Culture

The Call of the Chants

I have heard Tibetan Buddhism chants a few times on tape and video, but at Dhankhar Monastery, I heard it live for the first time. And the chants drew me, just like Sanskrit chants do, as also Gregorian chants.

From childhood, I am habituated to reciting Sanskrit shlok, and singing bhajans in Hindi, Marathi and Bengali (within the limitations of my knowledge and skill of course). My experience is that chants and religious compositions of great antiquity (in any part of the world) are unparalleled as a musical mechanism to regulate breathing and blood flow. It is akin to deep meditation (different from trance and related states, and therefore related musical genres as well). Musical compositions thus modelled after mathematical patterns draw my attention immediately since their purpose is to focus the mind, body and soul towards a centre.

Since photography was not allowed inside the monastery, I endeavoured to record a small clip of the chants.

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