Just Keep Chanting – A Story of Faith, Hope, and Transformation

keep chanting

The other day I was in a class discussing the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā, a 15th century text on haṭha yoga. We were discussing various habits and attitudes seen both as obstacles and benefits to the state of yoga. This was a humbling discussion for me as I tend to participate in ALL the obstacles. Yet, I am also blessed with most of the ingredients seen as beneficial. That’s the way things go, I guess. Our teacher suggested that we need 2 points to find where we are now. Then we can plan a course for where we want to be.

The next morning, I woke remembering a story given to me almost 15 years ago. At the time I was just beginning of my chanting journey. I was struggling! 

The story continues to provide inspiration for me now, as it did then. I hope you enjoy it.

Just Keep Chanting

One day, a long time ago, the East Indian Deity Rama, sent his servant Lord Hanuman on an errand in the jungle to find something that had been lost. A good servant, Hanuman set out, landing in the middle of a dense and remote jungle on the subcontinent of India.

The Meditator

As he walked along, not really knowing what he was looking for, Hanuman came across an ascetic monk in deep meditation. The monk had obviously been sitting for a long time and had an ant pile had grown up around him. The monk appeared to be deeply absorbed, so much so, that he was unaware even of the ant pile.    

Curious, Hanuman approached. As he came closer, the monk became aware of his presence. Pausing in his meditations, he said, “Lord Hanuman, you bless me with your auspicious appearance. May I humbly ask a boon of a question?”

Just Keep Chanting

“I have been seeking liberation for many lives,” the monk continued. “Is it possible for you to say how many lives it will take for me to reach liberation and freedom from suffering?”

Hanuman stopped and looked inward. After a few moments he replied to the monk. “My dear friend, you are on a straight path to freedom. You have 3 more lives to live until to reach that which you seek.”

At this news, the monk became suddenly angry. “WHAT!” he exclaimed. “After all I have sacrificed, after all I have done! Three more lives, I can’t believe it. This is all just a farce.” Then he got up from his spot and stormed into the forest.

Lord Hanuman smiled to himself knowingly, as he proceeded on his journey in the forest. 

The Academic

After some time, Lord Hanuman can into a clearing. In the clearing he saw a quaint little cottage with a man sitting at a table near the entrance. The man was busy studying what looked like a scroll, and was surrounded by books, scrolls, papers, and the like. Engrossed as he was, Hanuman was almost upon him before he was noticed.

Just Keep Chanting

“Oh, Lord Hanuman,” the academic exclaimed. “You honor me with your visit.” The man got up, about to offer refreshment to the visiting lord and asked, “It is auspicious that you have come, may I ask a boon of a question?” “I have been on the path to liberation and self-knowledge for many life-times. How many lifetimes will it take to reach freedom from suffering?”

Lord Hanuman smiled and looked inwardly before replying. “Dear friend, I am happy to say you are on a trustworthy path to your goal. I foresee that you achieve that which you seek in 13 lifetimes.”

At this news, the academics face dropped, and a cloud of anger and discontentment came across his face as his body stiffened. “WHAT, 13 more lifetimes of THIS? After all I have done, all I have given. After all I have sacrificed?” The man then threw several of his precious scrolls into the fire, before stalking into the cottage and slamming the door.

Hanuman was bothered not at all as he continued his errand.

The Chanter

After some time in the forest, Lord Hanuman was drawn toward the sounds of a human voice. As he came closer, he saw a man, dressed in rags, dancing, and chanting around the trees. The man’s face lit with the inner light of ecstasy.

The man immediately saw Hanuman approach and paused in his chanting. “Lord Hanuman,” the man said. “I am but a humble man, and have no right to ask, yet I will be brave and ask a boon of a question. How many lives will it be before I reach liberation?”

At this Hanuman paused and shook his head. “It is possible for you to reach the goal of liberation, my friend. My inner knowing says that it will take many, many lifetimes. It may take you as many as 1300 or more lifetimes to become free from the suffering of your patterns.”

Chanting and Vedic Chanting

The man’s face lit, and he impulsively grasped Hanuman’s hands, then prostrated himself at Hanuman’s feet. “Oh, thank you, dear lord, thank you. There IS HOPE for me!” 

With that, the man returned to his chanting and dancing with renewed joy in his heart. And in that moment, the chanter achieved liberation from all suffering. He transcended his past patterns and attained kaivalyam, the ultimate state of yoga.

Hanuman smiled because he knew he had found what he was sent into the forest to find.

The end.

Bhu Suktam

Chanting is one of my favorite ways to practice yoga and connect with spirit. The link below is to one of my favorite chants.  (Like herbs I say that a lot.)

Bhu Suktam is a chant honoring the Divine Feminine in the form of the Earth Goddess Bhu.  A goddess synonymous with Mother Earth or Gaia.  Enjoy and Remember.  Just Keep Chanting!

Further Reading

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