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I got the change to ask KD for some advice on how I go about leading a Kirtan. His response, “Start where you are.” Simple as that. So here I am, stepping into new, yet in some ways familiar territory. There are a few simple recordings of some of the mantras I have learned and regularly practice with. I hope you enjoy them as much as I love to sing the melodies.
“Start where you are.”- Krishna Das
* To help you learn to chant along, feel free to download this the words and translations of the mantras.
Chanted by both student and teacher alike, often at the beginning of a practice, where the intention of being guided through a smooth path of study together. The chant asks for each individual involved to participate in a journey of learning that is free of obstacles like poor memory, an inability to focus or concentrate, or the distractions of poor health and disease’. The mantra also includes a request that the student/teacher relationship be open, amicable and respectful of each other. This version is one I learned while living at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Neyyar Dam, India.
Om Saha Navatu Saha Nau Bhunaktu Saha Viryam Karava Vahai
Tejasvina Vadhita Mastu Ma Vidvisavahai
Om Shanti Shanti Shantih Om
Chanting this mantra at the beginning of practice, we invite the power of Grace, that which lives in the goodness in all of us, to always be present and to illuminate our path of transformation as we find ourselves in and at peace. The melody I’m singing here I learned from a recording by Manorama and Krishna Das from the album Invocation.
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
Niralambaya Tejase Om
While living and learning yoga at the ashram in south India, one of my teachers explained how this invocation has a similar effect on bringing vibrational harmony to the body, mind and spirit like tuning a musical instrument before playing it does. The mantra also calls upon all of the teachers who have come before us to bless us with the opportunity to live, learn and love in peace.
Gajananam Bhutaganadi Sevitam Kapittha Jambu Phala Sara Bhakshakam
Uma Sutam Shokavinasha Karanam Namami Vigneshvara Pada Pamkajam…
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Also called Om Tryambakam, I learned this mantra as part of my training while in India. It is said to ignite a fire within us that in turn consumes negativity and helps to purify our entire system. It is a mantra to conquer death (our spiritual death), although it has been chanted to ward off accidents and disease. It will also help us to see, and to connect to the light within. In short, this powerful mantra is said to bestow health, rejuvenate the body, support long life, bring about peace, wealth, prosperity and contentment.
Om Trayambakam Yajamahe
Mityor Mukshiya Mamritat
This opening mantra is chanted at the beginning of the Ashtanga practice. In chanting it, we salute the ancient and rich tradition of yoga as well as acknowledge the great teachings of the sage Patanjali.
Om Vande Gurunam Caranaravinde Sandarsita Svatma Sukhava Bodhe
Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane
Samsara Hala Hala Mohasantyai
Sahasra Sirasam Svetam
Pranamami Patanjalim Om
Ashtanga Closing Prayer
The Mangala mantra is chanted at the end of each Ashtanga practice with the vibrational intention of offering peace, prosperity and happiness to all beings. It is also a beautiful way to close your practice, sealing in the work you’ve done on the spiritual path.
Om Svastiprajabhyah Paripalayantam
Nyayena Margena Mahim Mahisah
Gobrahmanebhyah Subhamastu Nityam Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantih Om
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