Kathryn E. Livingston
Airdate: May 29, 2014
Kundalini Mantras Live is a fresh and uplifting new CD by Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda. Ramdesh welcomes these two extraordinary sacred chant artists. Tune in and join the spirit of community—you can chant along with the audience from their live performances.
Ananda has been involved with Kundalini yoga and mantra since 2005. He was introduced to the practice while at the University of Oregon. “I just knew it was for me, I loved the way it was presented, and the way I felt afterwards.” Soon, he started going to Summer Solstice in New Mexico and has been every year since 2008. Ananda and his partner Jaya Lakshmi, who follows the Bhakti tradition, decided they wanted to make a Kundalini mantra CD as an “exciting addition to our musical array.”
“Why do you chant mantra and lead kirtans?” Ramdesh asks her guests. “There’s so much beauty in bringing people together and chanting,” says Ananda. “It’s really profound what happens as a group when you chant.” They enjoy uplifting the vibration and seeing how mantra changes peoples’ lives.
There’s a line in Japji, which is the morning prayer of the Sikhs, that’s translated as “sing, listen, and let your mind be filled with love,” notes Ramdesh. For her, that’s the culmination of what she loves about chanting.
The first track you’ll hear is the Adi Mantra, “Ong Namo” with the Ong Namo Guru Deva variation which is used for personal practice and going deep into the power of the mantra to connect with your own higher self. Dive in and chant along!
Is there a mantra that particularly resonates with Jaya Lakshmi? She loves them all, and finds them soothing, but “Ra Ma Da Sa” is a standout; it evokes deep healing and creates peace. She also loves the version of “Mul Mantra” on the CD, which she could sing for hours. “It’s so trance-y and so expansive at the same time; it’s a really complex mantra energetically, so I love exploring the energy with that mantra and what happens within myself,” says Jaya Lakshmi. Pull those two out of your mantra toolkit, Ramdesh suggests, and see if they help you feel calm and relaxed.
“Ang Sung Wahe Guru” is the next track you’ll hear; the melody for this piece came through to Ananda. Jaya Lakshmi says she feels like every cell of her body is vibrating with the infinite ecstasy of God when she sings this mantra: “It’s glorious–a celebration and affirmation of how I feel God’s energy in me, activated and fully lit, radiating.” Listen in and you’ll experience the Divine—in form, and formless—all at once, says Ramdesh, “as a swirling sensation of fabulousness!”
Many Kundalini yoga mantras involve the sound current of Wahe Guru and Guru Ram Das. How do those outside of the Kundalini yoga tradition relate to these words? Wahe Guru is the Sikh name for God, but it’s more of a verb than a noun, Ramdesh explains. How does Jaya Lakshmi relate to it? “It’s a whole different experience than the Bhakti tradition,” she observes. Bhakti is so much about the heart and surrendering as you chant to Krishna. The Kundalini mantras help clear her mind; it’s a different approach. She feels an opening, clearing, and expansion as well as a peaceful grounding when she chants the Kundalini yoga mantras.
For Ananda, it’s all connected to the person, the melody and the channeling; sometimes the mantra is opening and expansive and sometimes it’s endearing. It can be playful, or profoundly felt from the depths of your soul. “It all depends,” he observes. It’s interesting to see how each artist interprets the mantras, Ananda notes. “Each brings a different mood and flavor.”
As homework, Ramdesh suggests chanting Wahe Guru: See if there’s a melody that works best for you. Copying is okay, and there are no wrong answers! Everyone gets an A plus (and PS you can pronounce it Wahe or Vahe, both are acceptable). Just sit with the mantra and see how it touches you. You’ll hear Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda’s “Wahe Guru” next.
What about the Guru Ram Das mantra? How do they relate to it? “It’s a channeling of heartfelt energy and healing,” Ananda says. “Guru Ram Das really carries the heart-chakra energies” and offers a profound place of connection to the heart and healing. Lakshmi says that on an energetic level, she feels that the Guru Ram Das chant is very sacred and potent.
Check out this incredible couple’s work on JayaLakshmiandAnanda.com. The show plays out to “By Your Grace, Guru Ram Das” from Kundalini Mantras Live. Tune into the grace of this beautiful mantra: Sing, listen, and let your heart be filled with love!