This is an ongoing US and global project to help enthusiasts, scholars, practitioners, and curious parties learn more about shamanic living in a contemporary culture. The space here is devoted to sharing info, experiences and opinions about all forms of shamanic expression covering shamanism's multiple permutations. Among subjects explored are traditions, techniques, insights, definitions, events, artists, authors, and creativity. You are invited to draw from your own experiences and contribute.

What is a SHAMAN?

MAYAN: "a technichian of the Holy, a lover of the Sacred." CELTIC: "Empower the people...by changing the way we think." MEXICAN APACHE: "Someone who has simply learned to give freely of themselves..." AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL: "...a teacher or healer, a wisdom keeper of knowledge... (who) takes people to a door and encourages them to enter." W. AFRICAN DIAGRA: "views every event in life within a spiritual context." HAWAIIAN: "...human bridges to the spiritual world and its laws and the material world and its trials..." QUECHUA INDIAN: "embodies all experience." AMAZON: "...willing to engage the forces of the Universe...in a beneficial end for self, people, and for life in general."

-- from Travelers, Magicians and Shamans (Danny Paradise)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Punnu Wasu and Indian Chant

 From my article about Punnu Wasu:

At an all-day workshop at the Yoga Barn, Bali , Punnu Wasu shared his extensive knowledge of Kirtan’s historic development, educated guests about related Hindu and Sikh devotional practices, shared stories behind the principal gods and goddesses honored, and discussed the benefits of chanting mantras in groups.  

‘Kirtan’ means ‘praise’ or ‘eulogy’, and is a traditional practice for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. It involves the chanting of powerful ancient ‘mantras’ (translated as ‘instruments of thought’), and has dramatically grown in world popularity since it was brought to the West in 1923, Punnu shared.

The typical Kirtan performance can involve theatrical storytelling, call and response song, and musical accompaniment. The aim is to create a state of “self-surrender,” to raise a participant’s level of awareness and connection to divine energy, Punnu said. “Our goal is to be highly elevated; we understand when we are fully awakened.”

Chanting hymns, clapping hands, closing the eyes, and repetition of mantras intently supports a Kirtan singer through mental concentration, alignment with breath and synching with rhythm, and this process can send a participant into a natural state of bliss.  “When the group is in synch, Kirtan is enhanced and the atmosphere becomes charged with spiritual energy,” said Punnu.

Punnu fondly recalled the unforgettable experience of chanting at the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar as an illustration of how centuries of non-stop devotional chant in one place can create a significant charge of positive sacred energy, “As you enter the Temple, you can feel the vibration is so great. Every cell in our body is vibrating—everything in theuniverse is nothing but sound.”

Repeatedly praising and invoking divine beings such as certain Hindu gods and goddesses enhances this vibration, according to Punnu. In these supercharged environments prayer, healing, initiation, and a stronger sense of self are more effectively developed and cultivated, he believes.  

Punnu closed the day by explaining the meaning and use of various mantras which are even today recited in the ancient language of Sanskrit. He also shared a few of his favorite hymns and mantras devoted to Hindu deities and shared the stories behind them.  

Punnu will be performing at the Yoga Barn in Ubud this Sunday, May 13th at 730 p.m.

“Every person has all the possibilities of becoming a Buddha. We are nothing but gods; the only thing is we have to deal with so many layers of beliefs, concepts, practices in front of us. The goal is spiritual ripening.” ~ Punnu Wasu  

About Punnu Wasu:
Musician, spiritual scholar and recording artist, Punnu Wasu has over 35 years of experience in the devotional chant traditions of Kirtan and Bhajans. Born in Hyderabad, India and a devout follower of the Sikh faith, Punnu has been a fixture at the BaliSpirit Festival and regularly performs Kirtan and Bhajans at The Yoga Barn with his beloved partner, Harmony. He led his first workshop in May, 2012.

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