In many traditional cultures the use of sound is a significant aspect of spiritual practice. In the Indian tradition, sound, especially as embodied in the Veda-s, is exalted to a status second only to the Supreme.
Believed to have been revealed to ancient Indian Rsi-s while in a deep meditative state, the Veda-s are a vast collection of hymns that form the basis of the Sanatana- dharma and are held to be sacrosanct by its adherents. They are also the authoritative source of many significant schools of Indian wisdom and philosophy.
The Veda-s are the source of mantra-s that have been and are in practice. Mantra-s are powerful sounds, which when pronounced in the right manner and with the right intention, produce specific vibrations within our body. These vibrations have the ability to positively influence our physiological state, thereby improving physical, mental and emotional health.
This apart, mantra-s can also be used to bring about specific therapeutic effects in practitioners.
Mantravalli literally means a creeper of chants. This anthology contains a careful selection of sacred chants from various sections of the Veda-s, as taught by the legendary T Krishnamacharya. These include passages from some of the primary Upanisad-s, Samhita-s and Aranyaka-s, as well as popular Suktam-s and Sloka-s.
The chants are presented both in the traditional Devanagari script and in the Roman transliteration form. Descriptive introductions to each chant are presented in English, French and German.
Mantravalli will be an invaluable asset to all those who are seriously interested in Veda-s and Vedic chanting.
In many traditional cultures the use of so d is a significant aspect of spiritual practice. In the Indian tradition, sound, especially as embodied in the Veda-s, is exalted to a status second only to the Supreme.
Believed to have been revealed to ancient Indian Rsi-s while in a deep meditative state, the Veda-s are a vast collection of hymns that form the basis of the Sanatana-dharma and held to be sacrosanct by its adherents. They are also the authoritative source of many significant schools of Indian wisdom and philosophy. The term "Veda" implies "that which can be known." This is a broad definition encompassing both empirical knowledge and the experiential understanding of truths that cannot be directly perceived or inferred by the sense organs. The Veda-s are comprehensive treatises, embracing in their scope both the material and spiritual aspects of human life. They expound upon the practical means of meeting human needs while living meaningfully and also lead one into the domain of spiritual and personal transformation. It is for this reason that the Veda-s have remained the primary source of reference for people in the Indian sub-continent over millennia.
There are the six schools of Indian philosophy, collectively referred to as the Sat-darsana-s, based on the teachings of the Veda-so These are Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. These schools have anchored Indians throughout history in their pursuit of a purpose driven life that eventually leads to understanding the highest truth. The status of the Veda-s as the most sacred of the Indian teachings was firmly established and remains undisputed until today.
The Veda-s and their teachings were guarded carefully and continued to thrive across generations of people who have inhabited the wonderful land that is India.
The Veda-s were, and continue to be, transmitted by means of oral recitation and recollection, from one generation of teachers and students to the next. The potent link between teacher and student, based on mutual respect, trust and dignity, has helped preserve the sanctity of these precious texts and is responsible for continuity of this tradition. This tradition of passing the great teachings of the Veda-s orally, through the art of chanting, is called "Veda-adhyayanam."
Students would be initiated into chanting at a young age (usually between the ages of 8 and 12) using a special mantra (chant) known as Gayatri-mantra. After initiation, the students would be expected to reside with their teachers and study under them until they were ready for graduation (around 24-25 years of age).
Bound by the strict rules of chanting and with the emphasis laid on perfection, discipline and absolute focus during their transmission to a student, the Veda-s are heard and chanted today exactly as they were thousands of years ago.
Benefits of Chanting
There are several benefits of reciting the Veda-so The Veda-s are the source of mantra-s that have been, and are in practice. Mantra-s are powerful sounds, which when pronounced in the right manner and with the right intention, produce specific vibrations within our body. These vibrations have the ability to positively influence our physiological state, thereby improving physical, mental and emotional health. This is one of the main reasons why Vedic mantra-s have been used for many years in India as a means of personal development and spiritual transformation.
Another significant benefit of the process of adhyayanam, is its inherent ability to bring the mind to a state of complete attention. The process of chanting involves listening to the teacher and reproducing exactly what the teacher chants, and hence the student must be rapt in attention. This ensures that the distractions of the mind are reduced and concentration is enhanced. It is for this reason that recitation of mantra-s has been given a great significance in the discipline of Yoga-darsana, where it is not only a tool in meditation but also a meditative process in itself.
This apart, different mantra-s can also be used to bring about specific therapeutic effects in its practitioners. For instance, certain mantra-s used in a certain way can have energizing effects while others can have a relaxing effect.
Who can do chanting?
Until recently, many believed that Vedic chanting must be practiced only by certain sections of people, especially men. However, we have references in ancient texts that establish that anyone who is interested is eligible to practice Vedic chanting. For instance, in the Ramayana, India's first epic poem, there is a reference to Queen Kausalya (mother of Prince Rama) reciting the Purusasuktam, a chant from the Veda-s. This reference (Ayodhya-kanda 4.33) disproves a recent belief that women were barred from chanting.
On the strength of this and other references from authoritative Indian texts, Yogacarya T Krishnamacharya took a bold initiative in opening the doors of Vedic chanting to everyone irrespective of race, gender, occupation or religious / political affiliations. It was his firm belief that anyone who wished to learn and teach Vedic chanting with a view to preserving this ancient tradition had the right to do so. Krishnamacharya's initiative set in motion timely efforts to preserve and carry forth the timeless teachings of the Veda-s.
This book titled Mantravalli, contains a careful selection of chants from various sections of the Veda-s, as taught by Vedacarya T Krishnamacharya. The chants in this book are presented in keeping with the teaching methodology adopted by him, going from the simplest to the most complex chants.
Mantravalli literally means a creeper of chants. We hope that this book will not just inspire chant practitioners to blossom into their potential, but also inspire others to engage in this greatly spiritual practice.
We hope you will enjoy this sublime journey through sound.
Founder, Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation.
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