This post follows on from yesterday’s post introducing the use of and intention within the practice of closing chants that follow the study of chanting, or the study of associated Yoga texts. Traditionally chant practice or textual study was also preceded with an invocatory passage to help forge a link between the chanters, what is about to be chanted and its purport, as well as setting a context for study.
Thus each area of study that the teacher and student were about to venture into was preceded by an appropriate Dhyānam Ślokam, or set of verses that specifically linked the chanters with that particular area of study or practice. Therefore the opening verses would differ according to whether the focus was Veda Chanting, the Upaniṣat, the Bhagavad Gītā, the Yoga Sūtra, etc.
Equally the same notion applies with regard to the point of focus in the dedication within the chants that accompanied the closing of a chanting or textual study session. This learning by the student and appropriate use of both opening invocation and closing ceremony formed an important part of my own training under Desikachar in the teachings of Krishnamacharya.
I feel this use of opening invocation and closing ceremony is a vital concept in the appreciation of the process involved in creating, or even replicating, an internal environment that is conducive to an experience of transmission. I also feel it is something that is being increasingly overlooked within the many modern teaching mediums being utilised in the Yoga student and teacher training world today.
Furthermore in the proliferation today of Modern Postural Yoga Dispensaries I increasingly observe the value and role of these invocatory practices in facilitating the inner environment necessary for a transmission of this process we call Yoga to take hold as something more than just a symptomatic practice for what ails us from the stress of day to day living.
For me, this creation of an appropriate internal environment is something much more than just focusing on the external environment, as if a Yoga lifestyle room design project, with a few Indiaphiliac pictures on the wall, or the obligatory iconic statue, or incense burning, perhaps to background ‘Yoga’ muzak. I am not saying that these aspects cannot have a role, just that ultimately they are only external Yoga accoutrements.
As a consequence I feel an important distinction between facilitating an internalised transmission of Yoga and the more externalised offering of information on Yoga is increasingly blurring at best, or maybe becoming lost at worst. This distinction the ancient traditions appreciated and facilitated through such practices as learning to use invocatory chants to induce a state of being conducive to transmission.
Though of course I also appreciate the cultural and psychological dimensions of embracing ‘stuff’ represented in such as these chants. As well as the personal learning inhibitions in say sounding as against posturing, or teaching contexts or learning expectations that can limit the teacher as well as the student, especially within such as the large class group activity, body based, wide interest, environmental dynamic that is so dominant in the West, and increasingly in the East, these days.
So, as with the direction of focus in opening chants varying according to the situation and topic involved, we are further developing yesterdays post by offering a variant below on the focus of the closing chant. In this case the example below is specifically related to the study and chanting of the Yoga Sūtra rather than yesterdays focus around Veda chanting.
kāyena vācā manasendriyairvā
budhyātmanā vā prakṛteḥ svabhāvāt |
karomi yadyatsakalaṃ parasmai
nāgarājāyeti samarpayāmi ||
sarvaṃ śrī nāgarājārpaṇamastu ||
” My body, speech, mind, senses,
intellect, essence, or outer and inner tendencies,
All that I will do over and over,
to the consummate Nāgarāja I offer.”
“All to the esteemed Nāgarāja I consign,
let it be so.”
View or download this Chant and Translation as a PDF.
View or download this Chant with chanting notations and Translation as a PDF.