Mantra means “instrument of thought” and is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word, or group of words in Sanskrit. At it’s simplest, the word Om serves as a mantra. The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit by Hindus in India, and are at least 3000 years old. Kirtan is a musical form of chanting mantras. It is non-denominational, based on ancient chants and has the ability to quiet the mind if listened to with intention. Because kirtan has roots in India, most of the songs are sung in Sanskrit so that you can be completely immersed in the sound, with no words to distract the mind. The magic of the chants can then carry you within. In this style of music, the harmonium, a type of reed organ that generates sound with foot- or hand-pumped bellows, is often played as the lead instrument as the leader sings the mantra and the audience sing it back. As you sing with each other you experience a deep connection with the musicians, the other audience members and yourself. And when the music stops, your mind is quiet.
I have a deep love of mantra music and am an ardent student of the Hindu texts. As a yoga teacher, I offer a class once a week called Soulful Sunday Flow which includes chanting. After attending a Kirtan workshop this past month I realized what a wonderful addition a harmonium would be to this class and how far reaching its medicine is. Since this is a practice steeped in devotion, I came up with the idea to make malas for individuals to fund the purchase of a harmonium. Malas are prayer beads used to count the number of times a mantra is recited. The prayer beads of a mala are gemstones that carry specific energetic healing properties held as sacred and used to strengthen particular energies inside the person wearing them. For more information check out Fund Me A Harmonium on Indiegogo. Chant on yogis, Namaste.