Friday, June 3, 2011

sAmaveda - Let Us Begin

agna A yAhi vItaye / gRiNAno havyadAtaye / ni hotA satsi barhiShi / Mantra #1
Much has been written about the sAmaveda.
There are many books which you can study. You can ponder various translations. You can consult many experts with many varying points of view.
You can do all of this and not once come close to sAma.
sAmaveda is a bestowal of an activity upon our mortal nature-it is a collection of mantras that gives us something to do with our time, something of infinite worth. 
How to come close to sAma? You must do sAma.
How do you do sAma? 
You chant the syllables of the mantra. At first this activity is performed 'out loud' - and then as you make your voice softer and softer there comes a moment when you are whispering - and then, you begin to hear, after many repetitions, the mantra resounding within you. This begins the process of contemplation or meditation upon and within the mantra. This is your 'job' with sAmaveda -
Now, you have been wondering why I spell sAmaveda with that big A - that designates the pronunciation as a long vowel.
O.K. Let's look at mantra 1.
But first, what is a mantra? It is a device you choose to employ to free the mind from its shackles. It consists of any number of syllables-from one syllable to the vastest number you might imagine.
Beginning with mantra #1 agna A yAhi vItaye / gRiNAno havyadAtaye / ni hotA satsi barhiShi /
Note that it consists of 24 syllables / three lines of eight syllables each / How like the rhythm of Mozart. Each unit is taken in itself as a mantra. Long mantras contain shorter mantras. 
So, to be as simple as possible - Your first 'job' is to begin at the beginning. Take the mantra 'agna' - Close your eyes. Repeat it outloud. Softer. Softer. Softer. Now you will be hearing it within. Listen to it. Listen to it long and lovingly. That is all. Do this for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes...according to your appetite. You have begun the process. 
Then you go onto to the second mantra with this longer mantra #1 consisting of one syllable - A - (we would write that Ah!) - You have heard the mourning dove sing upon one note and never tire of the sound. That is your job with this second mantra A.
I require comments, engaging questions, responses, critiques, whatever form communication takes, in order to continue posting this material.
When you read this, please know that your response will be of the very greatest value to me.
agna A yAhi


  1. Dear Wayne,

    This is a priceless work of writing. I have to say that you are doing a great service by actually explaining - to novices and experts alike - the HOW and WHY of chanting the mantras.

    And you have a gift of making it simple - so, keep writing! Our souls need mantras (simple and complex) just like ag~Ni needs wood to sustain itself.


  2. Great piece of work. I liked your way of presenting the syllables. As we start yajnam with Agni-Tatva, it's not just the supreme fire energy that purifies but the power of rightly uttered mantra that elevates.

  3. This post made me feel lighter at once. I felt as though something which had been clamping down on my chest, and mind was lifted, even if momentarily. For longevity of that feeling of release I will try and practice the process you've described here. The Mantra is not a foreign concept to me, but I wonder...what does this one mean in English? I like knowing the logic behind even such a spiritual experience.

  4. Hi Wayne, Thank you for describing your steps, which I see as steps toward preparation for that journey we all must face. The one question is, will we be prepared when it comes? I've been trying to prepare for a very long time. When I chant inside now the effect is that I immediately feel connected with trees and any living things within sight. As if we are all breathing together. Which of course we are, it's the same air and all. Odd, that internal chanting can bring external connection, but then I do believe it is all connected and just a bit crazy to think anything is "individual". Thank you for sharing this deeply moving and instructive post.

  5. Lillian, Jennifer, mudman, (mud2mud LOL) and Ajoy - I am heartened to continue this work due to your comments. My hope is to be of some use. Your answering voices have indicated that this will prove to be the case.
    I am very grateful to you.

  6. Finally a chance to respond to your wonderful post, Wayne. Speaking as someone that hasn't a clue about any of this, I appreciate you taking the time to explain mantras in such a simple, clear way. The magic behind it, seems to me, to be similar to playing or listening to a slow movement of Beethoven or Mozart, in which the music literally causes time to stand still. And my, don't we all need that today, in our furiously face-paced world?

    This post, the mantra, and your words, Wayne, always have this same effect on me. So thank you. You are a gift to me!

    Please do keep writing. Time would cease to stand still for me if you didn't.

    With many thanks for you,

  7. Dear Erica-
    To have your words, these words from you, who have brought so many rich moments of music and scintillating thought into my life, is a treasure, and I thank you from my heart. My desire, my prayer actually, is to be of some use while I am here. Your comment is a gift of encouragement.
    Thank you.

  8. Brother Wayne, thank you for this. I have been chanting mantra for a few years. Well, for my whole life I guess now that I think about it, because I was saying the rosary since I could speak.

    Years ago I began to practice the Chenrezig sadhana of Tibetan Buddhism, and now, recently I have begun to cultivate a relationship with Ganesha and Shiva.

    I will take your wisdom into myself, thank you, you are a blessing to me.

    In love,


  9. Matt - You are very kind to communicate in this way. I am touched and blessed.
    Thank you.

  10. Wayne,
    I must echo the comments above, the explaination of the syllabols is great for a novice as myself. Have a basic understanding, but basic. This enhances the experience for me, as your explaination is pure poetry. Not to mention, couldn't have come at a better time.
    I find myself reaching for quiet more often and have forgotten those basic principals I've study yrs ago.
    I am very grateful for you putting this blog together, this is such a service your are providing- and your kindness and generousity are inspiring. I've bookmarked this page as I know I shall return to it often.
    Know your passion, instruction on Mozart- love how you link them together. Reaching people on this level is compelling Wayne.
    You are a master, mentor and I am honored to have shook the hand of the teacher.
    Makes this teaching, and others, somewhat personal. Thank you for pointing me here- now I can focus when I need to most. (::)

  11. Mike -
    Much appreciated of course, yet I cannot resist this word of warning - Do not extol anyone as a mentor - your mentor is within you - Yes we find good things in others, but I am just another like yourself who is attempting to listen to the universal sound current while inviting others to listen also.
    I admire your music. and your passionate devotion to it.

  12. How do you silence your mind, Wayne? That has always been my problem with any form of meditation!

  13. Bruce: I cannot say how another might silence the mind - I can only share what I have discovered - for years I attempted to "meditate" but always with instructions that involved the mind as manipulator (breathing, sitting in a certain way, thinking about what was being applied etc.) It was only when I received very specific instructions in a simple technique that I knew I had just for the first time experienced meditation. The technique involved no thought, no ideation, no conceptualiztion - just the installation of an app, as it were, into the mind - the replacement of all the buzzings by simply listening to two syllables which had no relationship to "the world" or to "meaning" and that did it - one had only to listen to these two syllables repeating themselves within in order to have all else disappear from the mind. Only two criteria were applied: is it easy and is it pleasant? This is the function of the mantra - to erase the buzzings, to silence the mind - to allow the deeper mind to emerge. There are many ways to meditation. I am attuned to sound, so mantra meditation was natural to me. Now I listen to the entire Agni section of the sAmaveda as my daily mantra - this took some doing, a lot of "work" as it were, but it is the single most valuable task I have ever performed in my life. It's benefits exceed any manipulative, conceptualizing, mentalizing techniques I have tried over the years.
    No exertion. No tension. No thought. No nothing. The mind becomes still. It is a revelatory process.
    I don't presume to instruct or impart, I simply know what works for me. That is all. The biggest hurdle, roadblock, whatever, is our penchant for the complex and refusal to accept that anything so simple could possibly be of value.