Chants

LESSON 1

INTRODUCTION TO KIRTAN

Experts from Bhakti Yoga by Swami Sivananda

Mind is a peculiar combination of various moods, temperaments, whims and fancies, a strange mixture of various sentiments, emotions etc. Therefore the rishis of yore designed various methods to control the mind. One method they described is the path of bhakti, devotion of unselfish love. The innate nature of all beings is to love an external object. We cannot but love or cherish something in the heart. The Absolute alone exists. Love for external things is an unconscious internal urge to become unified with everything. Bhakti yoga, love for love’s sake, includes such practices as puja (ritual worship) , hearing the stories of the lord and especially kitran (one of the nine modes of bhakti) , the easiest surest and quickest means of God-realization. One can realize God through kirtan alone. Kirtan is singing of God’s name with devotion (bhava) , love(prem) and faith(shraddha). Singing about the Lord is usually known as bhajan in most parts of India. In sankirtan people join together and sing God’s name collectively in a common place with accompaniment of musical instruments such as harmonium, cymbals, drums, etc. The Sanskrit verb “Krit” means praising. Such singing has a benign effect on both the physical and subtle bodies. It is an excellent method of soothing the nerves and directing the emotions to a positive goal. During Kirtan a special spiritual power comes from the Indweller of your heart; it purifies the mind and the heart. Sattva flows from the lord to your mind. Kirtan gives you strength to face the difficulties in the battle of life; it is a powerful mental tonic. There is a power in every world. Even as the name of a thing brings that object to mind, the name of God generates God-consciousness in the purified mind. It becomes the direct cause of the realization of the highest perfection of God. There is infinite shaki (power) in Kirtan. It will remove all impurities from your mind. Vedantins say that there are three kinds of obstacles to self- realization: impurities, restlessness and ignorance. To remove them they prescribe selfness service, worship and meditation. Sankirtan alone can achieve all of these together. Kirtan removes the impurities of the mind, steadies it and checks its tendency to vacillate, and ultimately it tears the veil of ignorance and brings the sadhaka face to face with God. In this Kali Yuga (Iron Age), kirtan alone is the best yoga; it is the prescribed method of devotion. When the mind is intent on singing the Lord’s names and glories, worries and stress are released. The devotee feels the presence of God and thins out Kirtan is a very effective method of devotion for another research. Humans are erotic beings by nature. We love and love; we cannot exist without loving. But most love is only passion, or is selfish; is not pure divine love. We crave sweet music. Music melts the heart of even the most stone-hearted person. If there is anything in this world which can change the heart of a person in a very quick time, it is music. This very method is made use of in kirtan bhakti, but it is directed towards God Instead of towards sensual enjoyments. Human emotion is directed towards God, and our love for music is not destroyed. Music is nada yoga, the yoga of sound. The various musical notes vibrate in the subtle channels (nadis), purify them and awaken the psychic and spiritual power dormant in them. Kirtan opens the heart, fills the mind with purity, and generates harmony and Divine love. The person who chants the name of God forgets the body and the world. The devotee enters into the super-conscious state by singing devotional music. The chanting of kirtan, even mechanically done, produces many positive, beneficial effects. When done with devotion and awareness, its benefits are immeasurable. Kirtan will enable you to realize the Infinite here and now. Kirtan will save you from delusion. Therefore sing the names of the Lord always.

LESSON 2

DAILY CHANTS: JAYA GANESHA

Swami Sivananda emphasized the vital importance of supporting yoga practices with the proper mental attitude (bhava). In the daily chants we invoke the different aspects and functions of the Divine, thus creating a strong feeling of devotion and a very pure vibration. In devotional chanting several factors are important: (1) the correct pronunciation, (2) the devotional attitude and (3) awareness of the meaning.

Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Pahimaam Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Rakshamaam

“Jaya” means “hail” or victory to” Ganesha (the elephant-headed deity) is the remover of obstacles. Pahimaam means : save me” , and Rakshamaam means “protect me”, picture an elephant moving through the jungle; he easily removes any obstacle which may block his path. Thus, on any venture, we ask the Lord to remove all obstacles in the path.

Sharavanabhava, Sharavanabhava Sharavanabhava Pahimaam Subramanya Subramanya Subramnaya Rakshamaam

Sharavanabhava (also known as Subramanya, Kartikeya, Shanmuga, Murugan) is the leader of the army of the gods, whose job is to destroy all demons. Saravanabhava drives off negative influences (lust, anger, greed, etc.) and ensures victory in battle, both inner and outer.

Jaya Saraswati Jaya Saraswati Jaya Saraswati Pahimaam Sri Saraswati Sri Saraswati Sri Saraswati Rakshamaam

Saraswati is the patroness of the arts and learning. Invoking her name gives intelligence, self-control, ability, and success in deep study and scholarly projects. It bestows increased intuition, mystical and academic wisdom, harmony, and discriminative knowledge. Saraswati inspires good will, even in the hearts of enemies, and success in all forms of learning.

Jaya Guru Siva Guru hari Guru Ram Jagad Guru Param Guru Sat Guru Shyam OM Adi Guru Advaita Guru Amanda Guru OM Chid Guru Chidghana Guru Chinmaya Guru OM

Next the Guru is saluted. We see him as the personification and transmitter of the teachings of God in the form of Siva (the destroyer), Hari (Vishnu, the preserver), and Rama. He is the world (jagad) teacher, the highest (param) guru, who lives in the truth (sad) and is the bestower of auspiciousness (shyam). In short, we see the guru as God. He is the beginningless (adi)One (advaita=without a second) guru, the bestower of bliss chidghana), and the vanquisher of Maya (chinmaya).

Knowledge comes from the teacher to the student. It is not important whether the teacher is well-known or little-known; it is the disciple’s faith in the guru that is important. Spiritual knowledge is passed on from the spiritual preceptor to the student. When a student accepts a teacher, he is also implicitly accepting the Master of his teacher as he will be inheriting the spiritual wealth of both. The disciple, in turn, passes on his wealth, and thus, spiritual inheritance is continued. Such knowledge cannot be found in books, but only by accepting a teacher who can give help and wisdom personally.

Hare Raama Hare Raama Raama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

This is known as ‘Maha Mantra’ meaning ‘Great Mantra’/ It is said to be the most powerful one in this Iron Age (Kali Yuga). For this reason the manta should always be sung in its entirety and not broken in any way. The mantra can be chanted to bring purity to the mind and heart.

Sad Guru Natha Sri Guru Natha Jaya Guru Natha Sivananda Sivananda Sivananda Sivananda Sadguru Devo Salutations to Master Sivananda. Sadguru= the guru who realized the truth. Natha=Master. Deva=Divine. Vishnu-devananda Vishnu-devananda Vishnu-devananda Sri Guru Natha Salutations to Swami Vishnu-devananda, our teacher. OM Namo Narayanaya (4x)

The mantra of Vishnu (also known as Narayana) is chanted to invoke His all-pervading power of mercy and goodness. It is through His grace that righteousness is able to prevail. Repetition of this mantra confers infinite love, prosperity, power, glory, wisdom, and total liberation. It gives the ability to dissolve obstacles resulting from egoism and ignorance. It is a mantra of peace, bringing balance to an off-centered world.

Om Namo Bhagavate vasudevaya (2x) The mantra of Krishna (also called Vasudeva) is chanted to remind us all of His wonderful teachings: He is the bestower of the Bhagavad Gita; He grants enjoyments as well as spiritual realization; He gives success in all undertakings. Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya Om Namo Bhagavate Sadguru Nathaya Salutations to Sivananda Salutations to the Divine Teacher, our Master Om Namo Bhagavate Vishnu-devanandaya Om Namo Bhagavate Vishnu Sri Guru Nathaya Salutations to Vishnu-devababda Salutations to our guru Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram OM (2x) Salutations to Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. He is the incarnation of righteousness and divine conduct. Anjaneya Anjaneya Anjaneya Pahimaam Hanumanta Hanumanta Hanumanta Rajshamaam Salutations to Hanuman, who is also called Anjaneya. Hanuman is the perfection of devotion. He is the greatest and the most selfless devotee of Lord Rama. Considered to be a semi-deity, for he is the son of the wind-god, he possesses great strength and courage. Dattatreya Dattatreya Dattatreya Pahimaam Dattaguru Dattaguru Dattaguru Rakshamaam Dattatreya is an incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. He is one of the original gurus of Advaita Vedanta. Sankaracharya Sankaracharya Sankaracharya Pahimaam Advaita Guru Advaita Guru Advaita Guru Rakshamaam Sankara, the great Master (acharya), was the great propagator of Advaita (non-dualistic) Vedanta, and the founder of the order of Dasanami swamis. This organization comes from this tradition. Krishnam Vande Jagad Gurum Sri Krishnam Vande Jagad Gurum Krishna is addressed as the words (jagad) teacher (guru). We thank Him (vande), the source of all knowledge. Om Namah Sivaya (x4)

Lesson 3

DHYANA SLOKAS (GAJANANAM)

All the beginning of nay class, lecture, or personal sadhana, we chant the Dhyana Slokas. Thus helps to tune the mind to the divine in its different aspects. It makes us feel like instruments, and helps to remove the tamasic- rajascic ego. Divine guidance is necessary for nay sadhana to be successful. The Dhyana Slokas follow nearly the same sequence as the Daily Chants (Jaya Ganesha, etc.). First we invoke Ganesha to remove all obstacles, then we ask Subramanya to give us strength and destroy all negative forces, internal and external. Next Saraswati, we pray to Her to give us divine knowledge. Then we ask the teacher (guru) to guide us always. Finally, we invoke the Divine Mother Durga, Narayani to bring auspiciousness for all our undertakings.

Gajananam Bhutaganadi Sevitam Kapittha Jambu Phala Sara Bhakshakam Uma Sutam Shokavinasha Karanam Namami VIghneshvara Pada Pamkajam

Ya Kundendu Tushara Hara Dhavala Ya Shubhra Vastravrita Ya Vina Varadanda Mandita Kara Ya Shveta padmasana Ya Brahmaachyuta Shankara Prabhritibhihi Devaihi Sada Pujita Sa Mam Patu Saraswati Bhagavati Nissesha Jadyapaha

Om Namah Shivaya Guruave Sat-Chid-Ananda Muraye Nishprapanchaya Sahnataya Sri Sivanandaya Te Namaha Sri Vishnu Devanandaya Te Namaha Om Sarva Mangala Mangalaye Shiva Sarvartha sadhike Sharanye Ttrayambake Gauri Narayani Namostute Narayani Namostute

I prostrate myself before the lotus feet of Vigneshwara (Ganesha), the son of Uma, the cause of destruction of sorrow, who is served by the host if bhuta-ganaa (angels). Who has the face of an elephant, who partakes of the essence of kappittha and jambu fruits. I always take refuge in Guha of six faces (Subramanya), who is of deep red color like Kumkuma, who possesses great knowledge, who has the divine peacock to ride on, who is the son of Rudra (Siva), and who is the leader of the army of the devas (gods, angels). May the goddess Saraswati, who wears a garland white like the kunda-flower, the moon and the snow, who is adorned with pure white clothes, whose hands are ornamented with the vina and the gesture of blessings, who is seated by Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and other gods, who is always worshipped by Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and other gods, who is the remover of all inertness and laziness, protect me. Salutations to Guru Siva who us the embodiment of Exercise-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, in whom worldliness does not exist, who is ever peaceful. Salutations to Sivananda, Salutations to Swami Vishnu-devananda. I salute the three eyed Divine Mother Narayani, who brings auspiciousness and who fulfills all the desires of the devotee (both spiritual and material).

LESSON 4

FINAL PRAYERS AND ARATI MAHA MRITYUNJAYA MANTRA (OM TRAYAMBAKAM) Maha-mrityunjaya is a life-giving mantra. In these days, when life is very complex, this mantra wards off death and accidents of all kinds. It has a great curative effect on disease and should be repeated before any travel. It is also a Moksha-Mantra and bestows liberation. It is a Siva Mantra. The mantra should be repeated 3,9,27 or 108 times, especially on your birthday. This will bestow on you health, long life, liberation and prosperity.

MAHA MRITYUNJAYA MANTRA OM TRAYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE SUGANDHIM PUSHTIVARDHANAM URVARUKAMIVA BANDHANAN MRITYOR MUKSHIYA MAMRITAT OM SARVESHAM SVASTI BHAVATU SARVESHAM SHANTIR BHAVATU SARVESHAM PURNAM BHAVATU SARVESHAM MANGALAM BHAVATU SARVE BHAVANTU SUKHINAH SARVE SANTU NIRAMAYAAH SARVE BHADRANI PASYANTU MA KASCHID-DUKHA-BHAG-SHAVET ASATO MA SAT GAMAYA TAMASO MA JYOTIR SAMAYA MRITYOR-MA AMRITAM GAMAYA OM PURNAMADAH PURNAMIDAM PURNAT PURNAMUDACHYATE PURNASYA PURNAMADAYA PURNAMEYVAVASHISHYATE OM SHANTIH SHANTIH SHANTIH

Om –We worship the three-eyed One (Lord Siva) who is fragrant and who nourishes well all beings; may He liberate us from death for the sake of Immortality even as a cucumber is severed from its bondage (to the creeper) Om-May auspiciousness be unto all May peace be unto all May fullness be unto all May prosperity be unto all Om-May all be happy May all be free from disabilities May all look to the good of others May none suffer from sorrow Om-Lead me from the unreal to the Real From darkness to light From mortality to immortality Om-That is whole. This si whole From the Whole the whole becomes manifest From the whole when the whole if negated What remains is again the whole Om Peace Peace Peace UNIVERSAL PRAYER Written by Swami Sivananda, the Universal Prayer expresses the sentiment that God is One, whatever name we call Him/her by, whatever form we see Her/him in. It is a prayer that may be recited by followers of any religion or creed. O Adorable Lord of mercy and Love Salutations and prostrations unto Thee Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipoternt and Omniscient Thou art Satchidaananda Thou art Existence, Knowledge and Bliss Absloute Thou atr the Indweller of all beings. Grant us an understanding heart, Equal vision, balanced mind, Faith,devotion and wisdom. Grant us inner spiritual strength to resist temptation And to control the mind. Free us from egoism, lust, anger, greed, hatred and jealousy. Fill our hearts with divine virtues. Let us behold Thee in all these names ad forms. Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms. Let us ever remember Thee. Let us ever sing Thy glories. Let Thy name be ever on our lips Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

BOLO SAT GURU SIVANANDA MAHARAJA KI! JAI! BOLO SWAMI VISHNU-DEVANANDA MAHARAJA KI!@ JAI!

LESSON 5

SHANTI MANTRAS AND URU PRAYERS

Shanti Mantras help to create a vibration of peace- peace with all physical beings, with our teacher, with the devas, or angels, as well as the different parts of our body. Guidance is necessary when one is sincerely trying to keep to the spiritual path. We invoke the energy of the Guru to help us to free ourselves from the snares of maya, to guide us in overcoming the many oBstacles that may appear.

SHANTI MANTRAS OM SHAM NO MITRAH VARUNAH SHAM NO BHAVA TWARYAMAA SHAM NA INDRO BRIHASPATIH SHAM NO VISHNUR- URU KRAMAH NAMO BRAHMANE, NAMASTE VAYO TVAMEVA PRATYAKSHAM BRAHMAASI TVAAMEVA PRATYAKSHAM BRAHMA VADISHYAMI RITAM VADISHYAMI, SATYAM VADISHYAMI TAN MAAMAVATU, TAD VAKTAARAM- AVATU AVATU MAAM, AVATU VATAARAM OM SHANTIH, SHANTIH, SHANTIH OM SAHA NAAVAVATU, SAHA NAU BHUNAKTU SAHA VIRYAM KARAVAAVAHAI TEJASVINAAVADHITAMASTU MAA VIDVISHAAVAHAI OM SHANTIH, SHANTIH, SHANTIH
OM AAPYAYANTU MAMAANGAANI VAAK PRAANAS CHAKSHUH SHROTRAM ATHOBALAMINDRIYAANI CHA SARVAANI SARVAM BRAHMOPANISHADAM MAAHAM BRAHMA NIRAAKURYAAM MAA MAA BRAHMA NIRAAKAROO ANIRAAKARANAM ASTU ANIRAAKARANAM ME ASTU TADAATMANI NIRATE YA UPANISHATSU DHARMAAH TE MAYI SANTU, TE MAYI SANTU OM SHANTIH, SHANTIH, SHANTIH
OM BHADRAM KARNEBHIH SHRINUYAAMA DEVAAH BHADRAM PASHYEMA-AKSHABIR YAJATRAAH STHIRAIR- ANGAIS- TUSHTUVAAMSAS- TANUBHIH VYASHEMA DEVAHITAM YADAAYUH SVASTI NA INDRO VRIDDHASRAVAAH SVASTI NAH PUSHAA VISHWA VEDAAH SVASTI NAS- TARKSHYO ARISHTANEMIH SVASTI NO BRIHASPATIR DADHAATU OM SHANTIH, SHANTIH, SHANTIH

Om, May the sun be good to us. May the God of the waters be good to us. May Aryama be good to us, may the King of Gods and the Preceptors of Gods be good to us. May Vishnu of great strides be good to us. Prostrations to the Supreme. Prostrations to Thee, O Wind! You are, indeed, the visible Brahman. I shall call Thee Just. I shall call Thee Truth. May That protect me. May That protect the teacher. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. Om. May That protect us both, teacher, and pupil. May That cause both to enjoy the bliss of liberation. May we both exert to find out the true meaning of the scriptures. May our learning be brilliant. May we never quarrel with each other. Om, Peace, Peace, Peace Om. May my limbs, speech, life- force, eyes, ears, strength and all my senses grow vigorous. All these are the Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny Brahman. May Brahman never spurn me. May there be no spurning by the Brahman. Let all the virtues cited in the Upanishads abide in me, delighting in the Self. May they in me abide. OM, Peace, Peace, Peace Om. Gods! May we, with our ears, hear what is auspicious. O ye, fit to be worshipped, may we, with our eyes, behold what is auspicious. May we enjoy the life allotted to us by the Gods, offering our praise with our body strong of limb. May Indra, the powerful, of hoary fame, vouchsafe us prosperity. May He, the nourisher and possessor of all wealth, give us what is good for us. May the Lord of swift motion be propitious to us, and may the protector of the Great Ones protect us, too. Om, Peace, Peace, Peace

GURU PRAYERS BRAHMANANDAM PARAMASUKHADAM KEVALAM JNANAMURTHIM DVANDVAA- TEETAM GAGANA SADRISHAM TATVAMASY AADI LAKSHYAM EKAM NITYAM VIMALAM ACHALAM BHAAVAATEETAM TRIGUNA RAHITAM SAT- GURUM TAM NAMAAMI
CHAITANYAH SHAASWATAH SAHHNTAH NIRAKAARAH NIRANJANAH NAADA BINDU KALAATEETAH TASMAI SRI GURAVE NAMAH GURUR BRAHMAA GURUR VISHNUH GURUR DEVO MAHESHWARAH GURU SAAKSHAAT PARAM BRAHAM TASMAI SRI GURAVE NAMH
AJNANA TIMIRAANDHASYA JNANAANJANA SHALAKAYAA CHAKSHUR UNMEELITAM YENA TASMAI SRI GURAVE NAMAH DHYANA MULAM GUROR MURTHIH PUJA MULAM GUROR PADAM MANTRA MULAM GUROR VAAKYAM MOKSHA MULAM GUROR KRIPAA
OM NAMHSIVAAYA GURAVE SATCHIDAANANDA MURTHAYE NISHPRAPANCHAAYA SHAANTAAYA SRI SIVAANANDAYA TE NAMAH SRI VISHNU DEVAAANANDA TE NAMAH OM SARVA MANGALA MANGALAYE SHIVE SARVARTHA SADHIKE SHARANYE TRAYAMBAKE GAURI NARAYANI NAMOSTUTE (X2) MAATAACHA PARVATI DEVI PITAA DEVO MAHESHVARAH BANDHAVAH SIVA BHAKTASCHA SVADESHO BHUVANA TRAYAM. NAMAH PARVATI PATAYE HARA HARA MAHADEV

I Salute the guru who is the incarnation of supreme bliss, who is the bestower of bliss, who is independent, who is the embodiment of the highest wisdom, who is beyond the pairs of opposites ( like love and health), who is all- pervading like space, who is the goal pointed out by sacred formulae like ‘That Thou Art’, who is one without a second, who is sterna, pure and unmoving, who is the witness of all hearts, who is beyond our imagination and who is free from the play of the qualities of nature. Salutations to the Guru who is awareness itself, eternal, peaceful, formless and free from blemish who is beyond nada, bindu and kalaa, (subtle and gross nature – prakriti). Guru is the Creator (of spiritual aspirations), the Protector (of our aspirations), and the Great Lord (who destroys the evil In us); and the guru himself is the Supreme Being. Salutations to the guru. Salutations to the guru who by the collyrium of wisdom removes the blinding darkness of ignorance and opens the inner eye that perceives the truth. The guru’s form (or image) is lift to be meditated upon; the feet of the guru should be worshipped; the guru’s words should be regarded as mantra or gospel truth; and the guru’s grace will bestow liberation on us. Salutations to Guru Siva, who is the embodiment of existence, knowledge, bliss absolute, in whom worldliness does not exist, who is ever peaceful. Salutations to Sivananda! Salutations to Swami Vishnu-devananda! Salutations to Narayani, the Divine Mother with three eyes, who ensure all favourable conditions and satisfies all the wishes of Her devotees (spiritual and material). The Goddess Parvati is my Mother; God Siva is my Father. All the venerated Gods are my friends. Salutations to Parvati; Salutations to Siva.

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