Ananda Music began in 1964 when Donald Walters (also known as Swami Kriyananda) was inspired to introduce a new kind of music to the world: music that expresses spiritual aspiration and a desire for a more meaningful way of life. This music is, as its purpose suggests, quite simple, yet beautiful.
Ananda Music has been performed in many countries, and has inspired many thousands of people with a new and more uplifted view of life itself. In some ways, it transcends even the best classical music of our culture, for it offers transcendent meaning, instead of only describing a graceful way of life.
At first, Walters wrote only songs with lyrics. Then he realized that words are not needed to express deep meaning. Thus, he has written instrumental works also: a piano sonata; a string quartet; and other, similar works.
It’s generally understood that music can have a powerful effect on mood and energy. It’s less well known that positive and uplifting music can affect consciousness itself in positive and uplifting ways. Ananda Music singers and musicians are dedicated to raising awareness–not only of the general need for positive and uplifting music in our troubled world–but of a specific body of music that was composed for the exact purpose of raising energy, uplifting consciousness, and helping people. That music is Ananda Music.
Songs or chants are usually inspired through sentiment or passing interests. But a song which is born out of the depth of true devotion to God and which is continuously chanted, audibly or mentally, with ever-increasing deep devotion until response is consciously received from Him in the form of communion, ecstasy and boundless joy, is a spiritualized song.
Such songs like live marches produce the fire of God-contact whenever they are struck on the foundation-stone of devotion. Ordinary songs are like wet matches which do not produce any spark of God-contact.
Each of the Cosmic Chants in this book has been spiritualized, that is, each song has been sung aloud and mentally until it has found actual response from God. It is hoped that each reader will take these chants, not as ordinary music to please the ear or the emotions, but as soul-saturated chants to be used to produce the divine contact.
Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe, and music is a divine art, to be used not for pleasure but as a path to God-realization. Vibrations resulting from devotional singing lead to the contact of the Cosmic Vibration or the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. God is the Word or the Cosmic Vibration.
Singers of these songs who want the best results should chant them alone or with true devotees of God, with ever-increasing devotion and fervor. After the notes are leaned, one’s undivided attention should be given to repeating them with deeper and deeper devotion, striving to fully understand the meaning of the words in the chant, until one is immersed in the joy of singing. This joyous feeling is the first perception of God.
Words that are saturated with sincerity, conviction, faith and intuition are like highly explosive vibration bombs which have power to explode the rocks of difficulties and create the change desired.
The five states in chanting are: conscious chanting aloud, whisper chanting, mental chanting, subconscious chanting, superconscious chanting. Subconscious chanting becomes automatic, with internal consciousness only, when the mind automatically repeats a chant in the background of thought and activity.
Superconscious chanting is when the deep internal chanting vibrations are converted into realization and are established in the superconscious, subconscious, and conscious minds. Holding the attention unbrokenly on the real Cosmic Vibration, AUM, not on any imaginary sound, is the beginning of real superconscious chanting.
One of the Ten Commandments in the Bible is: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Whenever one repeats a chant or prayer absentmindedly, without complete attention on the Lord, one has taken the divine name in vain, that is, without result, without utilizing the omnipresent power of that name and without receiving God-contact.
To repeat the name of God while thinking of other things is vain, for He does not answer such parrot-prayers. To repeat a prayer or chant with ever-increasing understanding and devotion is taking the name of God not in vain, but effectively. The mechanical or thoughtless repetition of God’s name is what the prophets warned us against. To sing sacred songs or to pray mechanically or absentmindedly in church or anywhere is taking the name of God in vain.
One who repeats these Spiritualized Songs or Cosmic Chants with ever-increasing devotion will find a more direct way to contact God than by the repetition of songs which are the outcome of blind sentiment and not of God-communion. These chants properly repeated will bring God-communion and ecstatic joy, and through these the healing of body, mind and soul.
Each of these chants should be sung not once but many times, utilizing the cumulative power of repetition, until the singer feels a great joy break through the radio of his heart. When this joy is felt it is proof that God has answered the devotee, and that his devotion has been properly tuned and the broadcasting of his ardor in chants has been true and deep.
When these chants are repeated in solitude or in congregational singing, with great devotion, it will be found that the songs subconsciously repeat themselves in the background of the mind bringing great joy even when one is in the thick of the battle of activity.
Gradually the subconscious repetition will change into superconscious realization, bringing the actual perception of God. One must chant deeper and deeper until all chanting changes into subconscious and then superconscious chanting which brings one into the divine Presence.
Each devotee should set aside a regular time for singing these songs. Chant first aloud, then whisperingly, then mentally. A group, gathered together in the name of God, can take one of these chants, singing it together loudly, with piano or organ accompaniment, then more slowly, then singing in a whisper without any accompaniment, and finally mentally only. In this way deep God-perception can be reached singly or together.
The secret of meditation is singing to God, out loud or silently, to awaken devotion in the heart.
– Swami Kriyananda