Want to know more about the power of chanting?

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550681_196108370529076_1886022677_nThe Meaning of Brahmananda Swarupa – A Consecrated Chant.

I find often in my yoga classes that folks are bashful and/or reluctant to actually utter the sounds during chanting times during the sadhana/class.  Its not that they are ready to leave but I think if they knew that they are missing such a powerful benefit for their own energies they might just start sharing their sounds to the group chanting.  I often remind participants that uttering Sanskrit words for invocation is not mumble- jumble but a known scientific fact that the sounds actually create the quality of peace with vibrations in their cells, thus a benefit.  If you click the link above this paragraph you can listen to a short video in which Sadhguru from The Isha Foundation explains about one such powerful Chant.  Below is an audio soundclip from Soundcloud that you can listen to the chant for one straight hour and notice any peaceful benefits that come your way. Thanks again to Sadhguru and the Volunteers at Isha Foundation for sharing so much media with us to be able to tap into the ancient science of classical Indian hatha yoga.  Namaskaram OM

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40 responses »

  1. What I got from this video clip is that Brahmananda Swarupa is a chant consecrated by Sadhguru to invoke stillness in all those who make it a part of their lives. Brahma refers to the creator. The creator has been described as emptiness, as boundlessness, as light, and as darkness. Whatever is the basis of creation, that’s Brahma. Brahma is also Akhila, which means he’s all-pervading. As mentioned in the video, The word Mantra refers to the blissfulness or ecstasy of the creator. Swarupa is ‘an image’. This means an image of the ecstasy of the creator. It means that which rules. Listening to Brahmananda Swarupa is very peaceful. Although it repeats itself, it gives a sense of aliveness and it feels like it something different within every chant. The sound is very alive. According to the video, when you consecrate a sound like this, it has been done with the intention that a large part of you will become stillness but you will retain the liveliness of life around you. As i am writing this, i am listening to the full hour of Brahmananda Swarupa. I can honestly say from listening to it, it gives me peace of mind and i am better at focusing on what i have to do. An overall sentence to conclude the Brahmananda Swarupa is the whole existence is an image of the ecstasy of the creator.
    Lumi Huseinovic.

  2. In this video, Sadhguru was explaining what a chant is exactly, the meaning of this Brahmananda Swarupa chant, and how it is what they call, a consecrated sound. He started out by stating that a chant is a clever arrangement of sounds. But then he went on to say that it can’t just be some nice sounding words, it has to have a nice meaning to it too. This made me laugh a little, because it is true that we don’t understand what the words mean so we could be chanting anything—even bad, negative words, and we would never know! So, I agree completely that the chants have to have a powerful meaning as well as a powerful sound. It was interesting to learn that the chant works on and reaches the energy level. I can imagine the vibrations of our voices reaching the cells in our bodies. But besides the energy level, we also have to focus on our mind and emotional level. For this, we ensure that the meaning of the sound remains powerful enough to enhance our minds. The sound has to be alive, consecrated, and energized. It makes sense to me, because if we are just sitting there reciting a dull sound, I think that our bodies will interpret this as negative energy. We have to truly focus our minds into this and energize our sounds. I believe that chanting is a very important part of yoga. When we chant together in class, not only does it sound amazing, but it feels wonderful as well. I feel like we are really making a change—I can almost feel it in every one of my cells! I am not quite sure how to describe the feeling I get, but the chanting in class excites me. I would imagine that it would be hard to gain benefit in a yoga session without chanting. I feel like chanting also focuses one’s mind onto what they are doing. With every chant, we are reminding ourselves of what we are doing. I may be wrong, but that definitely helps me when I practice my Isha Kriya. Overall, I believe that chanting is a very important aspect of the yoga practice.

  3. The chant that was being discusses was viewed as consecrated and energized. This highlighted the importance of sounds in mantras, and how the words add benefit by satisfying our intellect/mind. I have to say that I never had this idea explained to me in such a clear manner.
    It was said in the video that Shiva has a million different names, but ultimately he is nothing; he is not one thing. It is for this reason that we can call him whatever we want.
    That which rules the existence is ultimate bliss, and has no name. This was important for me to hear because I find myself sometimes getting confused because there are so many names for the Infinite. Since different religions and spiritual traditions have used so many different names, it is easy to become caught up on semantics. Here we are reminded that the multiplicity of names all point to the same Reality. It is quite shocking to realize that many wars have been fought over the issue varying forms of worshiping the Infinite.
    After watching the video I was left thinking about the different ways humans are able to energize, or consecrate different aspects of their lives. One example can be found in my life. This semester I have spent more effort in making my residence a sacred place, or sanctuary. I have done so by adding symbols of my personality and passion on the walls, as well as organizing the furniture in a way that is conducive to meditation and reflection. I try to keep it as clean as possible, as an expression of what I consider my ‘spiritual maintenance’. This idea of spiritual upkeep has become very important to me recently, as I am coming to a deeper understanding of it’s importance.

    – Conrad –

  4. Words have a power and an energy within them. As Sadhguru says, not only are we gaining power from the vibration in your cells, but the positive meaning of the words as well. This has a lot to do with optimism, and the power of positive thinking as well. When we think positively, we are better off for it. When we release these positive thoughts to the world in the form of chanting, they are able to materialize and become even more real. Through vocalizing positive energy, we give it weight and context and especially power. Thinking in the same vein, it might be beneficial to repete small mantras or positive phrases to ones self throughout the day, to receive the benefit of the positive energy. As it says in the video, energy is all we are, and it makes sense to fill our bodies with energy that is positive.

  5. I have been studying the use of mantras in rituals in my theater histories class. It is interesting to hear the information I have been getting from a textbook from someone who actually practices chanting. I think the most interesting thing about chants and mantras is that what you are saying is not as important as how it makes you feel. The sounds have the power to bring you to bliss. This is a similar idea to Theater of Cruelty, something I learned in my Theater History class last year. In the early 19th century, Antonin Artaud came up with the Theater of Cruelty, and one of the aspects of this movement was that words were stripped of their meanings and definitions, and used only for there phonic elements. Essentially he wanted words to be used as noises to bring about an emotional reaction in his audience. Every time I do this assignment, there is some yoga teaching that I can relate to my other studies; its fantastic to see all the connections in this world.

    Katherine Gilmartin

    • Glad you are finding connections this will prove useful for you always….do know that Sanskrit chanting (different from IK which is english) actually has a scientific manisfestation in the cells to create the actual idea such as: peace, well being, etc.

  6. I had once learned that there are different types of mantras and every mantra activates a particular kind of energy in a different part of the body. Mantras have always been something I have been aware of. I have created my own, said my own, written my own, but have I uttered them everyday? No. What I love about the Isha Kriya it has given me the power to do so now. As we should all know by now, what you put out into the earth is what you will receive. Your vibrations, your energy, are always reflecting back to you. And I do entirely believe that chanting out loud is good for the soul because you are putting positive energy into the universe and then are receiving it in greater heights. I have always loved chanting, especially with a group. When you are in the right mindset, with a clear head, you begin to feel the rhythm and energy of everyone around you, and it becomes a very powerful thing. But it’s also interesting to me, like this lecture says is that meaning enhances emotion, and for me when I do not understand the meaning of a mantra/chant it becomes depthless. It’s lacks that “soul” that I am looking for. Paralleling this with my Isha Kriya, it was difficult for me to chant the mantra out loud of “I am not the body. I am not even the mind”. I had to understand the words, language, and dissect the meaning to truly fulfill my experience meditating. Soon though, I began getting into it, understanding that I had to let go of both my body and mind to feel the chant and that is when I began to lose myself in the vibration of the mantra. Mantra’s are something you become and they open up a door for your mind and health. When you chant it’s like unlocking a gate that has been kept secret or putting in a lightbulb. There’s this great “ah!”. Sadhguru, in his talk, states perfectly that sound is alive. And when you become the sound you are in the moment, creating movement, and being alive with it. Loved this video! And am really enjoying the spiritual path in this class.

  7. Chants are powerful in the way Sadhguru described it, although with the Isha Kriya I still have trouble separating myself from the words being uttered, I think due to my ability to define each of the words and therefore there are infinite possibilities to their significance. I’m very susceptible to over-thinking making it more of a challenge in practice. I try to focus on the sound and the vibrations of the words along with my breathing and that usually takes me to the space I need to be in. However, I did try the Brahmananda Swarupa chant along with the recording and did find myself tuning out my own voice and the recording out at an earlier point. By the time I was out of the meditative state it had been almost 30 minutes into the recording, which is more than I have ever been able to do, even with just silent meditation. It is obvious to me, that this occurred cause unlike “I am not my body…” I was just focusing on the pleasant mix of sounds of the Brahmananda chant and I think got close to feeling the complete nothingness of the omnipresent energy I was able to channel. Because I could make anything of this chant, and because its meaning, even after watching his explanation of it, had remained so implicit that all I could focus on was its beauty,

  8. I was defiantly hesitant to make any noise when doing yoga. Even deep and loud breathing. For some reason I found it to be embarrassing like I was calling attention to myself. I am not sure where this feeling came from. Probably because in this culture it is frowned upon to make loud noises in front of others especially if you do not know them. Not knowing that many people in the class also made me feel hesitant. But now after I have had many classes I feel more comfortable with the people around me and have stated to understand the practice itself better. As the video says its just an arrangement of sounds that are meant to be helpful to the chanters. The words itself are not the important part, it’s the sound or vibration which is the reason why people chant. If that is true then the langue is not important either. Chanting can be helpful to everyone world wide

  9. The chant at the end of the video is still playing as I begin to write this response.
    The melodic chanting is beautiful and calming just in its existence. The meaning of the words Brahmananda swarupa, as the image of perfect blissfulness brought to us by the Creator, add to the calmness and stillness an individual feels when listening to this chanting. As Sadhguru said in the video, the chant itself is efficacious but an understanding of its meaning can heighten that effect on the chanter.
    There is a large amount of scientific backing to the idea of “affirmations” and chanting seems to be the origin of this idea. Affirmations are acceptances of yourself and repeated phrases that can help the individual and allow them to reach a goal. I know several people who keep affirmations each morning and find that very helpful. “Today will be a good day”, “I will reach -this goal-” etc. These are powerful words and the seeking of bliss through chant is extremely powerful as well. It is interesting to me that this discussion of chant relates to the idea that saying something is bringing you one step closer to achieving it.
    I will continue listening to this calming chant as I complete other homework today.

  10. In studying music, I’ve learned a lot about Western plainchant (“Gregorian chant”) and the consecration of Christian texts within very strict harmonic rules, so as to keep the chant as a whole as holy and as pure as possible. I’d love to learn more about Indian musical traditions and see how the cultures contrast, but the idea of consecration of words/texts/mantras seems to draw a common link between the two cultures! I enjoyed learning about the mantra that Sadhguru discusses in the video, and this text could apply to many cultural and personal beliefs. I believe in the power of affirmation, and after seeing this video, understand the power of affirmation through chant, as Sadhguru says that the sound is energized and alive when we chant it, and is no longer just sound.

  11. Sadhguru’s words about the meaning and significance of chanting are both funny and enlightening. He points out that while the true power of chanting to bring blissfulness lies in the energy of the sounds spoken, all of us have mind which strive to interpret the words we speak. He shows that it is therefore best to give the words a blissful meaning as well – and here he allows even those of us who do not understand the sanskrit to reflect on the meaning of the words. I understand what he means though, that the power of chanting lies in the charged energy of the sounds themselves. When we chant in class, the sounds coming from my mouth feel alien since we are used to only using utterances with clear and direct meaning to us. It is therefore strange and new to make sounds I do not understand and to still feel such power in them. This, perhaps more than anything else, has taken some getting used to this semester, since I am ordinarily a shy person and am not particularly forthcoming even with words I know the meaning of. I therefore sympathize with those students you mention who are embarrassed to participate in the chanting, and I feel that this is an area in which I have made big progress this year.

  12. This video explained a lot about chants. Sadhguru defines a chant as simply a clever arrangement of sound. It is used to help energy levels and guide you properly through your yoga meditation. However because we have active minds and emotions, we have to be careful in what the chants sound like. In theory, we could just disregard connotations and meanings of words and say anything in chants as long as they sound appropriate in guiding our energy. This isn’t the case though. He then defines Barhmananda Swarupa as ‘the image of ultimate blissfulness’. These mantras’ main goals are to achieve ultimate blissfulness in oneself. Sadhguru also touches upon Shiva and how he is nothing and because of this, we can refer to him as anything and by any name. If he were to exist as one thing, we would not be able to do this. The idea of chanting never quite resonated with me but I now understand its purpose for guiding energy and for yoga in general. The idea behind a chant’s rhetoric was interesting to hear about. I never considered that the sounds did not have to necessarily refer to anything. But then it all made sense as to why it couldn’t simply refer to anything when Sadhguru explained it.

    -Max Pollio

  13. Sound is extremely powerful. As a musician, I really do understand the concept of vibrations having a meaningful effect in our Yoga class. There is science behind how certain frequencies and wavelengths have effects on different parts of the brain, and how music and sound can have calming and meditative effects, so I find it extremely easy to believe that vibrations from mantras have a strong effect on the people participating in the room. I can also understand how people are shy to make sound in front of people they do not know well, and how it can be intimidating to try to meditate in front of other people, but I believe that once others get past that intimidation or embarrassment, they will be able to discover and embrace all of the benefits of uttering phrases out loud. My favorite part of the video, aside from the fact that the speaker has a lighthearted sense of humor that is incredibly endearing, is when he discussed how imperative the words themselves are in a chant. If you are not muttering positive words, you are not giving off positive energy. Your mind has great control over how your body receives the exercise, so you have to recite mantras with conviction and positive energy to be able to absorb all of the benefits.

  14. I am one of those people in class who is shy about chanting-I don’t mind doing it-I just don’t want to be the only one and I always wait for someone else to start before I join in. Which is silly, really. Sadhguru says that there is a power in the vibration of the sound as well as in the actual words being chanted. I know this first hand-when I was in labor with my daughter, during the contractions I let out low, almost moaning, but not whining sounds. I didn’t use words, and so, perhaps didn’t have the benefit of the sanskrit that we have in yoga, but those deep “huh”s most certainly helped me relax and the vibrations calmed me immensely-even the midwives were impressed by how calm I was! I should try to remember how powerful that feeling was the next time I am feeling self-conscious in class!

  15. It strikes me that the yoga experience, in tandem with chanting, attends to the whole-energy body, not just the physical movement and position that yoga utilizes. To be making sounds really does take a person to a different place, and perhaps trigger new energy healing to become unlocked…much like drumming. Drumming can be very meditative in the rhythmic quality that it possess, and the most trance-like effect it creates when done in a sustained way, especially collectively.

    The same thing seems to happen with chanting. I definitely felt a difference when one voice was chanting versus when many voices joined in, which speaks to the power of the collective energy being summoned. I think that this is interesting when considering yoga- my mom always does yoga alone, outside…but I almost think that doing yoga with a bunch of people adds to the collective momentum and therefore creates a powerful experience that shows the unification of spirit, and reverberates through all human energy fields.

    I’m really starting to understand how multi-faceted energy is as it relates to the human-animal/spiritual being experience that we call life on Earth.

  16. When speaking on the importance of chanting, it becomes clear that there is relevance beyond volume or sound. The chant, as Sadhguru explains, does not have to evoke a certain thing through the recitation of words – but instead bring one towards complete positivity and better clarity when speaking the words. His jests regarding language and the ability to recite something versus not being able to because of the language barriers most Western yogic practitioners involve themselves in is both comical and truly important. The yogic practitioner must not understand what they are saying, whatever this Sanskrit chant may be, in order to evoke the energy that is necessary to benefit from the process and, as such, the meaning of what it said applies to a better meditation rather than having any actual meaning at all. In this sense, the idea of nothingness is brought up – the chant can mean nothing because it is about nothing yet brings to life energy that is entirely alive and pulsating beyond just being affected by sound. The benefits from this practice and the revelations within this video bring a different notion of the chant into play when considering the practice of the Isha Kriya. Though we are conditioned to think that chanting or speaking in such a way is unnecessary or problematic in Western culture, it is truly inspiring and important to understand the reasoning for these practices and how they actually work beyond what is immediately considered.

    • Excellent….also do know that the yogis of long ago who created the Sanskrit language did so in such a way that the actual idea is tied to the vibration of the words, so the reverberations create and manifest the idea in one’s cells….hence chanting shanti shanti shanti brings peace peace peace to oneself….OM

  17. In the beginning of the semester I found myself having difficulties in audibly saying the chants. However, in understanding the power of the vibrations, it became easier for me to take part of the class chants. I found this clip of Sadhguru important as he discusses the chants. It was interesting that he began it by saying that the sounds are the most important aspect of the chant, except since we are people, with brains and emotions, and not purely energies, the words said are just as important. While the sounds and vibrations may appear to be what helps us in the yoga practice, it is also in the words that we can find healing. The sounds may be beautiful, but as critical people, the content holds importance in what we decide to say.
    My mom always told me not to say negative things about myself because once it’s spoken, it holds truth. This reminded me a lot of Sahguru’s point in regards to words and meanings. Once something is said it holds these energies and this power, and in the energies and vibrations we can find a sense of peace in yoga. Once these energies leave our bodies, they are able to reverberate around us. While in yoga chants, the meaning is not important in theory, the energies remain. As people, we attach meaning and do not wish to say things that do not feel right to us and are not positive. By creating positive energies out of positive meanings, we are able to create vibrations that better our energies, minds and feelings. Which is what my moms point was – don’t let negative thoughts, feelings, and energies into the world because then this negativity can bind to you, which is how I picture the yoga vibrations. Once you are surrounded by the positive vibrations, they can bind to your own energies and thus elevate you.

  18. This video was really great for me! I really enjoyed listening to him speak about the different ways that we address G-d and how it doesn’t even matter really because that existence of a higher power is everything and nothing. I also really liked when he was talking about mantra meanings and language differences. For example, since I do not speak that language, I would feel more comfortable perhaps chanting in a language that I know. I think developing your own mantra would be a great way to gain leverage in your life and start a routine of your own doing.

    I know Hebrew and Spanish for example, and perhaps it is nice to use a language that you aren’t super familiar with or that isn’t your native language to disconnect you from the words themselves and place you in a new context with a 2nd or 3rd language that you might know a bit about. I don’t believe that mantras are one size fits all and I believe that meaning, while it holds some major importance and you don’t want to chant something mean or negative, it is important to chant an intent or a phrase that you feel you connect with. This strengthens its potency, as the act of chanting itself is incredibly powerful. I really loved this video post.

    Raechel Teitelbaum

  19. I completely agree that chanting a mantra aloud creates a positive vibration within us. Although I naturally find myself wanting to remain silent throughout our yoga practices, I find that when I do push myself to speak the words carry much more meaning. That is why this video also put so much emphasis on the meaning of the words we chant. We can say any countless combination of sound, but it must carry positive meaning to us for it to resonate with us. I have noticed that the vibration in the room when we all say “AH” together at the end of Isha Kriya completely centers the body and the mind, creating a sense of oneness. Simply saying it in your mind doesn’t have the same effect because it isn’t an external act. One must push the mantra out to the universe for it to spread positive vibrations in our life. I plan to practice this way of chanting as a way to subdue my negative thoughts, and thus bring me closer to reaching inner peace.

  20. Sadhguru describes chanting as a clever arrangement of sounds. In the video, Sadhguru expresses that chants are more than sounds. They’re powerful emotions. My favorite part of the yoga class you teach is when we as a collective chant the Isha Krya mantra. It’s honestly so empowering. I have noticed that some of my classmates do not chant along, and maybe they’re repeating the mantra silently in their heads, but I would love if everyone participated. It sounds so much nicer, and the room is filled with so much more energies. I remembered the first time we practiced the Isha Krya together as a class, I was a little shy to say the mantra aloud. But the second time we all did the Isha Krya together, I said the mantra aloud and it felt really amazing. It really does make the difference when everyone participates.

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