A Q&A with inspiring musicians Deva Premal & Miten
We sit down with inspiring musicians Deva Premal & Miten and discover their love for singing and chanting mantras.
How did singing and chanting all begin for you?
Miten: We met at Osho’s Ashram in India in 1990 while we were both there to learn his meditation techniques. Osho’s ashram was alive with the music of many different styles and cultures and this melting pot of styles and traditions inspired us to share our music and singing as a doorway to the celebration of meditation.
Deva had been brought up with mantras by her parents. She was given the Gayatri mantra at birth and chanted it as well as other mantras throughout her childhood. I was raised on rock, blues and the English 60’s London scene.
What gift does chanting give you? Give others?
Chanting offers inner peace; a feeling of being connected to gratitude.
What are mantras? How do they clean and heal?
Mantras are refined sound bites (hence their healing qualities) discovered thousands of years ago by the rishis (holy people) of ancient India who were conducting scientific explorations into how sound affects the body/mind organism. Mantras are sound medicine: healing sound formulas which are chanted as a way of experiencing ecstasy, silence, healing and awakening.
What has been one of your favourite chanting/event experiences?
Many! Chanting for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, chanting for Osho and chanting for inmates in prisons, especially our concert in San Quentin prison, San Francisco, USA.
Chanting for autistic children and adults at The Center for Discovery in Hurleyville, New York and chanting for homeless people at Chiz’ Heart Street, Kingston. We also love chanting with each other and chanting with our global audiences (our sangha).
What are your top tips for someone new to chanting?
In Zen, there is a beautiful phrase of the “beginner’s mind”. Chant with a childlike openness and see what happens. It’s an experiential activity, not an intellectual one.
In chanting, there is no goal and there is nothing that we need to perfect. Chanting is an in-the-moment activity that relieves us of stress and the burden of worry. It is a joyful experience. So, the most important to remember when chanting is to fully let go, not holding back because of ideas that “I can’t sing” or “I am not pronouncing this right”. The more you give yourself into it, the more you will receive.
Who is chanting for?
Everyone! Chanting is for the wild spirits and adventurers of life who have been out to the edge and have discovered the path to redemption is to relinquish all hope. All that is left is the bliss. Chanting mantras is said to be the Indian equivalent to singing the blues … it elevates the spirit.
To us, chanting mantras is a matter of life and death. Chanting has nothing to do with entertainment or performance Instead, it’s an honest in-the-moment activity that saves souls and brightens up the darkest night.
What’s next for Deva Premal & Miten?
Who knows! We just received our first Grammy nomination (for ‘DEVA’). We will be chanting the Gayatri mantra live in February for the first seven days of 2020. Last year, 100,000 kindred spirits joined us. Our 2020 tour schedule takes us to Australia, South America, Mexico, Russia and all through Europe. We have been chanting for 29 years and right now we have no plans to stop. Every day is a miracle!
For more information, visit DevaPremalMiten.com
For tickets to Deva Premal & Miten’s latest tour in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, visit http://bit.ly/2st3bZb.
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