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Chanting

Singing God's glory is as natural as breathing. People of all faiths, in all times, have expressed devotion through singing. In the Siddha Yoga tradition, chanting combines singing and music with mantras — words and sounds that vibrate at the highest level of awarness. Chanting is a practice of singing sacred texts and repeating the names of God that stills the mind, dissolves worries, and brings forth wisdom and joy. A song from the Rig Veda describes the words of a chant as "bright birds that fly to the heavens." Swami Muktananda referred to chanting as "a subtle tonic that nourishes the inner being, imparts spiritual strength, and purifies the mind and heart."

Many Siddha Yoga chants are in Sanskrit, the revealed language of the sages, the vibrations of which have the power to purify the body, the mind, and the atmosphere. The melodies of the chants are based on ancient melodic patterns of Indian classical music called ragas. "Raga" literally means "that which colors the heart." Ragas are designed to draw the listener inside and evoke a particular feeling or quality.

There are two kinds of chants practiced in Siddha Yoga ashrams and centers: namasankirtana, chanting the names of God, and svadhyaya, the chanting or recitation of sacred texts.

Namasankirtana is the joyous practice of repeating God's names and God's attributes. Chants are often accompanied with traditional Indian musical instruments: harmonium, drum, and cymbals. The chants usually begin at a slow pace, gradually increasing in tempo to a crescendo. In namasankirtana, a word or phrase praising God is chanted repeatedly, in a call-and-response fashion, drawing the chanter deeper and deeper into connection with the inner Self.

Svadhyaya is the study of the Self through chanting and recitation of sacred texts. Through maintaining focus on the text, our capacity for concentration increases. The mind becomes strengthened, still, and illumined with the spiritual energy contained within the text itself. Within this state of absorption, we can experience the Self, and as we continue the practice, the verses will reveal their meanings in marvelous and surprising ways, teaching the divine knowledge at the very heart of the scripture.

Text Chants chanted at the ashram includes the Shri Guru Gita, the morning and evening Aratis, Shri Rudram, the Vishnu Sahasranama, and the Shri Shiva Mahimnah Stotram. Read more about the chants at the ashram.

 

> Chants at the ashram

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