Indiajiva is world renowned duo Ron Ragel and Vicki Hansen. Ron Ragel is a musician, producer, author, and educator. He has trained as a teacher of various ancient methodologies, disciplines and traditions. Vicki Hansen is an accomplished composer and musician who has several albums on national and international release, as well as numerous film, television and theatre soundtracks.
SACRED RAGAS is a spiritual journey from the heart of Australia to the kingdom of bliss or "sat chit ananda"
It is a journey that seeks to use music as the medium for connecting us with Divinity. To tune oneself to the harmony, beauty and joy of music is the real spiritual attainment.
The vehicle we have chosen for our journey is Indian classical music - (raga sangeet) which is one of the world's most dynamic musical systems and certainly one of the oldest the traditions, of which is seemingly without beginning. Whilst Indian classical music is always set in raga, all raga music is not necessarily classical .In our album of "SACRED RAGAS" we have chosen to experience the journey in a mood that is more contemporary and more attuned to our personalities and culture.
'Raga" is derived from the Sanskrit root "ranja", meaning to colour the mind and also to please. Technically speaking a raga is a sequence of notes or swaras. But there is a lot more to this, as there are many characteristics required to establish the many fine features of any particular raga.
As ragas were never codified but were transmitted orally from teacher to student, they tended to vary greatly across regions, traditions, styles and schools. The ragas, as we have performed them in "SACRED RAGAS" ,whilst established in tradition, have been inspired spontaneously in the recording of this album. They are an aesthetic projection of our inner spirit and a representation of our most profound sentiments and sensibilities. It is said that the ragas have no vitality or life force by itself and the musician themselves have to breathe life into them.
God Almighty, it is said ,inspired the great rishis who were a class of saintly beings from legendary times that were considered super human, living a pure life of meditation dedicated to wisdom and knowledge. They originated and developed theories in all branches of the arts and sciences and passed them on to their disciples. They passed on the knowledge that sound is God- Nada Brahma - and the musical experience is a journey to the realization of the self. The highest blessings of music were given to a chosen few as in it contained the knowledge of the workings of the universe. The laws of music are found to mirror the exact miniature of the laws working throughout the whole Universe.
In Indian classical music the mind and the body are seen as a whole where music is the link that brings about balance. This knowledge comes from the Vedas (books of sacred scriptures of Indian spirituality composed in Sanskrit}. The Vedas are four in number. The word Veda means knowledge and in it are contained the eternal truths revealed by God to man. The roots of Indian music come from the Vedic chants - in particular the Sam Veda. Different sounds and different sequences of notes produce specific frequencies that influence different cells of our bodies in varying proportions. Key notes in the raga and their relationships to each other can bring about a therapeutic effect and provide profound healing.
Human beings possess certain qualities . It is said that these qualities are housed in specific charkas. Chakra is a Sanskrit word for 'wheel' and the chakras are seen as spinning wheels of energy that emit specific frequencies. It is these qualities, relationships and frequencies that have defined the album of SACRED RAGAS
Each raga or composition also has a particular frequency and when the frequency of the combination of notes match the natural frequency of the chakra that chakra is activated. (Frequency is the measurement of the number of oscillations per second).
The words sung in the album are mainly derived from the Sanskrit language. We have discovered that when listening to words and music different to one's own, we have to keep an open mind and heart and thus platforms of communication are created, unlocking the keys of peace, joy, love and bliss. In Indian music the melody concentrates on one main mood or emotion in the particular raga exploring it, expanding and elaborating and then merging the musician and the listener in a hypnotic trance. These specific moods have been expressed throughout the album.
The different ragas mainly utilize the first part of the composition known as the alap or raag alapana, which is the non-rhythmic exposition or elaboration of the raga, slow and serene, like an invocation. This part of the raga or composition is given the highest place in Indian traditional music.
SACRED RAGAS - TRACK DESCRIPTION
Track 1 is a remix of the Lord's Prayer that was featured in our previous album Global Roots - the Odyssey. The Lords prayer is sung in the original language of Christ - Syrian Aramaic - and is an original interpretation of this classic.
Track 2 is a Vedic prayer sung in Sanskrit.
Track 3 - Joy
The journey through the spiritual centres begins at Track 3 which is based on Raag Bilawal, a morning raga that is influenced by the Australian landscape and features the didgeridoo. It relates to the base chakra. It represents the beginning of life and epitomizes the qualities of joy, wisdom, child like innocence, stability and foundation.
Track 4 is based on Raag yaman which has a light playful soothing quality. It is complemented by the African harp or kora. In the course of evolution man translated his need for shelter into an appreciation of his sense of aesthetics, his creativity evolved into abstract form where he could imagine, project and create an image. So the fundamental quality here is locating the pool of beauty where our creativity can be truly expressed.
Track 5- Dharma
Track 5 is a composition based on Raag Malkosh. It is a yearning for fulfilment, satisfaction, nourishment and the appreciation of living a dharmic life. (one filled with right actions) It relates to the solar plexus chakra where man feels his first need, hunger, and represents the evolutionary point when man's shelter became " a home" and the family became a source of satisfaction in itself rather than only a channel for reproduction.
Track 6- Soul
Track 6 has the quality of stimulating the heart urging it to open and emit its pure vibrational energy so we can experience the love and the joy of the spirit. The composition is based on raag bhairav and is supplemented by Indian percussion instruments.
Track 7- Brotherhood
Track 7 is a devotional song based on raag jajavanti. It corresponds to the throat chakra and represents the evolutionary time in humanity when the need for harmonious and collective living became important. It has the qualities of experiencing the brotherhood of humanity and the unity of the spirit with diplomacy.
Track 8- Mercy
Track 8 - raag bageshri was the basis of the composition here using the kyrie chant. The raga corresponds to the sixth chakra and represents the sixth stage of man's evolution. It has been influenced by the writings of C S Lewis, who tells an interesting story in his book, "The Great Divorce." A busload of ghosts is making an excursion from hell up to heaven with a view of remaining there permanently. They meet the citizens of heaven and one very big ghost from hell is astonished to find there a man, who on earth, had been tried and executed for murder.
"What I would like to know," he explodes, "is what are you doing here, you a murderer, while I a pillar of society, a self-respecting decent citizen am forced to walk the streets down there in smoke and fumes and must live in a place like a pigsty." His friend from heaven tries to explain that he has been forgiven, that both he and the man he had murdered have been reunited before the judgment seat of Christ. But the big ghost from hell replies, "I just can't buy that!" "My rights!" he keeps shouting, "I have got to have my rights the same as you!" "Oh no!" his friend from heaven keeps reassuring him, "It's not as bad as all that! You don't want your rights! Why, if I had gotten my rights, I would never be here. You'll not get your rights; you'll get something far better. You will get the mercy of God."
This is why we pray ,"Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy ' or" Kyrie eleison", Christe eleison". This prayer, uttered with faith, opens the way for us to enter the final destination with God's forgiveness and for the coming of His kingdom in our hearts.
Track 9 - Bliss
"Track 9 is the culmination of the journey and the basis of the composition is Raag Darbari. The music relates to the seventh chakra. All barriers of race, colour, beliefs and opinion fall away and are replaced by silence, joy and bliss beyond our wildest imagination, it is an experience of heaven on earth. It is a deep, meaningful and slow raag that features the sitar.........., the last part of the raga is a prayer to the Divine.
This dimension was described by Carl Jung as the "universal unconscious". Mahatma Gandhi termed it the "Divine radio".
The end point of the journey through the spiritual centres brings us into a meditative state of "thoughtless awareness" where we are completely spontaneous, drawing knowledge and awareness directly from the cosmic principles without the intellect getting in the way. Our human consciousness has the potential to tune into the infinite and enlightenment develops spontaneously. The great sages have sung the praises of this dimension and it has been described in the most poetic language as the union between the lover and the beloved. The Buddha called it the Void; it has also been termed Nirvana. In the Vedas it is called moksha and Christ called it the kingdom of heaven .
Track 10- Gayatri mantra
The album finishes with the Gayatri mantra, said to be one of the oldest and most powerful of all Sanskrit mantras.
"As the sun dispels darkness the gayatri mantra destroys ignorance energizing all earthly life and guides our intellect in the right direction".