“I believe that Veda to be the foundation of the Sanatan Dharma; I believe it to be the concealed divinity within Hinduism,—but a veil has to be drawn aside, a curtain has to be lifted. I believe it to be knowable and discoverable. I believe the future of India and the world to depend on its discovery and on its application, not to the renunciation of life, but to life in the world and among men.” — Sri Aurobindo (Essays Divine and Human, Vol. 12 [CWSA], P. 62).
As part of the celebration of Pondicherry Heritage Festival-2023, Sri Aurobindo Society organized a Workshop and Demonstration on Vedic Chanting: Intangible Culture, Tradition and Continuity at Matriniketan, Centre for Integral Yoga & Indian Culture, Union Territory of Puducherry on 10th Feb., 2023. Objective of this workshop was to focus on Vedic Chanting as Intangible Cultural Heritage and one of the world’s oldest surviving cultural traditions followed by an interactive session to understand and experience about Vedic chanting.
Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society briefed about the activities undertaken by AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society in the areas of Indian Art, Culture & Heritage. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Ashok Panda, Co-Convener, INTACH, Pondicherry Chapter informed about the significance of Pondicherry Heritage Festival and the important initiatives undertaken by many institutions for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Puducherry.
The workshop was facilitated by Kishor Kumar Tripathy. Highlighting the glorious history of the Vedas, he informed about the vision of Maharshi Aurobindo on the Vedas, including The Secret of the Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire and works on the Upanishads.
He informed about the two-fold application of the Vedic tradition, including Shastra & Prayoga. Aspects of Vedic chanting including, traditional, contemporary and living, oral tradition, inclusive nature, representative, community-based approach and international recognition were discussed. Significant aspects of the Vedas, including history, origin of the Mantras, textual structure and interpretation of the Mantras followed by different methods etc. were also discussed during the workshop through an interactive manner.
Second part of the workshop was focussed on chanting of the Mantras. Textual peculiarities of the Vedas, i.e. phonetics, morphology, sentence formation and the system of Vedic interpretation followed by different methods were discussed.
Specific demonstration was given to the participants to pronounce simple Vedic mantras from the Vedas and the Upanishads with Swaras (uddata, anudatta and svarita), Mudras (hand gestures), Chhandas (metre) and the associated gods and seers of the mantras.
As part of the workshop, students from the Vedashrama Gurukulam, Karuvadikuppam, Puducherry recited some of the Vedic Suktas, i.e. Shraddhasukta, Medha Sukta, Swastivachana and ShantiMantras. During the workshop, students from Bridges Learning Vidyalaya Higher Secondary School also recited the mantras. Secretary of Midan Trust, Shri Sushrut spoke about the research work conducted on Mantra Therapy and recited the laghunyasam.
The workshop was attended by approximately twenty-five participants from Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, USA, Canada and France.