5 Dimensions of kirtan

Five Dimensions of Kirtan

Through our journey of sharing kirtans, we have consistently felt a joy, an ease, a happiness, and meditativeness in ourselves and in the friends we share kirtan with. We wanted to share this beautiful distillation by Sri Anish, a great appreciator of kirtans from all the different tradions, Sikh, Vaishnava, Lovers of Shiva, Sufi, and vedic chanting. We have opened this up as an exploration for us all to dive deeper into our journey with sound to the silence within…

Kirtan is more than just music. Its a journey to uncover the depths within… We’ve discovered that participating in kirtan has incredible effects on many different layers of our being…

Physical

Kirtan helps you to come to the present moment. As you start to participate in the process of kirtan singing and chanting, the body comes in harmony with the rhythm and a beautiful centering is experienced.

Cellular

This is deeper then the physical aspect, because kirtan is sound based, it is vibration. These soothing vibrations affect every cell of your body.

Since it is vibration, it’s affects goes beyond the participant; it affects everybody and everything around you. The positive vibrations of kirtans ripple out.

Emotional

From the physical, now we are entering into the heart. Through chanting the mind starts to become centered, each cell starts to vibrate at a higher frequency. This is when the door to the heart gets opened.

We start to get connected with the light & divinity within. It is at this dimension when the longing of the seeker for divine becomes purified and intense. This third aspect of kirtans is the dimension of Bhav.

Gratitude

By entering into this process, you start to realise that you are not everything in this existence; you are a subset of the whole. You start to recognize the whole as whole. You are part of it, hence you too are whole.

And you start to bow down to this wholeness of life. The gratitude starts to arise in your heart. The ego start to dissolve and you realize “Thy is everything”.

Silence

Once you have touched the door of gratitude, suddenly everything stops. You start to experience a deep silence which you experienced when you were in the womb of your mother.

It is an utmost relaxing silence, which each sentient being is longing for.  That’s the state from where you have come from. This is our innate nature, the absolute love & light filled silence. And this is the fifth dimension, the culmination of kirtans.


Sark Roots Festival

Sark Roots Festival

18th September 2018

We are fresh off the boat from the Sark Roots Festival which took place on a teeny tiny island on the English Channel and where the UK Saadho Sangha shared kirtan, mantra chanting and a set of specially composed English songs by our dear Daisy Bowman. Our crew consisted of Neil, Sonya, Daisy, Abhi, Matt and Mike.

The Island of Sark is unique in that there are no cars on the island. NO CARS!! And if it wasn’t for the music festival, the loudest noises would be that coming from nature itself. The air was clean, nature was thriving and the ocean was crystal clear blue.

No wonder that upon looking up at the night sky, the stars were so bright, and so voluminous that you felt that you were in a planetarium. I can’t remember seeing the Milky Way so clearly before, with its mysterious misty cloud like blanket wrapping around the stars, nor have I seen so many stars sprinkling the sky, a sure reminder of how tiny we are in this great big wondrous cosmos.

The music festival took place on a large field overlooking the ocean. It was a very pretty festival – beautifully draped teepees consisiting of a healing tent, an eco tent, a music tent, a food tent, a bar and outdoor seating with a games area.

Upon arriving at the music festival the organiser mentioned that there may be accommodation available for 2 people to stay with the King of Sark (his official title is the Seigneur of Sark but we like to call him the king!). Needless to say we jumped at the opportunity. When I say ‘we’, that means Daisy and Sonya.

 The boys stayed at the festival campsite. 

Daisy And sonya Greeting the
An earthy setting for our kirtan!
Arriving on the island of Sark!

At the music festival we played one set of English songs, and two kirtan sets. The English set (with songs written by Daisy ji) was on the main stage. The music was beautifully received and Daisy’s voice as we know can touch your heart in an instance. The feedback we received mostly was that we looked that we were a well gelled group, who love playing together. And this is what we felt too. Playing together in rhythm and harmony was a reflection of the sangha spending time together.

The kirtan was different again this time. Hardly any setting up, no formal beginning. Just a group of people singing our hearts out to the starry sky. People from all around the festival seemed magnetically drawn to sit with this group of seekers singing mantras in a different language and to a deep drum beat, many of whom had never heard of kirtan before. It really felt like a family sitting together. And speaking to each other after sharing such moments of togetherness, meant that we could talk straight from one heart to another and exchange blessings as well as email addresses. This always astounds me. The clicks of connection that take place when our heart is open.

What really touched us was how the festival was organised itself. A beautiful couple (Lazlo and Roz) pour their heart and soul into organising such an event each year to open up the island and share its beauty. This attracts volunteers from all over the world to give their time energy and devotion into making the festival what it is. We saw so many dedicated volunteers in the background keeping things ticking over; maintaining the toilets, cleaning the tents, cooking the most delicious food; running the bar and selling the tickets. Lazlo told us that the first year they ran the festival they made a profit. Last year they just about broke even. This year it looked like they were going to make a significant loss. The marquees they were allowed to use for free last year were sold to another company who charged £1,500 for their use. The music acts were also much more expensive. When met with this predicament, the people Sark donated money to allow the festival to take place. And a massive push to sell tickets meant that in the end the amount of tickets they needed to sell were sold.

To enjoy these moments with our sangha was icing on the cake. Shared experiences make for a deep web of connectedness. What I really noticed was how we took care of each other and supported each other not out of any trying, but naturally… and long may we continue to do so…every step of the way.


Reflections On Our European Tour

Reflections on our European Tour

24th August 2018

SAADHO SAADHO, HAR RAS SAADHO

O dear seeker
Let’s sing the name of our beloved

It has been a couple of weeks since our tour around Europe.  As we return to our daily lives it feels like a good time to reflect on our travels….

To recap, we took a whistle-stop tour from London to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium and Holland. In a big black band van driven by Neil, Sonya and Daisy in the ratio 4:2:1 (according to our smooth driving capabilities)! We shared kirtan pretty much every night at different venues, where we undertook a journey of sound and meditation.

What remains with me the most is the many people we met at every venue, who were so up for Kirtan and longing to touch that deeper space within. I can still remember faces as I write, those that had tears streaming down as they listened to the calling of the heart, those that had smiles on their faces as they sang to the divine, those with inquisitive eyes as their shared their questions and their fears and those who closed their eyes as they danced to the rhythm of the drum.  

To the guys that hosted us, each and every one opened their door simultaneously with their heart. Politeness went out the window, and what was left was a meeting of hearts from the first embrace.

There are many stories to tell and any of us would be happy to talk about it over a cup of chai. I am currently remembering our last stop with Kelly,  a Dutch girl with eyes that were so beautifully sharp her gaze could reach into the core your being. An established practitioner of yoga, she was living on her own whilst her partner was away on a year silent retreat. A number of months had already passed that she had been on her own. Then suddenly there were 5 friends, some of whom she hadn’t met before, descending on her place.  A big van parked on the street outside. A lot of chatter. And some inquisitive questions. And some deep silences. We shared kirtan at the yoga studio where she teaches yoga. She sang with such a subtle sweetness that our body shook with the vibration of the sound. And then the next day we went on a trip Amsterdam. Our friend couldn’t remember the last time she had been to Amsterdam (being an hour from her house) and wondered if she had ever been to the red light district! We tried some local beer, ate fries with Frites sauce, walked past the red like district (which of course was part of the experience of the city) and generally had a very ‘un-yogic’ day!. But, if yoga means union, then that is exactly what we experienced that day. A day of togetherness, of being in sangha, of being in communion with each other. Our friend’s eyes, brimmed with tears as we talked about the meaning of sangha, the LIVING of a spiritual life (and not just the undertaking of a strict practice that we call spiritual), and finding that child within us that can get lost in all the seriousness.  That day will stick in our memory for a long time.

And what did we learn? Well on a more practical level the following:

  • After travelling around in a van for 10 days, eating many snacks, (cheese, bread, spreads, olives, and other salty based fried snacks) we appreciate warm wholesome food!
  • Take paper towels to clean up any mess in the van, and maybe a travel hoover
  • When travelling in big van try and avoid full on breaking, driving over curbs or sudden turns otherwise known as ‘jhudkas’ – you will hear shrieks from behind as well as smell the spilt coffee/Orangina
  • Our favourite soft drink in Europe was Orangina and we recommend you try it – it is softer than Fanta and very refreshing on a hot day.
  • CLEAR COMMUNICATION WITHIN A GROUP IS KEY – don’t assume anything. Make sure it’s clear what needs to be done that day – How much time do we need to set up before we start playing? How long does it take to get to the venue? Will I need a change of clothes? How can we actually assist Neil rather than laughing at his supreme agitation??!!!! All this will help you avoid ending up in a puddle of sweat and red faced just as you are about to embark on a journey within with a beautiful group of people.

But more profoundly we found that mantra and sound will always draw our attention away from our mundane thoughts through its vibrational quality. And on hearing another’s expression of that longing for something deeper, we can’t help but feel it too. Like osmosis. And the symphony of each beautiful unique voice into the melting pot of kirtan can dissolve any feelings of separation.

Mostly we found that although the energy and group dynamics are different in each venue, the underlying connection was the same everywhere we went.  

People’s participation during the kirtans was pure poetry. An art in motion. And with that in our hearts we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet new friends from all over Europe. We’ll see each other again soon.  

We have some recordings from the Europe trip which we will share soon.

If you have any wonderings about what is sangha (community), a word we commonly use in our Saadho sharings, or your own experiences of sangha, then we would love to hear from you.

Love





























































































































Sound as Sadhana

Sound as Sadhana

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”  

-The Bible

The world is made up of sound, which is vibrations and sound is all around us even in our own body. Our rishis called it Nad.  When we weave the sound or when we are able to hear the sounds in a particular pattern, we call this music. We come from Nada and we are dissolved in it.

Every child is born with music in his being, when the child is in the womb, the sound of heart beat of mother is a constant rhythm that forms the basis of child’s musical journey on earth. And throughout our lives we are in constant search of that inner harmony through rhythm. For most of us, music is reduced to just entertainment, and we forgot the origin of it, the purpose of it and how in the ancient cultures it was even used for healing and ofcourse meditation. When the ragas were discovered, they were systematically played at a particular time of the day, to invoke a deeper sense of remembrance and vibrations within our system, because the knower of ragas realized that at each time of the day, based on the movement of sun & moon, a particular type of musical vibrations will affect on a specific centre of our body mind.

So, yes music is a deep sadhana in itself. It has the power to take us to much deeper levels of our own consciousness. It has the power to invoke deeper Bhavas (feelings) in us and as we go deeper in music, our senses start to loose their grip on us and soon the mind becomes quieter. This is the beginning of meditation in us. And with more intensity and practice, we are able to go further beyond this silence too and touch the shores of a space where the inner music of life starts to play. Some call it cosmic sound, some call it the sound of eternal Om and some call it Anahat Nad. Its not important that by which name we know this “unstruck sound” but to realize and experience it as the basis of life, is the whole play.

As great sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan says “The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the whole universe.”

I welcome you all lovingly on this musical pilgrimage of Saadho…