The first in our exploration of world music leads us to India where the Hindu culture and spirituality cannot be separated. A beautiful rendition of a Bhakti devotional song and mantra called the Guru Stotram was performed by Krishna Raj and captured on the meditational album entitled Akhand.
Easily one of the most calming songs ever created, the Guru Stotram is precisely what it sounds like, an honorary poem lifting up the personal guru who leads his or her followers to the capital-G Guru.
To drop a little bit of knowledge about Indian music, while saving some for next time, let's just look at musical scale composed of seven notes called swar. These can be compared to the western scale we all learned in grade school, as follows:
Octaves play out just like you'd expect, creating upper and lower registers in the differing scales known as saptak.
If you want to read along while you listen to the song, you can find the full lyrics in both languages at our resource here or read just the english below. The stanzas do not particularly follow the same order, but it's all here:
Salutations are to that guru who showed me the abode, the one who is to be known, whose form is the entire universe and by whom all the movable and immovable are pervaded.
Salutations are to that guru who opened the eye of one blind due to the darkness (cover) of ignorance with a needle coated with the ointment of knowledge.
Salutations to that guru who is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer, who is the limitless one.
Salutations are to that guru who showed me the one to be known, who permeates whatever is movable, immovable, sentient or insentient.
Salutations to that teacher who showed me (by teaching) the One to be known, who is but Awareness and who is the pervader of all three worlds comprising the sentient and insentient.
Salutations are to that guru who is the Sun to the lotus of Vedanta and whose lotus feet are made radiant by the jewel of all Srutis (Upanishads).
Salutations are to that guru who is Awareness, changeless (beyond time), who is peace, beyond space, pure (free from likes and dislikes), and who is beyond the manifest and the unmanifest (Nada, Bindu, etc.).
Salutations are to that guru who is rooted in knowledge that is power, adorned with the garland of Truth and who is the bestower of the joy of liberation.
Salutations are to that guru who by bestowing the knowledge of the self burns up the bondage created by accumulated actions of innumerable births.
Salutations are to that guru; the perennial flow of wisdom from the one rooted in the vision of the sruti, dries up totally to ocean of transmigration (samsara) and reveals the essence of all wealth (the freedom of want).
There is nothing superior to knowledge of Truth, nothing higher than the Truth, and there is no purifying austerity better than the Truth; salutations to that guru.
Prostrations to that guru who is the Lord of the Universe, my Teacher, who is the Teacher of the Universe, who is the Self in me, and the Self in all Beings.
Salutations are to that guru who is the beginning and the beginningless, who is the highest Deity and to whom there is none superior.
O God of all Gods, you alone are my mother, father, kinsman, friend, the knowledge and wealth. You are everything to me.