“THE MAGIC OF GAYATRI”
Sublime. Resonant. Divine
By ABHA IYENGAR
I first received a copy of “The Magic Of Gayatri” for review, I thought
to myself, “Yet another rendition of the Gayatri Mantra in an already
filled-to-capacity market?” Nope -- I was pleasantly surprised.
First, the story of the creation of this musical CD album. It is just as fascinating as its author, Chandra-Shekar.
2006. A man of Indian origin is hiking in the Arizona Mountains, near
Tucson, US. The natural beauty of life surrounding him, and the
poignant memory of his wife who had died of cancer, just a year ago,
stir in him a desire to recite the Gayatri Mantra – a mantra he had
learned from his father, as a young boy in India. It was just chanting
as he had always done everyday; it brought him peace and took him to
his roots. Yet, he suddenly and shockingly realised that he was
reciting this ancient prayer, mechanically -- without comprehending its
true meaning and depth. It was a revelation – it set him thinking.
Thus was born “The Magic Of Gayatri,” a search to
touch the sacred divinity within the mantra – of a desire to share this
unique awakening of his own Self with others, looking for healing,
peace and a way to touching the Divine in us.
what makes this rendition unique is it instils in the listener a sense
of new hope, well-being and peace, like no other version.
CD [duration: 66 minutes] has seven tracks. The first welcomes the
listener to “The Magic of Gayatri” experience. This is followed by nine
repetitions of the Gayatri Mantra. This lead us to the history of the
mantra being explained in simple and understandable terms by
Chandra-Shekar.This is followed by the beautiful instrumental, “Ode to
Gayatri,” by Tomas Michaud on his guitar. The next track provides a
word-by-word interpretation of the mantra and its correct pronunciation
by the author. The following track has Chandra-Shekar again chanting
the Gayatri Mantra 54 times [this is traditionally done 108 times], in
his soft, deep and melodious voice, creating an atmosphere of serenity.
The last track completes the whole experience with an expression of
Chandra-Shekar has been extremely
knowledgeable in his selection of instruments and musicians. This is
what that enables him to reach his goal of creating a transcendent
version of the Gayatri Mantra that is healing and universally
Chandra-Shekar’s mellifluous timbre and
perfect pronunciation of the mantra are complemented wonderfully by
Michaud’s gentle guitar strokes and Bikram Rajkumar’s beautiful Bansuri
Technically speaking, the recording and
the mastering quality of the CD are outstanding and reach excellent
audiophile standards. The separation between the instruments is
excellent and each instrument is heard with silken smoothness and
clarity. The CD sounds are equally good, whether it is played on a boom
box, PC, or on a high-end stereo system.
recalled to this writer, in an interview, that when he started his
research for his CD, he had downloaded over 40 versions of the Gayatri
Mantra. He found the Western versions “mispronounced” and the Indian
versions too traditional. His goal was to create a rendition that had a
common, universal appeal.
CD sure has universally “common” appeal. Regardless of one’s belief
system, colour, caste, or creed, listening to the CD helps us to
achieve inner calmness and peace of mind. It also provides therapeutic
support. It works as a guide to our inner truths and realisation. While
listening, I felt like I was near the sea. It could have been anywhere
-- Goa, Greece, the Maldives, or Hawaii. All in my mind. It’d be yours,
Chandra-Shekar also told me that he was working with
cancer patients and had given them the CD to listen to during surgery.
Time-after-time, listeners have reported that their post-operative
recovery period was reduced and their fears had diminished
“The Magic Of Gayatri” has received excellent response in the US and Canada. Here are a brace of eulogies:
rendition of the Gayatri spoke to my heart and to my sub-conscious on a
vibrational level. Listening to the Gayatri helped me through my
surgery. In the past, I have had other surgeries, but this surgery was
the easiest one by far. When I woke up after five hours of anaesthesia,
I felt like I had been napping. I was amazed. My stay in the hospital
was supposed to be five-days-to-one-week; I was out in three. The
nurses called me their star patient. I give thanks to Chandra-Shekar
and the Gayatri Mantra for my rapid recovery, both physically and
emotionally. The Gayatri and I have become one, and as I still listen
to it everyday, I feel my heart beat in unison to the rhythm of his
-- Marlene Bracali, Novato, CA, US.
magic' wished this CD into my life. I listen to and chant the Gayatri
daily and I thank Chandra-Shekar for his soul-stirring chanting and
Tomas Michaud, for his oh, so sublime, musical accompaniment. I have
found deep joy in both listening and participating in the chant – and,
I find myself chanting with tears of joy running down my face. ‘The
Magic Of Gayatri' is a gift that feeds my soul, as a banquet feeds the
body. And, what an added delight to know that my purchase of the CD
assists the children at the Rakum School for the Blind [in Bangalore].”
-- Valerie Andrews, British Columbia, Canada.
“The Magic Of Gayatri”
Chandra-Shekar & Tomas Michaud
Starland Music, US 
Duration: 66 Minutes
Price: US$17.98 [CD]
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