I am not a very religious person but I am spiritual. The one thing in rituals that blew me away when I embarked upon my Yoga journey was -chanting. I always found chanting fascinating!!! My first brush with chanting was the title track of the series “Bharat Ek Khog” that used to come on Doordarshan. I remember me and brother had it learnt by heart. That was the only part we used to find engaging in the series , the rest of it, I remember, used to be very slow paced for energetic kids like us to sit through.
Next came in “Chanakya”, this program had a powerful imagery of a small flame becoming a bellowing fire with the chanting of mantras in the background. It was mesmerizing!!!
After these very strong imprints in childhood though, I became engaged in the mundane routines of life and slowly these memories faded away. Until, Yoga became a part of my life. When I was going through my teachers’ training course at The Yoga Institute, on day one we were all ( a class of over 50 students) asked to chant ‘Om’. A very simple activity to do on the surface. But the moment I closed my eyes ,and inhaled- and I could feel 49 more powerhouses inhaling all around me- and let this universal sound slip from my lips, along with all my fellow students. The energy in the room was so strong that I could feel the sound waves of the collective chant on my physical body. When I opened my eyes after that, I was a transformed person. It was as if I was woken up from deep sleep and was made aware of this powerful tool to energize and awaken yourself from within.
When I went to Mysore after that, I had chanting waiting for me there too. We have compulsory morning chanting sessions over there. Our teacher there insisted on the points where we should break to inhale and the tune of the mantras as well was paid special attention to . Every ‘shloka’ had a characteristic rhythm, precision pronunciation and unique meaning attached to it. I almost felt like it was a science and we were learning it from our teacher as it is meant to be learnt by constant repetition.
I would urge all of you to try it out. If you don’t know of complex mantras, try out the ones you know- Gayatri Manta
Ganesh Vandana , which will remove any obstacles that may be in your path.
Maha Mrtyunjay mantra, the most powerful chant in the world that can put and end all sufferings.
If these too are beyond your reach go ahead and just chant-
“Om Namah shivay” or just “om”.
So, go ahead and make it a part of your daily yoga/meditation practice and feel the age old power of traditional chants empower you from within.