Back to Biography ...
Chanting the Holy Names
an article in Light of Consciousness Magazine

According to the ancient Vedas, sound is carried by ether and ether pervades everything. Sound can therefore directly act on the body and mind, thus having a beneficial or harmful effect according to the nature of its vibrations.

When saturated with heavy negative emotions and affirmations, sound has a destructive power. When bathed with altruistic emanations and real spiritual intentions, sound vibration is the supreme powerful healer. By freeing the subconscious from the toxic influence of pettiness, anger, resentment, fear, worries, anxiety and reductionism, by freeing the mind from the blockages born of poisonous apprehension and doubt, sound has the power to heal. The spiritual sound vibrations of the Names of God restore human being's dignity. The Holy Names release the human mind from restrictive weakness and envy. Toxic shame, jealousy, lack of self-esteem and greed in particular are real problems which are at the root of so many psychic conflicts and cellular disorders.

After more than 30 years of practice, chanting on beads, participating to congressional kirtan, doing bhajan, recording and giving Concerts of Holy Names around the world, I experienced everywhere more or less the same positive effects. The sound frequencies of the Divine Names enter the layers of the mind and replace the wrong belief that make us mortal and limited beings by the right scheme and psychic design, vibrant with divine potential. The resulting feeling of independence and autonomy can hardly be described herein. It's a feeling parallel to serenity that surpasses all the pleasures I know. As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter really whether scientific circles recognize this fact or not. Anyone may check out for him or herself these altered states of consciousness which show that human beings are absolutely “made in the image of God” and can therefore enjoy full independence.

Mantric assertion of the Holy Names

A mantra is a vibratory tool used to free the mind. In ancient Sanskrit, “mana” means the mind and “tatra” means liberation. Each mantra is linked by a specific correspondence to the potentialities buried deep within our consciousness. A mantra enables us to live and experience a psychic state that would otherwise be extremely difficult to create.

For the priest of ancient Egypt , to assert one's divinity was to name it, that is “vibrating” our own divine nature through a nominative or a nominal call. Furthermore, the Vedanta Sutra of antique India defines the living entity as being simultaneously qualitatively One and quantitatively different from God. We can conclude that to name the Absolute means to name one's own divine nature, one's own divine part. When we utter, or simply listen to the particular vibratory energies of the divine nominatives (the Holy Names), we link up with the Infinite and simultaneously awaken our own divine qualities.

Does God have a name? Experts in mysticism agree that the Absolute possesses billions of different names. At the same time, God is materially nameless and materially formless. God has infinite spiritual Names and infinite spiritual Forms and is realized according to our own God consciousness. Personal, impersonal, masculine, feminine, every aspect is transcendentally real for the human soul. Those Names and Forms are not an artificial imposition on the mind as psychologists may think. His or Her names are therefore never concerned by restrictive interferences. The Supreme Soul of the Universe is omniscient by definition and understands all human as well as non-human languages.

The initiation

Love, intention, motivation and compassion matter more than the definition of words. This is why there are no hard and fast rules in chanting the Holy Names. This is why Christ or Krishna , or Adonaï, or Radha (the Feminine and Compassionate Aspect of the Absolute), the name is the same. However, if we chant “bablula bablula” or anything created by our own phantasmagoria, nothing transcendental will happens. The Holy Names are a sound manifestation coming from the Spiritual Dimension. If we manufacture the sound ourselves, we will not be able to experience any wonderful spiritual emotions or any real change of heart.

We must also have some discrimination between the Names of God and the names of different demigods like Shiva, Tara, Laksmi, Saraswati etc. If we want to get money, we may turn to mother Laksmi, and if we want to be healthy, we may invoke the sun-god, Surya, or if we desire some name and fame, we can turn to some other demigods. That's all right. The results will certainly be there but it will last only for few years. Eventually everything we asked for will be washed away by the waves of time.

The result of chanting the Holy Names of God is quite different. The only effect is pure, unconditional, immortal divine love… This is why, traditionally, the prayer of the Names is linked to a genuine disciplic succession and is given through the process of initiation to the disciple by a pure devotee of the Lord, man or woman, who has no material desire whatsoever. This is not a cheap process. We must think about it when we sing some sacred mantra live on stage or when we record it on CD. We have to know the real target in the secret of our heart because the particular intention of the performer will deeply affect the listeners and in the long run the singer will be responsible for that related influence. If we keep some self-promoting mundane desires while chanting the Holy Names we must realize that our chanting is offensive. Sooner or later the severe consequences will manifest.

On the other hand, demigods are angels and great archangels and they are in the divine service, so we can chant their beautiful names in order to receive help from them. They are always ready to give us some help as long as our activities are in complete harmony with the divine plan. These things are part of our inner and private conversation with the Divine Mother.

A world of transcendence

The chanting of the Holy Names isn't a kind of ritualistic ceremony or an act of religiosity. It's the awakening of our divine soul in union with the Supreme Living Being. It's the song and dance of the soul and, as we said before, there are no rigid rules to follow to engage in this eternal pastime.

When one is initiated into traditional Vedic mantra, for example, there are certain rules that must be respected. One must, among other things, respect the exact pronunciation of letters and observed the accuracy of specific musical notes, know the length and strength of the pronounced sound, honor the musical quality and know how to use pauses. The posture of the chanter and the speed of the chanting is also of capital importance, the right breathing is fundamental etc. The chanting of traditional Vedic mantra must be correctly applied and the precise metric form of each sound formula should be respected so that the energy of the mantra is released. It's impossible to transpose or translate a Vedic mantra. If some unscrupulous singer does so, the sound structure ceases to be a mantra. Moreover, if the mantra is somehow chanted imperfectly, the sound waves can even bring the opposite effect of that which it's supposed to produce…

Fortunately enough, none of these precautions are required when one takes to the Holy Names. The Names of God may be chanted in any languages, whispered, hummed, silently repeated in one's heart, loudly shouted or recited in any possible fashion. The Holy Names are One with God. The Name and the Named are not different. The Names are even more merciful than the Named! They transcend everything and satisfy all the secret wishes of our eternal spirit soul.

Patrick Bernard (Prahlad das Ji)

Author of Music as Yoga,
Mandala Publishing, San Rafael , 2004

Atlantis Angelis
Solaris Universalis
Mantra Rock Project
Amor Immortalis
Image Voyage
Mantra Mandala
Atlantis Angelis II
Sublime Relaxation
Supreme Moment
Love Divine
Sonic Feng Shui
Chakra Celebration

Back to Biography ...