Nov 23, 2023

Expression of Bhakti through chanting

 When the outer world feels uncertain, the inner world starts to reflect the same if we aren't aware.

As I reflected, I realized that Bhakti (Devotion to the Supreme) is what has helped me since my childhood to process various uncertainties in my outer world - the sudden loss of my mother, financial struggles in the family, exam pressures during the 10th and 12th board exams to name a few.

To express that Bhakti, chanting had been my go-to way. I didn't know the meanings of the chants but I always enjoyed chanting and listening to them.

The various shlokas/stotras that my Paati (paternal) taught me,

The shlokas that my mom, aunt, and Paati (maternal) used to chant during Navaratri,

The summer classes where I learned a little bit of Vishnu Sahasranamam,

The neighbor aunty who taught me simple devotional songs,

The Sai Bhajans unconsciously learned when participating in Baba Pooja on Thursdays in a neighbor's home,

The Tamil devotional songs that I heard from nearby temples, especially during festive occasions, Aadi month, Ayyappa pandal in Nov/Dec, Margazhi mornings, etc

These were the inputs that went in, consciously or unconsciously during childhood. They have helped me stay positive and have given me mental strength. Paati had a book where there were prayers to be chanted for different occasions.

Before starting an exam, the book recommends chanting "buddhir balam yasho dhairyam" (Hanuman Shloka). To date, whenever I'm writing any exam, I chant this shloka and thanks to Hanuman ji, I have done well in most of the exams!🙂

Before swallowing a tablet/medicine, the shloka recommended was "abhaamarjadhu govindo". I hate swallowing tablets but this shloka helps me big time, especially during pregnancy when calcium and iron supplements (evlo periya maathirai !!! 😳) need to be taken daily.

In Oct, I was reading "Power of One Thought" and Sister BK Shivani mentioned how the current outer world has become so uncertain. I read that single page multiple times as it was an eye-opener. Around the same time, during Navaratri, I visited a neighbor's golu. After I sang a bhajan, one of my neighbors expressed her concern that the kids of today have little exposure to chants and shlokas. The same thought was running on my mind and as I heard the same from her, I decided to do something. So on a whim, I announced a chanting class for kids in my apartment.

4 kids have joined so far (in the age group of 5-9 years). Along with my daughter, I started the weekly class to share whatever I have learned so far. Short shlokas with repetition, meaning, and stories form the outline of each class. The kids have been super enthusiastic with their questions and active participation.

Paulo Coelho's quote - "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it" - proved true yet again! As I began the chanting class for kids, I came across "Nitya Prarthana", a 12-day chanting workshop conducted by Nirvana Academy. What a happy coincidence! I immediately signed up for it. 

It's been 6 days so far and I'm learning many new shlokas along with their right pronunciation and meaning. Most importantly, I finally understood some of the Sanskrit chanting rules related to anusvara and visarga.

Vijaya ji has been amazing with her clear instructions and beautiful explanations of each shloka. The knowledge sessions are interesting and valuable. She patiently answers all the questions of the participants.

I highly recommend this chanting workshop by the Nirvana Academy. If you or your children are interested, do keep an eye out for the next batch and sign up.

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