Posted by: kaleidophonic | November 13, 2011

Chanting and Gong Baths (An Aquarian Age Celebration)

Hello, happy Sunday.

Today I thought I’d tell you all a little bit about this Kundalini celebration I attended out of curiosity and the promise of a “gong bath”. (!!)

Kundalini Yoga is a form of yoga that grew out of the Sikh tradition. For Kundalini practitioners, the date of November 11, 2011 has special meaning: it marks a transition from the Piscean Age into the Aquarian Age.

Now for some of you this maybe sounds vaguely familiar.

I’m not sure how much of all this I believe, but the ceremony itself was interesting. We sat in a spiral formation and began with some meditation before participating in a form of call-and-response chanting. This chanting involved each person chanting “Wahe Guru” (which we were told means “I am great”) and then all of us returning in chant “Wahe Guru”, acknowledging each individual’s greatness. It took a while to get all around the spiral, but it was neat to hear each different voice, some timid, some soft, some strong, some strident, chant alone then be joined by all.

After the spiral chant we formed a healing nexus, imagining green arcs of healing energy spreading from our palms, reaching up from the sides of our bodies. While we did this we chanted another mantra, “Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung”, which (according to a Kundalini website) is a healing mantra and can be translated as such:

Ra is the sun, Ma is the Moon, Da is the earth, and Sa is Infinity. Say is the totality of Infinity, and So Hung is “I am Thou”. “Ra Ma Da Sa” is the Earth Mantra. and “Sa Say So Hung” is the Ether Mantra.

After the healing chant the teacher pulled out a guitar and started jamming on another mantra, while some people got up to dance. The chanting and guitar was accompanied this time by two percussionists: one on tabla and one sitting on a box that emitted a deeper sound when struck. This “mantra jam” went on for quite a long while and I wasn’t too sure what was going on, but joined in with some creative hand-clapping of my own, just having fun with the rhythm and the buoyancy of the crowd.

After the jam fest finally wound down came the part I had been most anticipating: the gong bath.

My regular yoga studio ends each class with a gong bath of its own, where a symphonic gong is struck repeatedly during several minutes’ time. During this time we are resting on our backs and letting the sound waves crash over and reverberate through our bodies. But I never knew that the gong thing at the end of my regular class was also a “gong bath”, so the Kundalini gong bath didn’t seem like a particularly new or different experience for me, which was a bit of a let down.

The Aquarian Age celebration was an interesting experience, and I’m glad I went. Its always interesting for me to see how music, chant, and rhythm are used in mystical or spiritual ways. But it was all a bit too far out for me. I think I’ll stick with my regular yoga classes.

Om shanti shanti.

– KJ

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