Sacred Sound – Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra & Kirtan
By Alanna Kaivalya, New World Library, 226 pages
The practice of Yoga is commonly
known to connect body, mind, and
soul. Alanna Kaivalya, the author,
links external Yoga to postures,
breathing, relaxation, and flexibility
in movement of our limbs, organs
and muscles. Internal Yoga is the individual’s spiritual connection with higher levels of energy. The chanting of mantras is a process of reciting rhythmic musical repetitive words that create a sense of an inner sacredness of soul and personal well-being. Mantras can be as simple as saying the word Om in one single breath, inhaling and exhaling. The spiritual practice of chanting and reciting mantras controls the quality of breathing and stabilizes the mind-body-soul communication. It also helps control our mundane thoughts and silence the chatter in our lives.
When mantras are chanted correctly and enthusiastically, the energy from within us flows without interruption to redirect and reunify all that is disturbing us. It enters our inner space by breaking all hindrances to create peace. The book describes twenty-one common mantras beginning with Om or Aum. Advice on how to pronounce and sing each mantra is given by Kaivalya. The last mantra in the book, the twenty-first mantra is about peace, “Om Shantihi Shantihi Shantihi” (Let there be peace, peace, peace, spoken or sung three times). Both these examples suggest “I am one with universal energy, I am at peace.” An interesting fact is that the Beatles had explored mantras and incorporated them into many of their songs, and mantras were a big part of
the Transcendental Meditation movement.
Kirtans are spiritual hymns with meanings ranging from atom to universe, from pure love to dedication of self to the higher energy of the universe. They produce a similar spiritual effect to mantras. Kirtans are rhythmically rhyming and resonating vibration energy that guide the spiritual practitioner to achieving conscious personal silence and meaningful meditation.
Sacred Sound provides a fascinating understanding into the practice of mantra and kirtan.