Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vedanta Retreat in Rishikesh-The Magic of Chanting

Neema's teaching of Mundaka Upanishad began soon after breakfast and continued till lunch with a break in between. I will dwell on her teachings later!
The days were packed with activities and I think it is easier for me write about them first before I venture to write about our understanding of The Upanishad and The Bhagwad Gita!
Luckily for us Bharadwaj appeared at our class to hear Neema speak. He is from Brazil and has taken an Indian name. He was greatly influenced by his aunt, a well known Vedic Scholar in Brazil. She also learnt from Swami Dayanand Saraswati and runs a large ashram in Rio de Janeiro.
Neema, Surya and Bharadwaj had studied together at the ashram earlier and Neema spoke glowingly of his pursuits and his deep interest in learning, specially Vedic Chants and the Sanskrit language. We then heard him chant the prayers along with Neema and Surya, who customarily chant prayers before they start teaching.
Geeta was inspired by this and expressed a desire to learn chanting, 'I always wanted to learn!' she said. Bharadwaj was ready to teach and we found the time between the two sessions as ideal! I surprised myself by joining the class and probably opened my mouth to chant properly for the first time. I do not know why, I invariably sit quiet with my eyes closed when others chant.
As expected he was very systematic and we learnt about Gutturals, Palatals and other sounds. There were notations to be learnt. It surely must have helped David, Sharon and Toom. To be truthful we Indians were equally helped!

It was wonderful learning from him and I think we can now chant two Mantras fairly well. Hopefully we will pursue and learn more. I always loved to hear Vedic chants and as I have a teacher at home, I suppose I have no excuses left. But Tara is totally busy and may not have time to teach!

I recorded a few lessons on my cell phone and have added one of them here. His voice sounds better than what you hear in my video!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nidhi, I don't know how you do all this so methodically and so well. But most of all, I think we all have to take our hats off to you, that you write about each person individually, their talents, their pursuits, and what they contribute. How about someone paying a tribute to you and what a wonderful human being you are and how your quiet nature contributes so much to other people's lives. My hats off to you. I wish I could write like you. It truly comes from the hear.