Temples were built as public charging sites, where people could charge themselves with an inner energy. People visited temples daily before they started their day, so that they could go about their lives with an enhanced sense of balance and depth.
Indian sacred music is much, much more that just adding a Sanskrit text to a melody and strum a guitar into it, mis-calling it 'kirtan' or mantra... this ancient Indian tradition is quite far from this childish misleading approach.
A lot of people, specialy in the spiritual scene, are claiming free services in the name of the sanskrit term 'sevā'... but it is a whole misunderstanding, a mis-usage of this term in a 'smart' or convenient way. One has to understand before using certain terms randomly picked from the Sanskrit wisdom.
Mantra is sound, a vibration, - and the correct vibration is created only when it is recited correctly, because it is a key which unlocks a higher dimension. The meaning is not as significant as reciting the mantra correctly. That’s why there is a lot of significance and importance given in India to study and learn Sanskrit (sometimes a lifetime) to be able to sing these devotional texts correctly.
Sanskrit is a powerful scientific language where the sound is connected to a form, to a certain energy. Mantras, being in Sanskrit, use the same science, therefore should be properly addressed and correctly pronounced to be the most effective and to honor the tradition.
It is a responsible job for a musician to sustain that piousness of the sacred text in his composition. No matter how different elements he uses in his music, that sacredness should remain untouched and in fact should enhance through the music, so that it can go deeper and do its work, so that it can serve the purpose for which the mantra was created.
I frequently get requests from people from different places around the world, who want to learn Indian music - maybe because they heard me in a concert or because they have my CDs or somebody's else- sometimes they would like to start singing lessons, sometimes harmonium, sometimes tabla. Which is nice - I love to teach, because through teaching I also go on learning each day something new.
But a little bit more difficult, is when I get proposals like, 'we want you to lead a 3 day intensive music workshop' in which...
Over the past decade or two, there has been a tremendous explosion in what has come to known as “world music.” Some of it encompasses a fusion of diverse cultural influences into an international musical melting pot, while others strive to maintain a strict devotion to a particular ethnicity or cultural lineage. The music of Manish Vyas (pronounced Mahn-ish Vi-us) on his latest release, "Atma Bhakti," is the latter. But whatever style of music Manish is involved in, it always flows from the deep well of his inner being.
Mantras have 2 key components: Meaning and Sound. For the mantra to be effective, great emphasis is put on both correct pronunciation and the level of concentration of the mind on the meaning of the word or words that are recited.
Mantra has a very specific definition and certain elements have to be present for a text to be called mantra. So not all texts from India are mantra: there is mantra, then there is a kirtan, then there is a bhajan, there are ‘pads’, ‘chopais’ ‘chalisas’ ’stutis’, ’stotras', then there are shabads. For something to be a mantra, it has very clear requisites, but one has to learn these from the right source to know the difference.