October 16, 2012

The impulse to chant the Gayatri mantra 2 weeks ago was just that — a strong sense that this was the correct practice for that evening. It was all about infusing ourselves with light as we move into the new fall season. As Gayatri is to Light, Navarna is to Truth. So it seemed only right to add Navarna to the mix. And now, as Navarna is to Truth, Laksmi/Dhumavati-Bija is to infinite possibility. So layering these three mantras over these three weeks strikes me as a triadic blessing invoked during this sacred (which really means powerful) time of year.

This week’s Chant: The Sublime Laksmi Murti & Dhumavati Bija mantras.

Here’s this week’s dharma talk, inspired by the Tarika-Dhumavati bija mantras. It also touches on the Mangalam and quotes these lines from the Katha Upanishad…

Beyond the senses are the objects,
Beyond the objects is the mind,
Beyond the mind, the intellect,
Beyond the intellect, the ātman,
Beyond the ātman, the non-manifest,
Beyond the non-manifest, the spirit,
Beyond the spirit, there is nothing.
This is the end, pure awareness.

The Mangalam Chant

For those who’ve been asking for a recording of the Mangalam, here it is, along with words to the chant and translation/commentary. So many people ask about developing a daily inner work practice. This is a beautiful chant to include. What better way to start (or end) your day than naming and blessing each and every aspect of creation!

Bhumi-Mangalam,  Udaka-Mangalam,  Agni-Mangalam, Vayu-Mangalam,  Gagana-Mangalam,  Surya-Mangalam,
Chandra-Mangalam,  Jagat-Mangalam,  Jiva-Mangalam, Deha-Mangalam,  Mano-Mangalam, Atma-Mangalam,

May there be peace in earth, water, fire, and air, the sun, moon, and planet, in all living beings, in body, mind and heart. May that peace be everywhere and in everyone.

Mangala is an adjective meaning auspicious, lucky, fortunate, etc. With the suffix “m,” it becomes a noun: auspiciousness, luck, etc. It is also related to the goddess Durga suggesting, “one whose touch brings ecstasy.”

September 26, 2011

We will return to Patanjali, I promise. For the time being though, we’re luxuriating in mantra practice inspired by the fall season. This cycle of practice/teachings constellates around a family of mantras beloved to long-time Monday Nighters: Gayatri, Navarna, and Tarika Bija. I’ll likely add a handful of others to the mix, but want to underline the potency and power of these three as catalysts for illuminating and strengthening the inner being (Gayatri and Navarna) and infusing that interior essence with majesty, generosity, and grace (Tarika Bija).

Here’s a sound clip from the Navarna class on 9/26. I tried using a microphone I thought would give a better recording. Unfortunately, the opposite happened. You’ll have to listen carefully to hear DanJ’s tabla. And while I was able to salvage the dharana I gave at the end of class, the volumeof my commentary is too low. So, that bit of dharma talk  remains only in the memories of those who were there. If you want to chant or listen to the Navarna mantra however, this clip will be just fine…

In closing, here are the excerpts from the Ramprasad poem I read at the end of class. This is from Lex Hixon’s book, Mother of the Universe, his ecstatic collection of Ramprasad’s poetry. This one’s on page 180:

Kali is naked reality.
She is the feminine principle, unifying wisdom.
This simpleminded lover of truth
calls her my mother, my mother,
because she is the inexhaustible affection
who never neglects her children….

This poet urges every human heart:
“If you wish to be liberated from oppression,
abandon whatever limits you cling to
and meditate on the limitless one
who wears limitation as a garland of heads
severed by her sword of nondual wisdom.”

For readers who’ve found this blog online and may not be familiar with the Navarna mantra or Goddess Kali, let me simply suggest you can think of Kali an an archetype of Truth–and think of the Navarna mantra as the lifeblood of that truth. So chanting this mantra nourishes, strengthens, and vitalizes your connection to, you guessed it, your innate sense of truth.