Chanters and teachers of Vedic recensions recognize Sāmaveda to be the most authentic and original source of vocalizations and voice training using sound partitions. The hymns of R̥gveda are known to be exquisite divine offerings through the Vāņī, or the essence of speech expressing devotional thoughts through the vocalization of intonated mantra. However, the essence of these hymns is the psalm rendering those Rik sounds into Sāman by way of intonated chanting and stylized singing. This singing of Sāman mantra is known as Sāma-gāna (singing of psalms). Sublime expression of the Sāma-gāna through vocalization is hailed as the highest virtue that is balancing the deep silence. Sublimation through Sāma chanting and singing has been recognized as a way to moxa or deliverance from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Sāmaveda Kauthumiya branch singing by school students at the Paramananda ashram in Prayagraj
Sāmaveda Rānāyaniya branch singing by school students at Vedanidhi, Varanasi
Sublime chanting and intonated singing of āranya-gānam from the Rānāyaniya branch of Sāmaveda by expert chanters at Vedanidhi, Varanasi
Invocation to Lord of space, Vishnu, with hand-mudra (hasta-swara) by expert chanter, Mani Jha
Yajurveda Mādhyandiniya branch chanting by school students at the Paramananda ashram in Prayagraj
Purusa-sukta chanting with hand-mudra (hasta-swara) by expert chanter, Mani Jha
This project is one of the most inspiring efforts to revive an esoteric, resonant and sublime branch of Vedic chanting recension known as the Rāṇāyaniya branch of Sāmaveda. This branch of intonated chanting and stylized singing is considered to be the sweetest among the Sāma-gāna (singing of psalms) still alive today. However, very few chanting lineages are able to survive today due to the paucity of resources. The degenerating infrastructure in India has resulted in broken lineages and as a result there is now a lack of ordained teachers who can transmit their chanting techniques through a sustainable lineage of successors. Most of the surviving lineages are in South India, especially in southern Karnataka and Kerala. There is a serious lack of understanding about the role and value of such extraordinary traditions. Hence both the divinity and validity of purpose have been trivialized.
Sublime chanting and intonated singing of āraṇya-gānaṃ from the Jaiminīya branch, Sāma Veda by Vedic chanters of south India
The Hansavedas Mission, and the Nonprofit, Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, is developing this curriculum (gurukulam) with the participation of accomplished Vaidikāchārya (ordained Vedic priests and pious chanters). The programme will be run inside the premises of Vedanidhi in Varanasi, India. Vedanidhi, also known by the name Vedic Heritage Research Foundation, is one of the sister institutions of our Nonprofit.
Vedanidhi’s facilities will provide a boarding school environment that is now considered necessary for the revival of a Sanskrit-based chanting lineage. The facility is currently able to house 10 students providing all aspects of a traditional supporting infrastructure needed for nurturing this chanting tradition back to life. The students will range from 8 to 10 years of age all the way into their late teens. Teachers of commensurate ability will be teaching for up to eight hours a day.
This project with its well-structured curriculum searches out chanters, maestros, savants and adepts who are capable of reproducing the ancient mystique of the Vedic times and pass on the chanting tradition to a new generation.
Drawing upon esoteric Sanskrit texts and manuscripts, our monastic council of highly realized Vedic monks are able to attract the best students for this noble endeavour. The monks oversee the authenticity of the manuscripts and study material as well as conduct interviews for the right positions and uphold the hallowed indigenous tradition.
This series of chanting publications designed to safeguard and revive the tradition will be based on this school curriculum, participating teachers and trained students. These publications will unfold one of the most original and authentic branches of sublime recitation from the old world treasures.
It is a rare opportunity for a spiritual aspirant to gain access to such meditative voice intonations of the ancient world. The tradition of intonated chanting, sublime recitation and stylized singing all combine to enthral a listener, a vocalist and those interested in meditating on the sound current. These intonated vocalizations have been the bedrock of the entire Vedic worship paradigm as well as esoteric verses and aphorisms used in various meditation practices.
What You Support
With your support we can sustain one of our best curricula of Self Enquiry Life Fellowship. As part of this programme, an esoteric chanting branch will get revived while supporting meritorious students in a boarding school environment. Publications on Sāma-gāna (singing of psalms) and sublime chanting of Sāman mantra will be made available through hansavedas.org as per the Vedic holistic curriculum. Funds are utilized for the search and hiring of Sanskrit teachers who are expert chanters of this particular branch or lineage, lodging and training of students in subjects apart from the chanting literature, recording studio rental fees, sound mixing fees, online hosting fees, procuring study material and chanting manuscripts for the students, and improving the accommodation facilities to house up to 20 students.