a little bit more info for your to get an idea of what to expect on the Varanasi trip:
Arrival is on the first day of spring which is not only auspicious but sees the beginning of many musical celebrations in Varanasi. we will have much to choose from. Due to these types of events I always refrain from giving a fixed itinerary as with all things India one has to be ready to shimmy and shift like the wind to keep up with impromptu events that cant be missed.
We will be staying at the Haifa Hotel in Assi which is a minute or so walk from Assi Ghat, on the Ganges, where they hold subah – e – banaras, an outdoor stage for daily early morning concerts after the 6am Aarti there.
I generally start by taking everyone to get appropriate attire as we will be visiting people who, although are familiar with the foreigners and their ways, will respond much better to those who are respectfully dressed and who pay attention to their cultural observances.
In this list of people will be renowned musicians living in the city, who I am close to and also a Vedic professor who I have been seeing for philosophical discussions.
We will meet them in their home where we will be able to hear their music and gain access to their traditional ways of living. The Vedic professor (and a few musicians) do not speak English but for the Vedic discussions and questions there will be myself and also the professor’s good friend who loves to take part in such discourses.
Of course there are the ghats and the holy men, and temples of high vibration which will be visited too. Some will be well known temples but there will be those off the beaten track that need a visit.
Lunch is arranged in a clean restaurant where they have always obliged my requests. They also have the best yoghurt in town with their own cattle right there next to the restaurant! Apple Pie to die for.
If you wish to come for longer I am happy to help with those arrangements. There is more of a formal blurb with full details such as arrival, costs, what’s included: www.heart-healing-india.com
I hope to show you a hidden side of this city, gems which hide but sparkle for those who go the extra mile to find them.
#varanasi #incredibleindia #spiritualtour #soundsadhana #gandharvayoga
I am so excited to announce that the next Varanasi Music and Spiritual Tour will be 21st – 28th Jan, one day long for the same price as our last tour. All the details are already up at www.heart-healing-india.com and I will soon have them on the events page. Meanwhile here is a little clip of a night scene on the ghats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Prhj_FCKZ8
The next Gayatri Mantra at my place will be special as my dear friend, Julia Ohrmann will be joining us and after accompanying us on flute while we sing the mantra she will then grace us with the sounds of her bansuri. This is a donation evening as always and will be followed by light food.
Please get in touch if you plan to join for full address etc.
Here is a little about Julia:
She is a flautist specialised in playing bansuri, a bamboo flute, used to improvise upon the beautiful themes of Hindustani music.
Classically trained from childhood in Germany, Julia went on to study musicology at Sorbonne University in Paris where she became influenced by, both its international and local world music and jazz scenes of the city.
Discovering magic of the sound of the bansuri, she became interested in the spiritual path of learning Indian music in India. Since then she has been studying bansuri under the guidance of her guru, the world renowned bansuri player Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia in India and at Codarts.
During all this time she has been performing in numerous musical projects, blending theatre, film, dance, world and Western classical and styles, in collaboration all over Europe and in India. She has been the first European woman touring besides her teacher P. H. Chaurasia in Europe and in India.
Besides holding a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the world music academy WMDC Rotterdam, she is state qualified to give music lessons to groups, children and adults, alike.
Julia Ohrmann is currently living in Rotterdam.
Weekend of 21st and 22nd October we will be using the sound sadhana as a warm up to prepare the body for the yoga. Sound penetrates matter and using the voice in this way you will be able to see how powerfully the body responds and becomes open just by the use of your own voice. The yoga we will be exploring will be the preparation for the dance.
August 16 Quick message to announce the next Gayatri in London W9 will be held on Saturday 9th September, 5:30pm with food after. Informal, with some food after. It’s by donation of any amount. Get in touch if you wish to join for full address etc.
July 20 Recently I went to Morocco to film the video for my latest song. Here is the finished item:
June 29 If any of you are wondering where the student page is, I have temporarily taken it off the site. I you wish to access it let me know and I will give you a code.
June 12 We had a great time with Dr Svoboda a few weeks ago. It becomes more and more apparent how sound is at the root of life, and therefore creation. It is good to hear over and over certain things so that hopefully, at some point universal truths become a natural outlook,and confirmed. Then we can use them with confidence as assistance to determine the most harmonious action in everyday life.
Also, I have a date for the next Sound Sadhana weekend : 15 & 16 July. That includes
Gayatri Mantra open to all on the Saturday 15th 5:30 onwards (by donation).
March 5 couple of new dates for the Gayatri Mantra in song. 25th at my place in London W9. For a token donation come and learn or revisit the Gayatri Mantra set in Raga and Tala. There will be some veggie food after so we will start early at 5.30PM. I will be doing the same Gayatri in Dublin at the Little Bird.
Here is a little intro into the Mantra and the Gayatri:
There are two levels of well being; the physical, and the mental. While the foods we take in address the first, it is through mantra that our mental, or psychological healing is taken care of. Mantra can be seen as a way of harmonising ourselves with the power of that which is higher than us. Mantra is seen to be a manifestation of the cosmic vibration and so it has the potency of cleansing our psychic environment.
The Gayatri mantra is dedicated to the Sun Deity, Savitri from the Rig Veda. It is held in high regard with citations in many important texts such as the Bhagavd Gita and some Upanishads.
Mantra is a form of meditation(dhyana). It is in the intention and attention of its repetition that the true power of mantra is released.
In India students recite this mantra in order to acquire all aspects of knowledge. It is used to enhance memory, and take away deprivation. It is said that by chanting this mantra the face will shine bright,the eyes will sparkle, intelligence and concentration will grow, anger will be silenced, and fulfilment is acquired.
This is a film about the great Shehnai player of India Ustad Bismillah Khan.
It shows not only a magical example of a Varanasi way of life but also how to move out of your own way for the higher music to play through you. Since the film has been sub titled there seems to be a piece which has been removed from the original where Ustad Ji shows the room in which he would practice but more importantly the accumulated energy that he could feel in that room which had accumulated from his hours of practise there.
The festival of Basant Panchami marks the first day of spring and is also celebrated as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati. It is considered as the beginning of life and the arrival of happiness. The story goes that Lord Brahma, looked down onto the universe he had created and was a little disappointed to see that everyone appeared to be very lonely. Having thought about this for a long while he took some water and sprinkled it into the air. From this water an angel, holding a harp, appeared from a tree. Lord Brahma asked the angel to play her harp so that the earth would not be silent. As a result the earth was filled with music and the angel blessed the people with voice. Since this time the angel became known as Goddess Saraswati, Goddess of Speech and Knowledge.
Happy Basant Panchami everyone, may the Goddess Saraswati bless us all with discernment and enlightened speech.
image by Aparna M (Sculpture on Bheemili)
And…at the end of this auspicious day of Saraswati Puja the early bird for Dr. Robert’s London weekend in May will close (see post below this one).
While the main theme is on Vac (pronounced Vaach) the goddess of speech and language, Dr. Svoboda will also be looking at Ayurvedic matters. Get in touch today to catch the early bird.
Jan 24 Not long left to catch Dr. Svoboda’s early bird at £160 for the May weekend. There will be singing and yoga for both body and mind.
Full details available here: Robert Svoboda 2017
Jan 1 Today is just another day, but because our calendar has this as the first of the year it has the power to perform miracles in our lives. Our psyche can view this as a new beginning if we need that to start a fresh. The ritual of the closing of the previous year makes this new year packed with potency which has the potential to give us a new beginning. The possibility to start a fresh, to forgive and let go of the past so that there is more space for that which is new to come in. Even though this is something that we would benefit from doing on a regular basis, at least we get to do it every year. So although it’s really just another day it has magic and power in it. Wishing everyone a happy 2017. Let your light shine bright and illuminate the path for all who walk near you, so they may also illuminate the path for those who walk near them, and so on.
Dec 20 Alex and I have finalised our dates for a Greek retreat of sound and yoga. Details will follow shortly but if you want to save the dates they are: 22nd to 28th March in Rhodes. It will be a nice way to kick start one’s being for the potential which Spring has to offer.
Dec 19 This is a great period for Christmas celebrating countries with many of us preparing to be with family and friends. It is also a great time to prepare for the new year, to contemplate and look back to see what is no longer assisting us in the cultivation of the Self. Be honest with yourself, spend time in looking at the things that help you shine your inner light. Cultivate those with motherly love and the other things which no longer help you will fall away by themselves.
Dec 9 New January dates are up on the events page. We have a Berlin weekend and a London weekend.
Dec 3 Hello December, thank you in advance for all the lovely days you will give us. I have written out a little of the commentary from the great music treatise the Sangeet Ratnakar (13th century) which explains how the use of music can be implemented for liberation, and enjoyment simultaneously with a small recording at the end of my friend and great musician, Ritesh Mishra, during his morning practise: http://gandharvayoga.com/music-as-enjoyment-and-liberation/
Nov 29 Good news, for me anyway. For those of you who don’t know, I like making my own raw chocolate for personal consumption. So I went to my local pot seller round the corner (Joules, he sells pots and flowers but there seems to be a lot of community happening in the background which I haven’t fully checked out yet), and gave him some chocolate to try and it got the thumbs up, so I am going to sell them there, which is Maida Hill Place (I think that’s what it’s called but I haven’t fully paid attention to the name yet).
Nov 28 Thanks for letting me know that lesson 5 was not clear. Full recording now up: http://gandharvayoga.com/student-page/
Nov 23 I have purposefully shortened the menu headings it was looking messy.
Nov 22 weekend in Berlin was a big reminder of how much I love teaching this music and exploring how Indian music was a tool to get closer to the Source of our Creation (sort of on the lines of Kashmiri Shaivism, to narrow it down a bit). We sang we reminisced and discovered a lot about a lot of things. Thanks Alexandra Kreis for putting it together.
Forgot to mention I got rid of the Student Page password so it’s now an open page.
Nov 8: I have removed the password for the student page. If you would like the answers to the lessons drop me an email with your answers and I will send you the correct ones.
Nov 8: Ok, I’ve done some updating and you can now book easily with online payments :) Please let me know if there are any glitches.
Nov 4: Student page now accessible with a couple of new things for you to listen to.
Nov 3: sorry about the student page not opening. Have contacted admin, so hopefully soon, as I’ve put up a piece with some listening work for you to get back to me on.