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Doug & Hillary Willhite’s sacred Bhakti Yoga Kirtan songs are intended to be chanted with by the listener. Sing along to lighten your day, raise your vibration, and feel the joy emanate from the depths of your spiritual heart.
The Himalayas meet the Appalachians! Our music is a hybrid of east & west influences. Lyrics are sacred mantras from the ancient Bhakti Yoga tradition sung in a call & response format. Music is influenced by folk, folkrock & the blues. The singing of these mantras is powerful medicine for the spiritual heart. The music is the “syrup” which helps the medicine to go down.
These songs were performed and recorded by Doug in “live takes” playing acoustic guitar or harmonium while singing & playing percussion with his feet. He added bass & lead guitars in subsequent takes. His wife, Hillary, sang harmony and/or response vocals. Her voice was overdubbed to create a group chorus effect. A responsive chorus is a traditional aspect of Call & Response Kirtan. No computerized instruments, synthesizers or sequencers were used in these recordings. Recorded & mastered in a low-budget hobby studio. All Songs Copyright 2013 & 2014, Douglas R. Willhite, Hanuman Das Songs ~ (except for “Jaya Bhagavan”, lyric traditional, music by Krishna Das).
Songs in above player:
The following descriptions are merely the opinions of Doug & Hillary. We aren’t Sanskrit scholars. If you really want to know what these mantras mean we suggest that you chant them in a spirit of open-minded inquiry & experience their meaning firsthand. We think the mantras are simple; however, they may only be understood intuitively within the depths of an open & childlike heart.
Chanting is meant to help you evoke & release unique aspects of your own spirit or magnificent self. We are by no means suggesting that you join a group or a religion, follow a charismatic leader or guru, hold blind faith in ancient deities, or give away your personal autonomy & power.
However, we encourage daily spiritual practice. The regular chanting of these time-tested mantras (divine names) has been a keenly effective way of bringing more joy & focused intention into our lives. We think that the mantras will serve your magnificent potential as well as they have served countless others. Perhaps you may think of these Bhakti chants as yoga asanas (deep-centering stretches or exercises) for your mind, heart & soul.
MMM: VOL 1: SONG 1
Aum Gan Ganapatiye Namaha
Tradition teaches that chanting this powerful, sacred & ancient mantra removes any & all of the obstacles within your body, mind, heart & circumstances which prevent you from reaching your goals. It evokes your innate spiritual warrior. When you embark upon a new endeavor, it is wise & prudent to chant or evoke this divine name.
This is the ‘mul’ mantra (mul or muula means primordial matter; root cause, basis or foundation) of Lord Ganesha (also called Ganapati, Ganapathi, Vinayaka & Vigneshwar). The mantra was said to have first been mentioned in Ganapati Atharvarshisha, which was written by Atharva Rishi after he had Ganapati’s darshan. (“Darshan” means the blessing & vision offered by a holy being.)
There are quite a few ways to pronounce this mantra, especially the second word “gan”, which is often pronounced gam, gum or gung. Various authorities stress different pronunciations, however, the meaning is virtually the same: the devotee offers salutations to the Lord of the World or the Lord of the Troops.
“Gan” is a bija (beeja) mantra, meaning seed, source, germ, primary cause, mystical letter or syllable that forms the essential part of a mantra. A Bija Mantra is a “seed” from which realization grows, as a tree grows from a seed. Usually a single-syllable mantra is called “seed” because of its small size as a dot or point of sound. “Gan” means flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class of animate or inanimate beings, body of followers or attendants, troops or classes of lesser deities especially certain demi-gods considered as Shiva’s attendants such as the Âdityas, Visvas, Vasus, Tushitas, Âbhâsvaras, Anilas, Mahârâjikas, Sâdhyas & Rudras.
“Namah” means to salute or salutations.
“Om” or “Aum” (Omkara) is the sacred syllable which begins many Vedic mantras & represents the Supreme Creator. Considered sacred by both Brahmans & Buddhists alike, the sound of Om is said to contain a mystery which symbolizes the universe. Its full form is Aum: the Universal Brahman; sacred, primordial sound of the Universe; mystic sound of the Eternal; the primal sound or First Vibration from which all creation has emanated; the first manifestation of the unmanifested Absolute; a word of solemn affirmation & respectful assent (sometimes translated as “yes, verily, so be it” & in this sense compares with Amen). Also the unstruck, primeval sound, continuous bell-like inner resonance & the inner divine melody heard by Yogis.
Photo is of a murti (devotional statue) of Lord Ganesha. Tradition teaches that a consecrated murti is imbued with a deity’s spiritual essence.
MMM: VOL 1: SONG 2
Meaning: We meditate on the glory of the Almighty Creator of this universe who is worthy of our worship. May She illuminate our minds & lead us along a righteous path.
The Gayatri Mantra is one of the world’s oldest & most powerful mantras. Highly revered, it is based on a Vedic Sanskrit verse from a hymn of the Rigveda (3.62.10), attributed to the rishi (sage) Viśvāmitra. In the ancient Indian epic, The Ramayana, Rama & his brother, Lakshmana, faced the sun at sunrise & sunset & chanted this transcendent prayer. The Gayatri Mantra was exclusive to males in the Brahmin (priest) caste of India for many centuries. Modern Hindu reform movements spread the practice of the mantra to include women and all castes. Its use is now very widespread & available for your & everyone’s spiritual practice. Click here for a word-by-word analysis of the mantra’s inner meaning.
Photo of late Himalayan Bhakti Yoga master, saint, healer & sage, Sri Anandamayi Ma.
MMM: VOL 1: SONG 3
Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Rama
Ram Bolo Hanuman
The Bhakti Yoga tradition teaches that this chant, known as the “Taraka Tantra” (meaning that meditation on this mantra can take one across the ocean of rebirths when prefixed by OM or AUM & chanted 108 times or more) balances masculine & feminine energies, purifies the mind & heart, and absorbs awareness into union with Spirit, Soul or Higher Self.
In Sanskrit “Sri” stands for Shakti or Sita, the Divine Mother. “Ram or Rama” is the name of the Supreme Being. “Ra” symbolizes the fire that burns our karma. “Ma” represents water, which means the peace that passeth all understanding. ”Jai or Jaya” means glory or victory to the Spirit over the flesh. Paraphrased in part, from the book Ramayana at a Glance, by Sadguru Sant Keshavadas & Himalayan Heritage, Issue 53
“Bolo” means to chant, sing or pray from the depths of your heart. “Hanuman” is considered a powerful deity from an ancient race of monkey-people known as the Vanaras. Sri Lord Hanuman-ji was an exemplary devotee & servant of Rama & Sita, the supreme cosmic mates.
Photo is of a lifelike murti (devotional statue) of Sri Lord Hanuman-ji at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram, Taos, New Mexico. Tradition teaches that a consecrated murti is imbued with the deity’s spiritual essence.
MMM: VOL 1: SONG 4
Hara Hara Mahadeva Shambho
Om Namah Shivaya Nataraja Om
“Om Namah Shivaya” is a Sanskrit mantra designed by ancient & highly skilled Bhakti Yoga masters to create a powerful transformation in human consciousness. Tradition teaches that Shiva is the destroyer of ignorance, illusion & the darkness that stands in the way of perfect union with the Source of All Life. ”Hara, Mahadeva & Shivaya” are a few of Shiva’s divine names. “Shambho” means benevolent. “Nataraja” means Lord of the Cosmic Dance. ”OM or AUM” is the primordial sound vibration or cosmic YES. “Namah” means to bow & to honor.
Tradition says that when we repeat these divine names we evoke and give birth to the seeds of divinity that lay dormant within our psyches. Essentially the vibrations contained in the divine names & the One Spirit of God are one & the same ~ virtually indistinguishable; therefore, to repeatedly utter Shiva’s name is the act of expressing and being Shiva or the Spirit of God in action on earth.
Photo is an artist’s depiction of Lord Shiva. Om Namah Shivaya!
MMM: VOL 1: SONG 5
Hanuman Chalisa / Sita Rama
Photo of Gurudev Sri Neem Karoli Baba-ji, the late Himalayan Bhakti Yoga master, saint, sage & healer. Affectionately known by devotees (including Doug & Hillary) as “Maharaj-ji”. He said, “Every line of the Hanuman Chalisa is a maha-mantra (great mantra).”
It’s not necessary to ask Hanuman for anything for He is the knower of all hearts. Maharaj-ji would very often tell people to recite the Chalisa when they came and asked for blessings. Then when their prayers had been answered and they came to thank him, he would say, “I didn’t do anything. It was all Hanuman-ji’s grace.” Hanuman lives only to serve the God within us and to prepare us to live fully in the spirit. [from Krishna Das's website]
Lyrics traditional, by Tulsi Das:
Shree Guru charana saroja raja nija manu mukuru sudhari
Baranaun Raghubara bimala jasu jo daayaku phala chaari
Buddhi heena tanu jaanike sumiraun pawana kumaara
Bala budhi vidyaa dehu mohin harahu kalesa bikaara
Jaya Hanumaan gyaana guna saagara,
Jaya Kapeesha tihun loka ujaagara
Raama doota atulita bala dhaamaa,
Anjani putra Pawanasuta naamaa
Mahaabeera bikrama bajarangee,
Kumati niwaara sumati ke sangee
Kanchana barana biraaja subesaa,
Kaanana kundala kunchita kesaa
Haata bajra aura dwajaa biraajai,
Kaandhe moonja janeu saajai
Shankara suwana Kesaree nandana,
Teja prataapa mahaa jaga bandana
Bidyaawaana gunee ati chaatura,
Raama kaaja karibe ko aatura
Prabhu charitra sunibe ko rasiyaa,
Raama Lakhana Seetaa mana basiyaa
Sookshma roopa dhari Siyahin dikhaawaa,
Bikata roopa dhari Lankaa jaraawaa
Bheema roopa dhari asura sanghaare,
Raamachandra ke kaaja sanvaare
Laaya sajeevana Lakhana jiyaaye,
Shree Raghubeera harashi ura laaye
Raghupati keenhee bahuta baraaee,
tuma mama priya Bharatahi sama bhaaee
Sahasa badana tumharo jasa gaawain,
asa kahi Shreepati kanta lagaawain
Sanakaadika Brahmaadi muneesaa,
Naarada Saarada sahita Aheesaa
Yama Kubera digapaala jahaante,
kabi kobida kahi sake kahaante
Tuma upakaara Sugreevahin keenhaa,
Raama milaaya raaja pada deenhaa
Tumharo mantra Bibheeshana maanaa,
Lankeshwara bhaye saba jaga jaanaa
Yuga sahasra yojana para bhaanu,
leelyo taahi madhura phala jaanu
Prabhu mudrikaa meli mukha maaheen,
jaladhi laanghi gaye acharaja naaheen
Durgama kaaja jagata ke jete,
sugama anugraha tumhare tete
Raama duaare tuma rakhawaare,
hota na aagyaa binu paisaare
Saba sukha lahai tumhaaree sharanaa,
tuma rakshaka kaahu ko dara naa
Aapana teja samhaaro aapai,
teenon loka haanka ten kaanpai
Bhoota pisaacha nikata nahin aawai,
Mahaabeera jaba naama sunaawai
Naasai roga hare saba peeraa,
japata nirantara Hanumata beeraa
Sankata ten Hanumaana churaawai,
mana krama bachana dhyaana jo laawai
Saba para Raama tapaswee raajaa,
tina ke kaaja sakala tuma saajaa
Aura manorata jo koee laawai,
soee amita jeewana phala paawai
Chaaron juga parataapa tumhaaraa,
hai parasidha jagata ujiyaaraa
Saadhu santa ke tuma rakhawaare,
asura nikandana Raama dulaare
Ashta siddhi nau nidhi ke daataa,
asa bara deena Jaanakee Maataa
Raama rasaayana tumhare paasaa,
sadaa raho Raghupati ke daasaa
Tumhare bhajana Raama ko paawai,
janama janama ke dukha bisaraawai
Anta kaala Raghubara pura jaaee,
jahaan janama Hari bhakta kahaaee
Aura devataa chitta na dharaee,
Hanumata se-ee sarva sukha karaee
Sankata katai mite saba peeraa,
jo sumire Hanumata bala beeraa
Jai jai jai Hanumaana Gosaaee,
kripaa karahu gurudeva kee naaee
Jo sata baara paata kara koee,
chootahi bandi mahaa sukha hoee
Jo yaha parai Hanumaana chaaleesaa,
hoya siddhi saakhee Gaureesaa
Tulasee Daasa sadaa Hari cheraa,
keejai naata hridaya mahaan deraa
Pawanatanaya sankata harana mangala moorati roopa
Raama Lakhana Seetaa sahita hridaya basahu sura bhoopa