It has been said the first sound to emerge from the Void was Om.
And since the emergence of the first sound, there has been an explosion of sound on planet earth – from the splash of rain on water, to the crackles of drying earth, to the buzzes, croaks, hisses, bleats, trills of the animal world to the cries of newborn human babies, to the endless noise of activity – natural and not so natural.
Sound effects our state of health, our psychology, our hearts. Some sounds have the capacity to turn our minds towards the Divine – like Gregorian and Buddhist chants and Vedic chanting from India.
Listening to the Vedas, India’s scriptures chanted out loud, produces a profound affect on the listener. The longest living oral tradition, Vedic chanting has continued in an unbroken line since the early Iron Age. Learning the Vedas requires many years of practice and study to correctly pronounce and tone each syllable, with the more advanced forms known by a small group who have spent years cultivating the exacting tradition.
During these days in Tiruvannamalai, South India, preceding the yearly lighting of a giant ghee soaked wick on the top of the Holy Mountain Arunachala on November 27, the Vedas are being chanted in different temple locations throughout the city. These sounds, first transmitted to the world through Rishis (highly evolved spiritual beings), have passed unchanged through a succession of mouths for generations. Sitting in a hall or courtyard, with a group of Brahmin priests and scholars chanting as one voice, the mind is drawn inward by the vibratory resonance of the Sanskrit mantras. As the chants rise and fall in a circle of sound, the mind becomes quiet.
In this quietude, no thoughts pass through the mind, no feelings arise in the heart – silence is “heard”.
And like the opening of lotus petals on a clear, still, pond – peace IS…