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Azvanna
19 Sep 2016, 20:45
Last weekend, I was introduced to Kirtan. I went to the workshop because I was interested in learning from another point of view (other than Christianity) how to use music as a spiritual practise.

I am entranced. We sang with this version of Deva Premal's Gayatri mantra. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arNh-Jchevk
Absolutely incredible. At some point, I could almost enter a trance state. There was something so very special about chanting ancient sounds into the space. I really can't effectively put it in to words, but it's as though these sounds have a life of their own and have the power to pull me into another stream of consciousness.

anunitu
19 Sep 2016, 21:11
Hmmm,had not heard of this,BUT it reminded me of Tibetan chants and Mongolian throat singing.

Tibetan chanting.

https://youtu.be/pH6aHWcqH2s

Perhaps not for everybody,but for me good for meditation.

Azvanna
20 Sep 2016, 15:05
Hmmm,had not heard of this,BUT it reminded me of Tibetan chants and Mongolian throat singing.

Tibetan chanting.


Perhaps not for everybody,but for me good for meditation.

Definitely not for me! Well, to listen to anyway.

I like Kirtan as it mixes Western music with the ancient Sanskrit mantras, so it's easy on my ears.

I'd love to know if there are any Hebraic chants that are used in worship/devotion.

One of my friends is a sound engineer and says he knows he's putting on a good show for his audience when he can feel it in his body. I have also heard a rumour that good DJ's for clubs will pick songs that resonate at the same frequency of the sex organs or the heart. It's all reminiscent to me of the story of creation and how God uses the spoken word to create. There's a link there I'm not fully comprehending as yet.

anunitu
20 Sep 2016, 15:09
If you mean by Hebraic chants hebrew,you might mean perhaps Jewish "Cantors"

Here on youtube.

https://youtu.be/OsB5uAXaSqc

Azvanna
20 Sep 2016, 15:39
If you mean by Hebraic chants hebrew,you might mean perhaps Jewish "Cantors"


Yeah... it's just not the same, is it? lol.

The Mantras offer profound simplicity. The example you posted sounds more like something only a trained person can do.

anunitu
20 Sep 2016, 17:56
In my mind these types of expression are less about the "Music" and more in the breath patterns effect on the "Singer" themselves. The breathing patterns can effect your brain in some ways. Because you are so concentrated on the "Singing" you are using the sounds to help control the breathing cadence.

Sounds and music have always been a part of spiritual practice it seems forever.

Thorbjorn
29 Sep 2016, 06:42
I am entranced. We sang with this version of Deva Premal's Gayatri mantra. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arNh-Jchevk
Absolutely incredible.

I hadn't heard that rendition before, but it's very nice. I have a few recordings of hers. This is my favorite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDnamSM3Z3s (I don't know who performs it).

The Gayatri Mantra is from the Rig Veda (3.62.10). This mantra is one of the most well-known and revered mantras of Hinduism.

om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇiyaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodayāt

"We meditate on that Being (the divine light and energy) who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds."


it's as though these sounds have a life of their own

They do! Sound is energy, it is the energy of the universe. Hindu belief holds that the universe was created by sound. OM is that sound. That's why Vedic mantras are so highly revered. :smile:

If you are interested in learning more, let me know. I don't want to hijack the thread right off the bat.

Azvanna
29 Sep 2016, 13:23
If you are interested in learning more, let me know. I don't want to hijack the thread right off the bat.

Thank you for the translation! I am interested in whatever you have to say on using sound in your practise. I wasn't asking questions because I'm not sure what to ask yet! So just chime in with anything :)

I've seen a few different translations of Gayatri Mantra since but the one we were given in the workshop is:
Hail to Deity!
Like the Sun, excellent, radiant, honourable, giving life,
providing safe passage and inspiration,
and speaking guidance.

The other Mantra we sang with was Om Puurnam Adah, which is profound in its simplicity. i"m sure you know it, but I'll post it for others:

The outter world is perfect, the inner world is perfect,
from the perfect springs the perfect,
Take from the perfect, and only the perfect remains.

But of course, we sang in Sanskrit.


In my mind these types of expression are less about the "Music" and more in the breath patterns effect on the "Singer" themselves. The breathing patterns can effect your brain in some ways. Because you are so concentrated on the "Singing" you are using the sounds to help control the breathing cadence.

Sounds and music have always been a part of spiritual practice it seems forever.

Really good point! A perspective I didn't consider.

Jembru
29 Sep 2016, 15:55
I'd never even heard of Kirtan but you've piqued my interest so thank you for starting this thread! I often find myself humming or making vocalisations when when meditating to certain tunes. It feels involuntary, especially as I'm often in a trance or at least alpha state when it happens. I guess there is just something very natural and soothing about the use of the voice in the trance state. It's definitely something to add to my lists of things to explore further.

Thorbjorn
30 Sep 2016, 08:40
Thank you for the translation! I am interested in whatever you have to say on using sound in your practise. I wasn't asking questions because I'm not sure what to ask yet! So just chime in with anything :)

I've seen a few different translations of Gayatri Mantra since but the one we were given in the workshop is:
Hail to Deity!
Like the Sun, excellent, radiant, honourable, giving life,
providing safe passage and inspiration,
and speaking guidance.

There are many, many translations, all of which pretty much give the same idea. So yours is not far off. Sanskrit is a highly inflected language. It lends itself to structured poetry, as well as being ambiguous at times.

You'll notice that with the exception of om bhur bhuvah svaha, there are 3 lines of 8 syllables. That is called the gayatri meter. There are many, many "gayatri mantras" for all the deities. They are used as prayers, asking for the deity's blessings for illumination. Many other shlokas (verses from hymns) use the gayatri meter. It is a way of keeping fidelity when orally transmitting the Vedas and other scriptures.

The use of sound is very important, because it is energy, though the gods are beyond language. It's the sound. When you go from temple to temple, you will hear the priests using the same chanting meter. I try to do the same, though some of my mantras and shlokas (verses from scriptures) fall a bit short.


The other Mantra we sang with was Om Puurnam Adah, which is profound in its simplicity. i"m sure you know it, but I'll post it for others:

The outter world is perfect, the inner world is perfect,
from the perfect springs the perfect,
Take from the perfect, and only the perfect remains.

But of course, we sang in Sanskrit.

Was it this one? It's actually quite long. It's from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Sometimes just a verse or three are taken from a hymn and recited, chanted, sung.

oḿ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaḿ
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Another mantra used frequently is

asato mā sad gamaya,
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya,
mṛtyor māmṛtaṃ gamaya
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Lead me from falsehood to truth,
Lead me from darkness lead me to light,
Lead me from death to the immortality.

A mantra of Shiva, as the conqueror of death, called the Mahā-mṛtyuñjaya Mantra, literally "Great Death-conquering Mantra":

oṃ tryambakaṃ yajāmahe
sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
urvārukamiva bandhanān
mṛtyormukṣīya mā'mṛtāt
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

We meditate on the Three-eyed Reality (reference to Lord Shiva's internal 3rd eye)
Which permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance.
May we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality,
Even as the cucumber is severed from bondage to the creeper.

I hope this helps. As you are exposed to other things, please feel free to ask about anything.

MaskedOne
01 Oct 2016, 08:10
It's all reminiscent to me of the story of creation and how God uses the spoken word to create. There's a link there I'm not fully comprehending as yet.


https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1&version=KJV

Well that or I can pull quotes from CS Lewis but John 1:1 is faster.

Rae'ya
01 Oct 2016, 19:28
I've not specifically heard of or explored Kirtan before, but using sound and music for trance is a very common practice for me. Most shamanic traditions, both indigenous and neo-, have sound as one of the pathways to reaching a journey state... drums, rattles, percussion instruments or voice. Usually the voice will be wordless chants and noises, but it depends on the tradition. Personally, I use a drum, because I find my own voice a bit dissonant and it's distracting.

There is also a precedent for using voice and chanting in Northern paths. The Lore has stories of the Volva having handmaidens who chant a special chant to put her into an oracular state (the lady of the homestead could also do this if she new the words). Modern seidhr workers will often use chants to help them reach a trance state.

There is anecdotal evidence of modern NT spirit workers being given songs and tunes by the spirits they work with for the purposes of devotion and invocation. While it's not explicitly supported in the Lore, it makes sense given the information we have about the practices of seidhr, about the neighbouring Saami shamans, and about the importance of poetry and the craft of the skald. Putting it all together would suggest that the voice, storytelling and chanting was important in the Viking Age, and possible prior to that (many NTers have a focus on pre-Viking-Age Europe and Scandinavia).

Modern rune workers (including me) have a chant system for invoking runes, too. I'm not 100% sold on the claim that this is a traditional practice (as I've not found evidence of it)... it seems to be a relatively modern practice stemming from the runic revival, where some Eastern techniques were blending with European traditions. But it can be a very effective and profound practice.

So yes, I think that sound... or perhaps more accurately... resonance, can be an incredibly powerful tool for reaching trance states and all the practices that we do while in that state of consciousness.

Thorbjorn
03 Oct 2016, 05:46
There is also a precedent for using voice and chanting in Northern paths. The Lore has stories of the Volva having handmaidens who chant a special chant to put her into an oracular state (the lady of the homestead could also do this if she new the words). Modern seidhr workers will often use chants to help them reach a trance state.

There is the story of Groa singing charms to attempt to remove the shards of whetstone from Thor's forehead. So if singing/chanting is used for a god, it must be pretty powerful.

Back to Hindu/Indian thought: Here's something that may be of interest. It references John 1:1 also, as MaskedOne did:
http://www.angelfire.com/ok/nadabrahma/nadabrahma.html
http://www.overgrownpath.com/2014/09/nada-brahma-sound-is-god.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C4%81da_yoga
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirtan

I know that is all getting a bit metaphysical and mystical, but it shows how seriously music is taken.