[Advaita-l] chanting knowing the meaning whether necessary

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Thu May 29 07:29:01 CDT 2008

>Even though I agree that understanding the meaning helps in having a
>for "chanting", is it really possible in today's world? In my opinion,
>	chant regularly
>	understand the meaning whenever possible and
>	continue chanting
>If we say that "chanting without understanding" is a waste, then most
of us
>(including me and my kids) would stop. Instead, let us consider it as a
>step in right-direction and let us do more to understand the "meaning".

Dear Shri Mallik,

I think it is more possible in today's world than even
a couple of decades ago. It depends on what it is that
one is chanting. With the available online resources, the
meanings of Sanskrit Slokas are easy enough to obtain.
Mailing lists such as this are also good starting points
for asking for help. I'm sure many members of our list
can and will help gladly.

Vedic recitation may be a bit more difficult, depending
on the content. Sometimes the language can get very
archaic (Arsha) and even the dictionaries of Apte and
Monier-Williams will not be enough.

The case of bIjAkshara-s in mantra-s is still different. They
have no direct meaning, but they point to an entire range
of concepts, and serve as aids to fixing one's thoughts and
concentration on these concepts.

I don't think anyone would actively advise you to stop
reciting Slokas etc. if you don't understand the meanings.
Rather, it would be good to do both. Learning to recite
and developing an understanding of the content of the
recitation can happen as parallel processes.


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