Over the years I must have composed about a hundred songs, varying from Mantra, to sacred songs, to Kirtan, to dance music and instrumentals. One of the most well-known songs amongst these has been “Shivoham.” This song came to me sometime at the beginning of 2002, and many years ago somebody had given me this book: the Kirtan of Sivananda Chant book - and that particular day, I just opened it and the first mantra that I saw was “Sachãra Chara Para Purna, Shivoham, Shivoham…” and I sat with my harmonium and almost instantly a melody came in Raag Darbari - which is known as “the king of the ragas and the raga of the kings,” one of the most beautiful ragas from the Indian classical music. And the melody got composed and then eventually got recorded in my little apartment in India - especially in the middle of the night i used to record because all the noises would quiet, all the dogs had gone to sleep, and that was my perfect moment to record. And then eventually the song was taken to Denmark to finish it and it came out in my first CD Sattva < first own mantra CD but not first release> in 2003. What is really beautiful and significant in this mantra is that it really conveys this feeling of bliss: Shivoham means “I am bliss” and somehow the way the whole song turned out to be, it has really managed to, how to say, “transmit” that feeling of joy and bliss which is conveyed in this mantra.
Sometimes I wonder why this mantra became so much loved by people across the globe… and it seems that it is the vibration of the Sanskrit sound, the language is so profound, the language is so scientific… Sanskrit is so much capable of expressing the inexpressible - that’s why, in English, I would have to say, “I am bliss,” but in Sanskrit, just one word, “Shivoham,” conveys that same feeling, that same state, that same bliss. And with the combination of the Indian music, its elements and the depth of the raga, combined with the Sanskrit sounds and the vibrations, it could be the perfect combination: that it is capable to create and transmit that vibration of “Shivoham,” that “I am bliss, I am joy, I am Ananda.”
The other day I was conducting a workshop, and I did an experiment that I sang the same song in English, conveying the meaning, and then I asked people how did they feel; and all of them said that they could not feel the same vibration, the same energy, the same serenity in it other than Sanskrit… so that means that Sanskrit has this strength and power of conveying the most profound vibration of that particular state of being. Using the Sanskrit is like using a tool with the right technique and the right knowledge, with the right wisdom. It is very important that a tool is used with its right application, otherwise either it will not bring a result, or it may bring the wrong result. So only the intention is not enough: the right application of the sound, the right knowledge of using that particular tool is very important.
The mantra is found in the album Sattva: www.manishvyas.com/sattva
Watch talk in Youtube https://youtu.be/7-pKJCi_Tx0