorado, I also had to chant the Bhagavan Gita every morning at 3:30am. Now, I love just chanting "Omm" three times after my husband's yoga class down the street from me in Seattle. There's something so lovely about practicing yoga with so many people and then quietly chanting together. Thanks for your lovely post, Sai! I'd love to see just you on You Tube chanting..I will be your FIRST fan!

Sai said...

Thank you, Katherine! Your experiences with chanting sound amazing. I could just hear the sounds of Om Namah Shivaya, when you wrote about them. The chants on the YouTube link I shared are sung by me. :-) They were recorded about six years ago.