Sounds and Meanings     


In this article you will find some quotations about:
Effects of the Sounds

     Importance of the Meaning


Effects of the Sounds

“Even if you cannot chant the Vēdas, if you only listen to the sounds with devotion, they will elevate you to a higher level. Though the child does not know the meaning of the lullaby sung by the mother, it is induced to sleep hearing the tune. Similarly, listening to the chanting of the Vēdas with undivided attention, will give you immense benefits. The hymns of the Vēdas constitute the Cosmic sound (nāda bramhan) which is highly potent.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 18 October 1993


“Every syllable of the immortal Vēdas is a lighthouse guiding every aspirant on the royal path towards Self-realization. Imbibe these precious virtues and merge in that sublime eternal oneness.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Vedic Chants


“The outstanding feature of the Vēdas lies in the fact that the sound of the mantras, by itself, has a meaning apart from the words which are themselves full of meaning. The sound of the Vēda mantras activate our subtle energies. The sound also affects the atmosphere, resulting in individual and collective well-being of the world. Collective well-being does not refer to Humanity alone.”

Sri Chandraśhēkhara Sarasvatī of Kāñchī Kāmakōṭi Pīṭham


“The Vēdas come from certain fundamental sounds, and their variations. The slightest modification of the sound changes the meaning of what is said. No written language is able to represent all of the Vedic Sounds. It is impossible to write many of the words. The Vēdas are God’s breath and can be transmitted from person to person only by voice.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Conversation with Sai, by J. Hislop


Vēdas lift the individual to higher levels. The subtle effect of mantras mentioned in the Vēdas cannot be seen or heard by the senses. They have to be experienced in and through the inner consciousness. It is foolish to try to shape the world. Shape yourself as the embodiment of Peace, Love and Reverence. Then you will see all as Love, Compassion and Humility.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 21 March 1967


“The ks (mantras of the Vēdas) reach up to the highest reality, the luminous void, where all the gods are firmly established. If one does not know this, the mere recitation of the ks would serve no purpose. The ks abide in the Immutable, Supreme Ether where all gods are seated. The mantra is of no use to one who does not know this.”

Ṛg Vēda


“The sacredness of the Vēdas is such that even mere uttering of the mantras, without understanding their full meaning or merely listening to them, will have some sanctifying effects. The potency of the Divine vibrations from such mantras will confer unique blissful experience on the listeners.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 4 October 1989


“Sound is the very core of the Vēda. Sound is associated with harmony and melody and hence the Vēda has to be heard and ecstasy derived therefrom. It is not to be analysed, commented upon and judged. This is the reason why the Vēda is called Śhruti (that which is heard). Through listening alone to its recital, the awareness of the ātmā and of the Bliss it confers can be earned. The Bliss thus acquired manifests in words and deeds that confer bliss on all around.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Sathya Sai Vahini, Chap. 22


Vēdas embody the cosmic sound. It is not easy for laymen to understand the Vēdas. But whether they are understood or not, their Truth permeates the Universe. They embody the śhabda bramhan (Cosmic Sound). They are not confined to a particular place, time or person. They pervade the cosmos.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 23, Chap. 24


“The Vedic mantra has a Divine power, which interacts with the human power. When the mantra is chanted with proper intonation, the 65 Divine forces, that are latent in man, become manifest. The Divine force that emerges out of the human beings merges in the sounds (nāda) of the Cosmos and assumes the Form of the Universal Consciousness. This nāda is Vēda.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Vedic Chants


“No doubt, even listening to the recitation of the Vēdas is itself capable of purifying your mind. It is śhabda bramhan (Cosmic Sound). Sound is the first attribute of God. Śhabda bramhan is all-pervasive.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Inaugural Discourse in the Pūrṇachandra Auditorium

on 18-10-1993 at the Vēda Puruṣha Saptāḥa Jnāna Yajña


“The Sound of a mantra is as valuable as its meaning.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 3, p. 242


“The sound of the Vēdas is highly sacred. It is extolled as śhabda bramhamayi, charācharamayi, jyōtirmayi, vāṅgmayi, nityānandamayi, parātparāmayi, māyāmayi and śhrīmayi (embodiment of sound, mobility and immobility, light, speech, eternal bliss, perfection, delusion and wealth). It is compulsory for everyone to learn the Vēdas. If it is not possible, at least one should chant the Name of God. Whatever Vedic Mantras you learn, you should be able to chant them properly. Otherwise, you don’t need to learn them at all!”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 19 October 2004


Vēdas must be chanted with grandeur so that the sound can be properly heard. Vedic Mantras not only produce beneficial vibrations in the pulse of the one who chants them properly, but also similar vibrations in those who may hear them. Since it is spread in the atmosphere, it ensures well-being here and hereafter... The outstanding feature of the Vēdas lies in the fact that the sound of the Mantras by itself when chanted has a meaning, apart from the words themselves, which too are pregnant with significance.”

Sri Chandraśhēkhara Sarasvatī of Kāñchī Kāmakōṭi Pīṭham


“Devotees who go to a temple ring the bell. The general belief is that it is intended to attract the attention of the Deity. Does it mean that God is asleep and you have to awaken Him by ringing the bell? God is always awake and is listening to the prayers of everyone. It is just like a visiting card which you present to any important person whom you want to meet any favour or help. Ringing the bell is only to draw the attention of the Lord towards you. The sound of the Vēda is also like ringing the temple bell.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 18 October 1993


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Importance of the Meaning

“Mere chanting of the mantras without knowing their meaning is like a horse carrying a load of sandalwood pieces on its back without experiencing their fragrance. Today, like that horse, we are carrying the load of the mantras without experiencing the fragrance of their meaning. If we are able to know the meaning, we will be able to visualize the form behind the particular mantra. One has to chant the Vēdas mantras at least by knowing a little of their meaning.

Chanting with focus on the meaning, thus, calms and clears the mind and actually rejuvenates it. You might notice that sometimes your mind is much clearer and your attention more focused, after chanting. Every word that we utter and every thought that we think leaves its subtle impression on the mind, and so do all the words and sounds that we listen to and absorb. Everything that we listen to also leaves its residue in the mind.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Vedic Chants


“The Vedic injunctions have infinite meanings. All may not be able to comprehend the inner meaning of the teachings.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 18 October 1993


Vēdas are not to be only recited, but to be put into practice after knowing their meanings. Mere recitation may give some joy, but, recitation after knowing its inner meanings makes one’s entire life fruitful.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Vedic Chants


“Others who ruminate over the meaning of the mantra and feel the emotions of exaltation and supplication are able to derive delight. Recitation, without understanding the meaning, might grant a little superficial satisfaction but the hymn can pour from the heart only when the meaning is sensed.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Prasanthi Nilayam, Inauguration of the
Vēda Puruṣha Saptāḥa Jnāna Yajña on 21 October1982


“The root of the word ‘Vēda’ means ‘to know’. Vēdas are also known as chhandas; this name means pleasant, joyous. Other important meanings of this word are vital, strong and shielded. All these are the qualities of the Vēdas as it is shielding, fostering, promoting the welfare of humans engaged in the unceasing round of worldly affairs, and conferring the ultimate liberation. Humans are ever caught up in activities pursued with the profit available as the purpose. They have to be moulded as righteous men and women. The Vēdas shield people on the path of action (karma mārga) from engaging in unrighteous acts, and protect the seekers of knowledge (jñāna mārga) from the temptation of the senses. Through their role as armour or shield, they shower bliss on all who rely on them. The sacred ceremonies and rituals that Vēdas expound confer joy and bliss not only on the participants but also on the entire world and beyond.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Sathya Sai Vahini, Chap. 24


Sādhaka: Swāmi! We do not find today feelings that produce such prayers anywhere among men. People repeat these Vedic prayers, as gramophone records do, without any knowledge of their meanings, out of sheer habit. Is it not so? Do they get the Wisdom that is the most precious treasure of God?

Sai: My dear fellow! You yourself said now that they recite the Vēda as gramophone records do, didn’t you? So, they gain as much wisdom and aiśhvarya as those records get. How can they acquire the treasure of full potence? Planting a branch that has been severed, can one claim that it is a tree growing there? Those who recite the Vēdas with the awareness of their meaning, experiencing at the same time the feelings embedded in the hymns, they alone can earn the Grace of bramhan, the bramha vidya, the Highest Wisdom, the Supreme Treasure (sakalaiśhvarya).”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Leela Kaivalya Vahini


“The Vēdas have emphasised that man will be truly human only when he lives up to human values and practises the good life. Many who chant the Vēdas these days have difficulty in understanding their purport. When they fully understand the meaning and chant the mantras, they will derive greater joy. Only then they will experience the full sacredness and potency of the Vēdas.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 3 October 1989


“Those who utter the mantras today do not grasp their inner meaning. Even if the full meaning of a single mantra is understood, it will be sufficient. Every day, the śhānti mantra is recited:

Om; sahanāvavatu; sahanau bhunaktu; sahavīryaṅ karavāvahai.’

What does this signify? ‘Let us move together in unison. Let us live in harmony in communion with each other.’ What a wide vision is present in this mantra!”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Discourse on 3 October 1989


“When we listen to a Vedic hymn, we immediately perceive that its sound carries something very beautiful, powerful and highly sacred. As it comes to the meaning of the words, though, things become more difficult, even for experienced sanscritists. Or we may, rather, say that Vedic hymns include various meanings at different levels, ranging from the most down to earth to the most spiritual one. The access door to their highest spiritual significance has been largely forsaken, but it can be disclosed again by beings of high consciousness.”

Sri Tathāta


“What is recommended is ‘sacrifice’ of the wayward mind, dedicating it to God so that it becomes stable and calm and not bringing a living animal and killing it. That is adherence to the outer literal meaning of the injunction, not to the inner and valid import. Listen to the significances of Vedic aphorisms and rituals and scriptural injunctions with selfless, pure and joyful concentration. Treasure them in the heart for practice in daily life and for sharing with other earnest souls.”

Bhagavān Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Prasanthi Nilayam, Inauguration of the
Vēda Puruṣha Saptāḥa Jnāna Yajña on 21 October1982