The convention of Paraṃparā or ongoing transmission from teacher to student…

Guru Pūrṇimā

The convention of Paraṃparā or ongoing transmission from teacher to student
is especially honoured annually on this particular full moon day called Guru Pūrṇimā.

The chant below is from traditional prayers chanted at the beginning of any textual studies.
It honours ones teacher and their teacher and their teacher and so on in time memorial.

The recording below by TKV Desikachar I made within lessons over 30 years ago
and is offered as a downloadable MP3 along with a notated chant sheet.

gurubhyastad gurubhyaśca
To my teacher and all their teachers

namo vākamadhīmahe |
I salute through my words

vṛṇīmahe ca tad rādyau
Lauding and that first

dampatī jagatāṃ pati ‖
couple world Lord of

To my teacher and all their teachers
I salute through my words.
Lauding not only them, but the first
couple, Lord of the world.

– Śrī Gurubhyo Namaḥ –

View or Download Gurubhyastad Gurubhyaśca Opening Prayer PDF with notations

Listen or Download Gurubhyastad Gurubhyaśca Opening Prayer MP3 Sound File

This is why we recite Mantra to these two stars…..

mantra

“The moon,
whose rays are auspicious for the gathering of medicinal herbs,
is the god of herbs,
whilst the light of the sun gets to the bottom of all impurities.
This is why we recite Mantra to these two stars,
during the preparation of Āyurveda remedies.”
– T Krishnamacharya

It is not the number of hours in Meditation…..

dhyanam

“It is not the number of hours in Meditation,
the type of Ratio in Prāṇāyāma,
the number of times you turn the Mālā,
it is the intensity of the attempt.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 22

The Guru must judge how serious is the desire……

mantra

“The Guru must judge how serious is the desire and the faith
and then teach the Mantra that he considers most appropriate.
In any event,
he needs to know that it may be that there will be no positive result,
because a lot depends on the attitude of the student.”
T Krishnamacharya

Prārthanā Mantraḥ – Gaṇapati Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ with Translation and Recording

ganesa

Gaṇapati or Gaṇeśa is traditionally seen throughout India as
the ‘Remover of Obstacles’ and ‘Lord of Beginnings’.

He is honoured at the beginning of rituals and invoked as the patron of letters
(legend describes Gaṇeśa as the scribe who wrote the Mahābharata from the dictation of Vyāsa).

As such he can be viewed as the writer of ones destiny.

Taittirīya Saṃhitā 2. 3. 14
– Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ or Mūla Mantraḥ

oṃ gaṇānāṃ tvā gaṇapatigṃ havāmahe
kaviṃ kavīnāmupamaśravastamam |
jyeṣṭharājaṃ brahmaṇāṃ brahmaṇaspata
ānaśśvannūtibhissīda sādanam ||
śrī mahāgaṇapataye namaḥ ||

“We invoke thee, O leader of all the hosts.
The wisest of the wise.
The Sage of Sages with treasures beyond measure.
The King of Brilliance. The lead chanter of prayers.
Come with your blessings, listen to our prayers.
Have a seat in our sacred space.”

read more

Mahāmṛtyañjaya Mantra – Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ – with Translation

taittirīya saṃhitā V. 4. 12.
mahāmṛtyañjaya mantra – saṃhitā pāṭhaḥ

tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam |
urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyormukṣīya mā‘mṛtāt ||

“We worship the three-eyed Lord who is fragrant
and who nourishes and nurtures all beings.
Like the pumpkin I am bound.
Liberate me from death for immortality.”

Put simply:

“Śiva sever my pumpkin so I can be free after death.”

View or Download this post as a PDF
View or Download the Mṛtyañjaya Mantra in Romanised Saṃskṛta with notations and chant extensions
Listen or Download the Mṛtyañjaya Mantra as a sound file from my personal collection of recordings

Chanting Offering for Mahā Śiva Ratri

maha_siva_ratri

Six Verses on Nirvāṇa

They are said to have arisen as a spontaneous response to the question “Who Am I”
With the climax of each of the six verses:
Cit Ānanda Rūpaḥ Śiva Ahaṃ Śiva Ahaṃ
That Form of Pure Awareness and Bliss, I am Śiva, I am Śiva

From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Translation

Learning Support for Chanting Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaḥ

TKV_1999

सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु ।
मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत् ॥

sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ |
sarve santu nirāmayāḥ |
sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu |
mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet ‖

May all be happy
May all be free from illness
May all see what is auspicious
May no one suffer

Learning Support for Chanting Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaḥ
From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Devanāgari, Romanised Saṃskṛta and Translation

Kayena Vāca – Yoga Sūtra Chanting Closing Prayer with Translation

Yoga Sūtra Chanting Closing Prayer

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.

read more

Kayena Vāca – Veda Chanting Short Closing Prayer with Translation

Veda Chanting Short Closing Prayer

In this lineage this particular dedication is a vital part of the closing process within a chant practice or textual study context and was important to and constantly used by Krishnamacharya throughout his life.

He also taught it to those of his direct students who studied chanting or the chant practices inherent in the study of associated Yoga texts with him within a traditional learning setting.

It is also called a Sāttvika Tyāga. This relates to the concept of not giving up the action, just changing your relationship with your expectations around the fruits of the action. This Bhāvana is inherent in the meaning of the chant and is linked to the teachings around the surrender of the self.

Further reflections on Krishnamacharya’s teachings on the concept of Sāttvika Tyāga within the Bhagavad Gītā will be offered within a future post.

kāyena vācā manasendriyairvā
budhyātmanā vā prakṛteḥ svabhāvāt |

karomi yadyatsakalaṃ parasmai
nārāyaṇāyeti samarpayāmi ||

sarvaṃ śrī kṛṣṇārpaṇamastu ||

” My body, speech, mind, senses,
intellect, essence, or outer and inner tendencies,

All that I will do over and over,
to the supreme Nārāyaṇa I offer.”

“All to the esteemed Kṛṣṇa I consign,
let it be so.”

View or download this Chant and Translation as a PDF.
View or download this post Chant and Translation with chanting notations as a PDF.

Learning Support for Chanting the Durgā Gāyatrī

durga

Learning Support for Chanting the Durgā Gāyatrī
– From the Taittirīya Upaniṣad Chapter 4 verse 1 Sakha Gāyatrī
From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Notations

Learning Support for Chanting the Gaṇapati Prārthanā Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ


Learning Support for Chanting the Taittirīya Saṃhitā 2.3.14
– Gaṇapati Prārthanā Saṃhitā Pāṭhaḥ.
From my personal library of recordings from my studies
with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet in Romanised Saṃskṛta with Notations

The best time to introduce Mantra is while holding the breath.

seated_pranayama_2

“Holding the breath gives us a moment when there is nothing happening.
A moment when it should be possible to count.
In fact, the best time to introduce Mantra is not during inhalation or exhalation but while holding the breath.
It is said that a moment of holding the breath is a moment of Dhyāna.
Some Mantra are very long.
Since we do not have to concentrate on breathing while holding the breath,
these longer Mantra can be recited correctly.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 128-129

Bhakti is the mark of a certain unique relationship……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“Serious practitioners of Yoga from Vedic times to the present day
emphasise that a clear mind is a prerequisite for Bhakti and
that it is only through Bhakti that the true nature of the Jīva is revealed.
Bhakti, singe minded and abiding, is the mark of a certain unique relationship
characterised by unshakeable faith, absolute trust and boundless devotion.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

read more

Prārthanā Ślokam – Gurubhyastad Verse for all Teachers with Translation

Śrī Nāthamuni

The notion of Paraṃparā or ongoing transmission from teachers to students is typified by Śrī Nāthamuni, Yogi par excellence from the 9th Century. He was a forebear of Śrī Kṛṣṇamācarya and grandfather of Śrī Yāmunācārya, himself the author of the Stotra Ratnam and the Gītārtha Saṃgraha

read more

Śrī Kṛṣṇavāgīśa – A Prayer to Śrī Krishnamacharya with Translation

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

śrī kṛṣṇavāgīśa yatīśvarābhyām saṃprāpta cakrāṅkaṇa bhyāṣyasāram |

śrī nūtnaraṅgendra yatau samarpitsvam śrī kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamīḍe |

virodhe kārtike māse śatatārā kṛtodayam yogācāryaṃ kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamahaṃ bhaje ||

“I offer praise to one who is disciplined, Guru Śrī Krishnamacharya, whose great teachers were
Śrī Kṛṣṇa who taught him mantra and initiated him into Cakrāṅkaṇam
(the ritual of prostrating and receiving Śaṅkha, right side and Cakra left side, on the shoulders).
Śrī Vāgīśa who taught him the essence of Śrī Bhyāṣyam (Vedānta) and
Śrī Raṅganātha (Raṅgendra) who initiated him into Bharaṇyāsam
(to place at the Lord’s feet or how to surrender to God).
Born in the year Virodha, during the month of Kṛtika, under the star Śatatāra,
this teacher of Yoga, Guru Krishnamacharya I salute.”

The convention is to speak about the guruparamparā and not describe or or speak about the teacher’s contributions.

read more

Prāṇāyāma done, along with a Mantra, has a role to play in Yoga Cikitsā.

jalandhara_bandha

Prāṇāyāma done, along with a Mantra, has a role to play in Yoga Cikitsā.”
From T Krishnamacharya’s composition, the Yoga Rahasya

read more

Learning Support for Chanting Śrī Viṣṇu Sahasranāma Stotram v108 Vanamālī Gadī

vishnu
Learning Support for Chanting Vanamālī Gadī
– From the Śrī Viṣṇu Sahasranāma Stotram verse 108
From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar recorded by one of his senior chant students Sujaya Sridhar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Chant Notations

Learning Support for Chanting the Nirvāṇaṣaṭkam

Raja_Ravi_Varma_-_Sankaracharya

Six Verses on Nirvāṇa by Ādi Śaṅkara

They are said to have arisen as a spontaneous response to the question “Who Am I”

From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta

Translation below from Wikipedia:

read more

The word Mantra means something that we will ponder……

mantra

The word Mantra means something that we will ponder, that we will reflect upon.
That is, you go to a teacher,
they say something and I go back home and reflect upon that.

That is the essential feature of Mantra, to reflect upon again and again.
The purpose of Mantra is to help us cross a harbour, an obstacle.
That is why the definition of Mantra is:

 मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥
mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ ||
“Who reflects on this, will cross the obstacle”.

– Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

Nowadays, a large number of Yoga teachers offer Vedic chanting classes.

tkv_tk_1980

“Nowadays, a large number of Yoga teachers offer Vedic chanting classes.
Some have been studying and practising seriously and others have simply listened to a cassette.”
– Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

There is something mysterious about Vedic chanting……

Desikachar and Paul Chanting in 1999
“There is something mysterious about Vedic chanting.
It is so simple that even people who don’t know music at all can practice it.
Many people who have never sung in their life are interested in it.”
– Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

A Sūtra Class began with a dedication, it had the effect of orienting……

The original essence of the Yoga Sūtra was passed on by oral tradition. First you learn the rhythm of the  Sūtra. This was in Saṃskṛta, first learning the words or Sūtra, then the meanings. By learning to recite the Sūtra perfectly it was clear that you were earnest in wanting to learn their meanings.

The scheme would be to repeat it twice, in exactly the same tone used by the teacher. This would take many years. Thus these days its difficult to expect to understand the Sūtra from a book or a course.

read more