For many years Sundarkand has been chanted in the ashram every full moon, and since February 2015 Sundarkand has been chanted daily each morning between 10.30 and 11.30 for positivity and well being. A small group of four residents have the duty to do the chanting and the duty is on rotation among the residents so that different people have the opportunity to chant.
In 2016 during my three-months stay in the ashram I was also given the opportunity to be part of the chanting groups. I could experience the positive effect on both the people who were chanting but also for everyone else and the environment. This year, in 2017, I have also been given the duty to chant Sundarkand in the ashram and I am writing this because I want to express my gratitude to God and Guru for giving me this opportunity. It has given me certain experiences and insights that I think may inspire you to either chant Sundarkand or play the recording wherever you are in the world for your own benefit and for the positivity and well being of those around you and the environment which is in great need of your help and support at the moment.
I always leave the chanting feeling happy, light, energized and charged with positivity. If there has been something in my mind that has been bothering me before the chanting it has completely disappeared. The chanting can vary greatly; sometimes it flows like a stream and there is no effort, it can go very fast but it is effortless and relaxed; sometimes you feel you have to make an effort and try to keep the rhythm and speed and keep everybody together, so there is a lot of effort and you feel a bit tense and tired afterwards. It is like the difference between sitting in a boat and flowing with the stream or rowing the boat.
I have thought about what makes the difference. The chanting flows when the whole group is completely in tune with each other, when no one is the leader or the follower, when everybody listens to each other and tuning voice, speed and rhythm with that of the others and when everyone is in tune and flows with the chanting itself. Sometimes it is the feeling of being like five horses moving together and some other force is holding the reins. Or like the birds moving together in the sky, carried by the force of the wind. It is a good lesson in surrendering to the force and power of the chanting.
It is also a good lesson to apply in your daily life. In life it is the same, when you are able to move together, tune in with each other, support and help each other, then the positive force emerges and you naturally become balanced, happy and relaxed without effort.
There is another lesson I have learnt from the chanting. I thought about the practice of SWAN; how we can use our strengths to overcome our weaknesses. This applies not only to ourselves but also to our interactions. While working together we can join our strengths to become stronger together and to help each other overcome weaknesses. In the chanting one person may have a good pronunciation but is not good at keeping the rhythm, another person doesn’t have good pronunciation but has a good sense of rhythm and keeping the pace, a third will have a strong voice – in becoming one we all add our strengths and learn from each other.
Sundarkand represents the victory of the higher mind and the positive forces over the lower and negative tendencies. The force of the chanting itself induces positivity and well being. You come out of the chanting with an empty mind and a heart filled with peace and happiness. You automatically connect with the positivity and beauty within you and within the people around you despite the differences you might have had or felt before.
It is all there: the perfection of Sri Rama, the purity of Sita, the strength of Hanuman, and the faith and surrender of Lakshmana. So simple and beautiful! Jaya Sri Rama!