- Religion and Philosophy»
HEALING, CHANT & MANTRAS
Vowels Are Sacred Sounds
Music is a powerful medium for healing. Every major spiritual tradition has some form of chant. A number of years ago I was a worship assistant in the Christian Church and often chanted the liturgy.
Chanting the havan service is the most powerful part of satsang. The havan has the mantras. Mantras heal the body, mind and spirit. Sanskrit, like other sacred languages, is full of vowels. Mantra in Sanskrit means "thoughts that liberate us from samsara (world of illusions)," according to Chant Master, Jonathan Goldman. In Hinduism the reciter of the mantra becomes empowered with specific abilities and powers or "siddhis."
One of the most powerful mantras in Hinduism is the Maha Mantra (Great Mantra). It is the Hare Krishna Mantra: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare." Hare is connected with Radha, the consort of Krishna, and an aspect of the Divine Mother. Krishna and Rama, like Radha, are major avatars of the Divine. Five hundred years ago Lord Caitanya appeared and started the Sankirtan Movement. He is believed to be an incarnation of both Radha and Krishna appearing in one body. His associate in the movement was Lord Nityananda who is thought to be the incarnation of Balaram, Lord Krishna's brother. In the 1960s His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabupada came to America and started the modern Sankirtan Movement of chanting the Maha Mantra. In Minneapolis there is a chapter of this movement. To connect with them go to the face book page called Mpls Kirtan. There are groups like this all over the world.
Several years ago I started to study chant and music therapy on my own before I started chanting with Kirtan groups in Minneapolis, such as Mpls Kirtan and the Wild Moon Bhaktas. I read books written by Don Campbell and purchased some of his CDs. To my surprise I had an opportunity to meet him at the Galleria in Edina at the Barnes & Noble store. He autographed my CD called The Mozart Effect. He told me how music improved his health. He suffered from asthma just like me. This is how he got into studying music therapy, chant and sound. He has an anthology called Music Physician for Times to Come. There is a famous French M.D. who studied the ear called Alred Tomatis. Tim Wilson interviewed Dr. Tomatis. In the 1960s there was a monastery where the abbot discontinued singing Gregorian Chant. Soon all the monks became sick and several doctors were consulted. None found the cause except for Dr. Tomatis. He got them chanting again and they all got well. Chanting charges the body and the ear is the initial place where the charge begins. The mid registers of the monks are between 2,000 to 4,000 cycles per second, the upper part of the speaking range. Timbre is connected with charging the body. Gregorian chants produces good timbre because it's in the right frequency range.
My Qigong Master Teacher, Chunyi (Cheeri-end) Lin, teaches a form of Qigong called Spring Forest Qigong. He developed a form of Qigong for Americans to fit their life lifestyles. We use meditation, music, chant and exercises to promote healing in Qigong. He says that chanting is the most powerful healing practice you can do. This is the area of the body which has the most energy channels. Many people want to learn bhajans but not enough want to learn chant. Chanting the mantras is great for your mind and is the most healthy form of music.
Jonathan Goldman, a colleague of Don Campbell, is also a well known Master Teacher of Sound Healing who was a pioneer in harmonics and a Master Chanter. He emphasizes the importance of vowels. Mr. Goldman says, "With vowels in particular, you have specific harmonics that seem to effect both the physical and etheric bodies. The etheric body is a higher level of the physical body. Disease is found in the etheric body before the physical body.
Vowels are found in all spiritual traditions in their forms of chant. Vowels charge and energize the body. The Maha Mantra has 33 vowels and is a very powerful mantra. This is only one of the many mantras one could recite. You can see why Swami Prabhupada promoted the Maha Mantra. Lord Caitanya said that in this Kali Yuya Age chanting is the way to liberation. When the body is charged up with energy, your health and connection with the Divine is the strongest. It is a simple, yet profound practice. It can change your life. For many in the 1960s drugs were a serious problem. The Beatles found out that meditation and chant were more lasting and superior to drugs.
George Harrison became a great devotee of Krishna and funded books written by Swami Prabhupada. George got connected with the Kirtan Movement through his connection to Ravi Shankar. George used to come to the London Radha-Krishna Temple for kirtan and sometimes they would come to his home. He had to hide in the alley to avoid being overwhelmed by fans in those times. When he died he chanted Krishna's name before leaving the world. In the movie called Awake on the life of Yogananda he relates his experience in these times. Two months after George died he came to me in a dream. We were in this house with hardwood floors and he was a young man wearing blue jeans. He helped me with a song I was writing at the time. I wondered why because I did not know him personally. He said, "This is what I do now, help other musicians." I will never forget this powerful dream.
Om is another very powerful chant. Om created the Universe. Jonathan Goldman says, "Many believe it is the most healing and balancing interval. This interval, which is called the perfect 5th, was said to be the tuning of the Greek god Apollo's Lyre. It can balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, as well as the auric field." Every living being has an energy field around them called the auric field. Kirlian photography shows the existence of the auric field. It was the Russians who developed this technology.
Krishna played the flute for good reasons. The higher frequencies, such in the flute, vibrate at a higher rate and are the most healing frequencies.
In 1433 the Tibetan Lama Je Tzong Sherab Senge had a dream in which he learned the lower frequencies and he was instructed to share his knowledge with the other monks of the Gyume Monastery. They sing three notes at a time. Because the Tibetans lived in a higher altitude, they needed the lower frequencies. Few know how to use the lower frequencies as well as the monks. Music therapists and these monks are the low frequency experts.
A study of a Minneapolis public school was revealing. By adding music every day, the math and reading scores went up dramatically. Many students achieved twice the levels that they had started out with prior to the study. This is not surprising. Music and chant use both hemispheres of the brain, use math and language and promote social skills. Music is a very powerful medium. It can bring you intelligence, healing and liberation.
JAI SHRI CAITANYA! JAI SHRI KRISHNA! JAI SHRI CHANT!