dwij gallery of art Home The Forum Cerritomni dwij gallery of art Home The Forum Cerritomni
Ceremony & Ritual

© dwij 2001

Chanting The Chakras
The Roots of Awakening
Article 6: By Layne Redmond
Forum-Entry page dwij gallery of art Home The Forum Cerritomni

The setting sun rejoices when you put away all concerns and become absorbed in Nature's splendor, when you respect the sacred hour of prayer and let your heart sing its glory, when you begin to count your blessings and allow the sweetness of gratitude to spread through your being, when you let the world know that it is precious and you will endeavor to preserve its magnificence, when you refresh your resolution and smile at your destiny.

Then, when you are at one with your heart, the setting sun rejoices.


Chanting the Chakras - The Roots of Awakening

Many spiritual practices of India have been introduced to the West in the body of teachings known as Yoga. There are many Yogic techniques for developing concentration, meditation and ecstatic union with the divine. They include rhythmic breathing, rhythmic chanting of sacred sounds and the practice of physical postures that unify the mind and body psychologically and spiritually.

The study of the influence of rhythm and tuning on consciousness is known as Nada Yoga. This Yoga evolved from the concept that ultimate reality emanates from the primordial "first sound." This is the sound behind all sounds, the imperceptible vibration that gives rise to the universe. Our physical world is a materialized form of the different frequencies of this root vibrational energy. As human beings we are also emanations of this vibration and subject to the laws of sound.

The Nada, the universal pulse of life and creation, manifests within us as the sound of our own heart beating. From the oldest of times this primal beat has been represented by the sound of the drum.

Chanting sacred sounds to the rhythms of the drum is one of the oldest practices for transforming consciousness. Through rhythmic repetition of ritual sounds, the body, brain and the nervous system are energized and transformed. The sequence of sounds used are known as mantras and they are written in Sanskrit.

Sanskrit is the sacred, ritual language of Hinduism, like Latin was for Catholicism. It is an old thought that the Light of the Divine takes the form of sacred letters and then speaks through the power of holy words. This concept of the Divine Word has been used in all cultures throughout the ages.

The sounds of Sanskrit are said to spring from the cosmic drum of Shiva, the ancient, aboriginal god of India who drums and dances the world into being. These seed syllables are described as eternal, conscious, living sounds. They are the roots of the power of speech and express the structure of consciousness. Through the power of words and language we think, communicate and construct our reality.

Each letter or seed sound has its own transformative power and represents an elemental force of nature. The power of each sound affects the unconscious contents of the deepest levels of the mind. The strongest of our mental constructs is the false images we have of ourselves. The unfolding of the true inner self is always simultaneous with the disintegration of the illusory self. These sounds are thought to purify and lead one towards a reunion with the highest order of consciousness.

In human beings the primary centers of consciousness are located in the upper brain and along the cerebrospinal system, in the energy complexes of the Chakras. These are centers of subtle energies that affect the entire emotional, mental and physical body determining our personality and physical appearance. The vibrations of the chakras generate our emotional states which influence our behavior and determine our life patterns. Through purification practices the chakras can come into an overall rhythmic harmony with one another and the external world.

The chakras are connected by three main energy channels. The central channel is known as the Sushumna and travels through the spinal column. Two other channels interweave through the chakras from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. The left channel is named Ida, the carrier of feminine lunar energy. The right channel is named Pingala and carries masculine solar energy. These three channels are called Nadis. There are said to be at least 72,000 nadis within the mind/body complex but these three carry the most voltage

The chakras flower at the intersections of these three major passageways. They are represented visually by the lotus, the ancient symbol of the vulva of the Goddess—the gateway through which consciousness enters the world. The life vibration pulses out through these power points animating the mind and body. This creates a specific vibrational frequency at each chakra called the Bija Mantra. This is the sound of all the energies latent in the chakra. The number of petals of each chakra is determined by the number and position of the subtle nerve channels connecting to that chakra. Each petal is also represented by a seed sound and resonates a specific area of the body.

The Bija Mantra is also the sound of the elemental energy of the chakra. The first chakra Bija sound is Lang, the sound of earth. Vang is the sound of water at the second chakra. Rang is fire at the third chakra. Yang is air at the fourth chakra and Hang is the sound of space in the fifth chakra. Aum is the sound of light at the sixth Chakra. The seventh chakra is the realm of the purist and most subtle consciousness. The thousand petals of this lotus contain all fifty bija syllables of the sanskrit alphabet, manifested twenty times.

The old cultures of India also discovered the relationship of the sounds of the strokes on the drum to the elemental energies. A slap on the skin head is the sound of earth. A deep, open, ringing tone is the sound of water. A high pitched, sharp rim sound represents fire while a brushing sound is air. Space, the fifth element, functions as the medium for sounds to exist.

The Kundalini sleeps at the base chakra in the form of a powerful goddess. She is said to be the mother of the first pulsing, primordial sound. She is creation, existence and dissolution, the active power that gives birth to the universe. The goal of many yoga practices is to awaken this power within oneself.

When the energy of the Kundalini is aroused, it travels up the spine in a rush of fire, heat and light, opening the seven chakras. She rises from the first Chakra as the earth energy, dissolving into water energy as she enters the second chakra. Reaching the third chakra the water evaporates into fire. As she reaches the fourth, fire dissipates into air and at the fifth, air is absorbed into space. As she reaches the sixth chakra, space is absorbed into the realm of pure light. At the crown chakra she unites with the subtle source of all that is. When the Kundalini rises, the unconscious awakens into supreme consciousness, activating vast areas of the brain that normally lie dormant.

In Tantric meditation, the traditional chanting of mantras is enhanced with visual concentration on geometric forms called yantras—which means instrument to hold the mind's attention. The design of the chakra is considered a yantra. Chanting a mantra while focusing on a yantra is a traditional practice to awaken the Kundalini.

It is interesting to look at these ancient meditation practices from the perspective of the latest scientific research into the functioning of the brain. Using electroencephalographs, scientists can measure the number of energy waves per second pulsing through the brain.

Normal outwardly focused attention generates beta waves which vibrate from 14 to 40 cycles per second. When awareness shifts to an internal focus our brain slows down into the more rhythmical waves of alpha, vibrating at 7-14 waves per second. Alpha is defined by relaxation and centering. Dropping down to 4-7 cycles per second the brain enters the theta state in which there is an interfacing of conscious and unconscious processes, producing hypnogogic dream-like imagery at the threshold of sleep. Theta is the source of sudden mystical insights and creative solutions to complex situations. It is the realm where unusual physical and emotional healing can occur. People with a predominance of theta brainwaves are also able to learn and process much more information than normal. Yet without some form of intensive training it is hard to stay awake in theta—one slips quickly down into delta. This is the slowest brain wave frequency, 1-4 cycles per second, the state of unconsciousness or deep sleep.

The brain is divided into two hemispheres that control separate aspects of the thinking process. The right brain functions as the creative, holistic, visual, aural and emotional center. The left brain is the rational, logical, analytical and verbal administrator.

Normally the right or left brain dominates in cycles lasting from 30 minutes to 3 hours. While one hemisphere is dominant, the memories, skills, and information of the other hemisphere are far less available, residing in a subconscious realm.

Not only do the right and left brain operate in different modes, they also usually operate in different brain wave rhythms. The right brain may be generating alpha waves while the left brain is in a beta state. Or both can be generating the same type of brain waves, but remain out of sync with each other. But in states of intense creativity, deep meditation or under the influence of rhythmic sound, both hemispheres can become entrained to the same rhythm. This state of unified whole brain functioning is called hemispheric synchronization or the awakened mind.

As the two hemispheres begin to resonate to a single rhythm, a sense of clarity and heightened awareness arises. The individual is able to draw on both the left and the right hemispheres simultaneously. The mind becomes sharper, more lucid, synthesizing much more rapidly than normal. Emotions are easier to understand and transform. The conscious and unconscious levels of the mind interface and integrate more easily. Insight quickens and creative intuition flourishes, giving one the ability to visualize and bring into manifestation ideas with ease. An expanded, more complete and integrated state of consciousness comes into existence. Scientists believe that hemispheric synchronization may be the neurological basis of transcendent states of consciousness.

Research has shown that rhythmic music is one of the most effective ways to induce brain-wave synchronization. Musical comprehension is a joint function of left and right brains and rhythmic sound can drive the brain waves into alpha or theta states.

Many ancient religious practices seem to have originated in attempts to induce the transcendental experiences of hemispheric synchronization. Chanting rhythmically while gazing at geometric figures—like the tantric combination of mantra and yantra— simultaneously engages the verbal skills of the left brain and the visual skills of right brain. Traditional yogic practices for awakening the Kundalini and activating the chakras appear to be efficient techniques for entraining the right and left brains.

Awakened consciousness is boundlessly infinite and undefinable, transcending our metaphors for understanding it. Yet each of us is a manifestation of this ultimate consciousness and through cleansing and awakening practices this illuminated awareness can be gradually unfolded within ourselves.


The three pieces on the Chanting The Chakras harmonize the mind and body through drumming and chanting. Traditionally these meditations were practiced to rebalance the chakras leading to an expansion of consciousness and a clearer understanding of one's purpose in life.

1) The Garland of Letters. The seed syllable on each petal of each chakra is chanted, starting from the first chakra at the base of the spine and rising to the sixth chakra in the center of the head. Each sound vibrates a specific part of the body. Chant with an outward focus on the diagram of the chakra while also maintaining an inner awareness of the part of the body being resonated. The chanting is set to rhythms that emphasize the strokes on the drum that represent the elemental energy of each chakra.

A bell rings three times to signal the beginning of the chanting. Each seed syllable is held for 12 beats with the next four beats for breathing in. The practice opens with repetitions of the primordial syllable AUM. Then the seed syllables on the four petals of the first chakra are chanted. The sequence begins at the top of the chakra and moves in a clockwise direction. The first chakra is completed with three repetitions of the primary mantra for this chakra, Lang. The chanting continues in this same fashion through all the chakras, closing with the final repetitions of AUM. Chanting through the chakras with a focused concentration retunes and rebalances the entire mind/body complex.

2) Lotus of Light. Chanting the thousand seed syllables of the seventh Chakra, the Sahasrara. The thousand petals of the crown chakra are inscribed twenty times with the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. These syllables are chanted quickly on the pulse pulling all awareness and energy into the crown chakra.

3) Elements into Light. Chanting the Bija Mantras of the Six Chakras. Each of the first six chakras has a seed mantra or sound produced by the frequencies of that chakra. The essential nature of the chakra is expressed and balanced by this sound. The Bija Mantras are also the sound of the elemental energy associated with each chakra. Chanting Lang draws the earth energy up from the feet to the knees. Vang draws the water energy from the knees to the base of the spine. Rang draws the fire energy from the base of the spine to the heart. Yang draws the air energy from the heart to the center of the head. Hang draws the energy of space up from the center of the head to the crown of the head. Aum draws the light of the individual into the light of the Divine.

Layne Redmond

A recording of these practices is available on my CD, Roots of Awakening, Chanting The Chakras by Interworld Music. It will be rereleased in August of 2001 by Sounds True as Chanting The Chakras. It is available currently through:


Click the link below to support the work of our volunteer Internet publication:

Forum-Entry page
Editors note:

The Cerritomni segment promises to be exciting and informative as you are introduced to the Rituals and Ceremonies of many cultures as well as contemporary Rituals as designed, created and scored by those on a quest for an expression of spirit that is personally fulfilling, meaningful and enlightening.

This quest is often a long and multifaceted journey. We will endeavor to bring you articles that are of the highest quality and credibility and look forward to your suggestions and encouragement.

Click on Q&A to send your questions and comments to Cerritomni.

Click on Articles for additional essays.

Click on The Well to access our on-line store.
It will be opened shortly and feature art
and artifacts, CDs, books and workshops.

Click on Contact for general information or eMail:

 © dwij 2001
Articles Our store Contact Us Questions & Answers dwij galleryHomecerritomni dwij gallery of artHomeThe ForumCerritomni ArticlesOur storeContact UsQuestions & Answers Articles listOur storeContact UsQuestions & Answers ArticlesOur storeContact UsQuestions & Answers