“This moment is the door to the divine.”- Osho
Writing this blog entry at a time when I would normally be asleep, but at the moment, am resonating with accoustically induced ‘ananda’ . (Sanskrit for bliss…obviously one of my favorite states of being) I just returned from a kirtan/concert featuring the blended talents of Deva Premal, Miten and Manose at the beautiful Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA. Sonic sweetness emerged from this trio who have played and chanted together world wide for years. They are ‘on the road’ in support of their new CD called Password. The reason for this title comes through loud and clear when they lead the audience through the healing use of mantra. Deva expressed that “Mantras are passwords that transform the mundane into the sacred.” An exquisite chant called Narasimha is a prayer for protection and opened the concert. At one point in the evening, Deva encouraged us to consider that the spiritual and physical planes are not separate. We are invited to experience a spiritual practice all throughout the day, whether in our work, time with family and friends, or even doing the dishes. Mantra, they feel, is a link to that sense of the sublime even in the midst of the seemingly mundane. One mantra called Aham Prema is a call for divine love that wafted through the theater as powerfully as the scent of Nag Champa incense (my favorite to use at home). The enrapturing flute playing offered by Nepalese flautist Manose is nothing short of pure nectar.
One of the most moving parts of the concert/kirtan (I hesitate to refer to it as a performance, since it is call and response, audience participation) was the blending of two songs; one called Second Chance and the other Fly High. As he often does, Miten asked for the men to sing solo and then the women to follow. The men were a bit shy, so Miten asked them to take a stretch and stand and sing to the women. I found the tears flowing with deep appreciation for their sweet serenade. Then we stood with them and sang another part of the song and then were asked to make eye contact and sing to those around us. The feeling of Oneness was palpable. For that period, we were not separate entities with names and jobs and stressors. We were indeed merged with the waves of sound that enveloped us. Miten had prefaced the song by saying that he wrote Second Chance after a friend commented that religion is for people who fear hell and spirituality is for people who have been there.
I took note of a decorative element on the stage; an elegantly draped white piece of fabric that was hanging behind them against a black backdrop. As various hued lighting hit it, it appeared, at turns as porcelin, the inside of a seashell and a feather. That sense of grace carried through the music.
The evening closed with my favorite chant; likely since it was the first one I heard Deva perform years ago on Echoes, (WPXN 88.5 fm www.xpn.org ) called the Gayatri Mantra. It is one that Deva grew up hearing and singing and even before she was born, her father would sing it to her in utero. I was blessed to have crossed the threshold to the Divine and plan to remain in its dwelling place.