We were never far from hearing the sounds of worship of the Divine on the 2013 Ganeshpuri trip. I loved the auditory presence of the Divine in Ganeshpuri. It was one of the reasons our senses were so filled with Consciousness. That ever-present current of mantra and chanting filled our ears and hearts and the act of chanting sent vibrations of Consciousness through our bodies. We were in the current of Grace.
Brahmin priests began chanting soon after 4:00 am at the Nityananda Temple for the devotional abhishek (ritual bathing of Nityananda’s murti). After breakfast, we settled in for the Guru Gita and all the accompanying chants. Every day, Swamiji gave us a few more Guru Gita verses translated into English and we chanted those too. In the afternoon, we gathered with Swamiji for more chanting, satsang and meditation.
Some chants were familiar — the Guru Gita and Jaya Jaya Arati Nityananda — and the new and mysterious chants that flowed from the Brahmin priests during the all day yajña, fire ceremony. Those chants propitiated the gods, the planets and all the forces of Consciousness by using a mysterious and mesmerizing rhythm that propelled us into a meditative state.
In the Nityananda Temple, we heard many beautiful chants as well. One of the Brahmin priests, Prasad, has a particularly celestial voice. One morning, I entered the sound of his chanting, and was lifted to a beautiful place of adoration and devotion. I was especially taken by the nearly monotone Om Namo Bhagavate chant that came through the loudspeakers during a rest period of the abhishek. That same chant flowed through the streets during other parts of the day and evening.
Some of us chanted the Guru Gita at Gurudev Siddha Peeth, where Swamiji lived, served and sat at Baba’s feet. Their rendition of the Guru Gita has a similar but slightly different melody, sung in call and response with men singing one-half of each verse, the women the other half.
Chanting and the mantra are the powerful pathways to meditation, ways to stay close to God. Meditation gives us the Self. All the chanting took me right into meditation. When I looked around at the other yogis, often they would be deep in meditation. It was a beautiful sight. During the abhishek and the yajña, the chanting went on for long periods of time and it was impossible to sustain conscious awareness. I noticed people around me in ecstatic meditation and others immersed deep inside. The sheer magnitude of the chanting overpowered any resistance we might have had. Our minds became still in that river of Consciousness and there we were, right in ourSelves.
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