Friday, January 4, 2013


Verse 1.13: After that, the conchshells, drums, bugles, trumpets and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.

Sound. It surrounds us wherever we are. As I'm typing right now I'm becoming aware of the hum of the heater, the outside traffic passing by, a door closing behind me and the clacking of the keys as I press down on the keyboard.

It amazes me how "normally" I am so unobservant to the different sounds that surround me. I've become desensitized. For example, when I enter a mall, I don't really notice the music playing in the background unless it's a song I know or a genre of music that's not really to my taste.

In the tradition of bhakti, sound is the basis of everything. In the ancient Vedic text called Srimad Bhagavatam, it is stated that of the five elements, sound (ether) is the first to be created (SB. 2.5.25). The vedic texts also state how one can become freed from illusion through hearing transcendental sound vibration.

Sound can thus serve to liberate and to entrap, it can be positive or negative and have a great impact on our disposition. For serious bhakti practitioners, they channel this powerful impact of sound by chanting (i.e. calling out the transcendental names of Krsna) everyday. In this way a spiritual atmosphere can be created whether one is living in a city or in a cave in the Himalayas.

If you're like me, however, it can be a challenge to chant properly. Chanting is easy, the tricky part is hearing the mantra you are saying. Hearing involves paying attention to what we're actually saying and not getting distracted by the wily ways of the mind.

The actions and habits that we develop in our daily routine seep into our spiritual practice. If one performs their daily tasks with attention, it is often easier for such persons to naturally be attentive in their spiritual practice.

It's my realization for today. I need to pay more attention to what's going on around me. It will serve as practice for what really matters.

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