by Karan – http://spiritvoyage.net
In continuation of my interview with Snatam about her upcoming release, Liberation’s Door, she talked to me about an incredible experience she had in the studio while recording the vocals for the track Charan Sat Sat. In listening to Snatam speak, I realized the depth of devotion and meditation that she experiences with her music, and I am just beginning to understand why so many people are so deeply touched by her music – because it comes from such a pure place within her that is transmitted to you as you listen.
Karan: Can you tell me where the chant ‘Charan Sat Sat’ comes from?
The words are taken from Sukhmani Sahib which is a beautiful prayer written by Guru Arjan Dev. Guru Arjan was an amazing poet and teacher. He gave his life standing up for religious freedom during the reign of emperor Aurangzab by not bowing down to change his faith. He was tortured and killed for keeping his faith. I had always known this story and was inspired by it.
When I was recording this track, I was trying to get into a deep space so I could sing from the purest place possible. Each time I sang it, I would go deeper and deeper, trying to connect with the words but also trying to connect to the life growing in my womb so my baby’s soul could be there and present with it too, since she was a part of me and a part of the process of recording the music.
As I was chanting, I suddenly felt this shift in the space around me and had this experience of being taken to see what it was like for Guru Arjan when he was on his way to the Emperor’s Palace to face his death. I was literally transported to that place and time – I found myself as one of the disciples carrying Guru Arjan along the road to the palace, and I knew that we were all walking to our deaths. As I was experiencing that, I kept chanting and everyone with me was chanting. With each chant, we knew that victory was in the power of Guru Arjan’s sacred words. We knew that the prayer we were singing would live well beyond us. With each recitation, we chanted more powerfully because these words were our only defense. We felt carried forward in knowing that these words would ring through the planet through time and space for all to hear it.
Then suddenly, I realized I was not only marching towards my own death, but also the child in my womb. I became very emotional at that point feeling my child did not have a choice in the matter. Then I felt this soothing presence that I recognized as the soul of my child or some wise soul telling me that my child had already given herself to the guru and was making that choice for herself. It was a really emotional moment, but I kept singing through it.
It was a beautiful experience for me to tune into that time of Guru Arjan, because I have always known the stories, but that kind of intensity of what it must have been like to fearlessly go towards your death while having the strength of the sound current carry you there was really powerful. Guru Arjan’s mission was to bring forward the sound current as the teacher that we show our reverence to.
Karan: What did you take with you from that experience?
Snatam: I really felt how strong the words and the sacred sound current are – even more powerful than weapons or swords.
Listen to Charan Sat Sat
See the entire album: Liberation’s Door