Airdate: October 26, 2017
At the time of this podcast recording it was nearly Halloween, and Ramdesh decided to focus on the period surrounding The Day of the Dead when the veil between the worlds is said to become very thin. There are many mantras that help us to connect with the departed, soothe our grief, and aid in the liberation of spirits that may have lost their way.
The main one you’ll hear today is “Akal,” which means “undying.” We use these mantras to clear grief, a natural emotion that happens to everyone who has the capacity to love, Ramdesh points out. Though yogis say that attachment can lead to suffering, it also comes from love, she notes. Mantra provides a healing balm for those on Earth and an elevating and uplifting balm for the departed. As we connect to grief and honor our ancestors, Ramdesh says, we recognize the common thread of love that exists throughout families. Recognizing that common thread — through DNA, through stories, and through love — is a powerful thing, she points out.
In the U.S. we may not often think about connecting with our ancestors, but in many cultures this is a common practice. Ramdesh shares that she loves to do genealogical research and to chant mantras for her ancestors in Ireland, England and Denmark, places she has visited. “I am electrified when I’m in those places,” she says. Ramdesh comes from a long line of strong women (no surprise here!) and she can sense the women standing beyond the veil whispering their support. As she plays mantras and songs for the recently and long departed Ramdesh suggests that we “honor everyone who has had anything to do with our one precious life.”
The first track you’ll hear is “Akal.” This mantra is chanted to liberate the soul of one who has passed, and to soothe grief. “If there ever was a Halloween chant it would be Akal,” Ramdesh observes. It’s not about ghosts, but about recognizing there are spirits that can use the benefit of our consciousness and the benefit of the sound current. This piece is by White Sun from White Sun II. As you listen begin to connect with the departed and feel the energetic effect of this mantra.
“Kal Akal” follows. The complete mantra is Kal Akal Siri Kal, Maha Akal, Akal Moorat, Wahe Guru. Kaal means death. Akaal means undying. Akaal Moorat is our pattern that exists beyond death. Wahe Guru is the mantra of ecstasy. “It’s like taking two polarities and exalting them both,” Ramdesh explains. It’s a mantra that provides a protective seal and allays the fear of death. This beautiful version is by Simrit from her album From the Ancient Storm.
“Just to Know You” from Heart of the Universe by Snatam Kaur and Peter Kater is up next. It contains a poem combined with Gurmukhi words about finding the treasure of bliss when remembering the name God. It can ease grief, helping to strengthen our abiding connection to the departed.
Also by Snatam Kaur from Kirtan Aid Live you will hear a live version of “Akal-Undying!” This piece emerged as she was honoring a friend who had passed; this moving version was created organically, arising from her heart in the midst of her grief. (You won’t be able to listen without shedding some tears.)
The last song included on this podcast to release grief and to honor our ancestors is “With You” from I Am Thine by Jai-Jagdeesh. Says Ramdesh, “While people may pass their spirits are always with us.” Listen, go within, and feel their presence.