Turiya Nada’s Arakara: Ecstasy of the Awake Presents Powerful, Ritual Trance Music to a New Generation of Listeners

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From the caves of southern India to sunny southern California, Turiya Nada adapts ancient yoga teachings to 21st century electronic soundscapes.

Arakara: Ecstasy of the Awake

Arakara: Ecstasy of the Awake

Turiya Nada’s intense, devotional chants create a sonic environment that is both trance-inducing and electrifying at the same time.

In south India, in a cave near the peak of a sacred mountain, sat the Siddhar sage, Ayya. Meditating without moving for 18 years, eating no food and drinking only a cup of milk each day, he lived in the state of Turiya – a level of heightened consciousness unbound by what we perceive as the laws of the physical world. He sang in ecstasy, his voice resonant with the bliss of his profound realization of oneness.

It was at the feet of Ayya and five other gurus that the young Nandhi studied the Siddhars’ ancient and rigorous trainings in yogic and meditative practices. Sitting outside the cave, absorbing Ayya’s divine chanting, the young disciple increasingly felt a deep wish to share its venerable, heartful resonance with the rest of the world. What a sense of perfection and wholeness everyone could attain -- if only they knew the path.

Moving from southern India to southern California in 2002 at the direction of his teachers, and working under the name Turiya Nada, Nandhi has created his own original fusion of the rapturous, ancient chants of India’s Siddhar sages with 21st century electronic soundscapes. Arakara: Ecstasy of the Awake (White Swan Records; October 8th) is Turiya Nada’s third recording, offered in thanks to the enlightened masters who came before him in the Siddhar tradition that spans several thousand years -- and as a means of sharing their transformational messages of compassion and community with the western world. Produced and arranged by the award-winning musician Howard Lipp and multi-instrumentalist EdWing Sankey, the album’s eleven hypnotic mantras present powerful, ritual trance music for a new generation of listeners.

Turiya Nada’s intense, devotional chants -- enhanced at times with such diverse instrumentation as cello, zither, Native American flute, guitar, bass, keyboards, Tibetan bowl, and butterfly harp – are resonant with his breath and redolent with his dedicated passion. They create a sonic environment that is both trance-inducing and electrifying at the same time. In the album’s extensive liner notes, the yogic master clearly explains each mantra, phonetically spelling it out so the listener can participate, noting the nature of the blessings that it imparts, and detailing its background in the mystic Siddhar tradition that dates back to antiquity.

The breath, or prana, is key to the Siddhars’ state of enlightenment and the journey beyond enlightenment, and its application in the chanting of sacred mantras opens the passageway to awakening the heart and raising consciousness. Practiced in India for over 5,000 years, mantras – sung in the ancient Sanskrit and Tamil languages of the Indian subcontinent – have been scientifically documented to invoke a sense of physiological well-being; they are also widely acknowledged in helping elevate the psychological and emotional self to a higher level of consciousness and a deeper sense of unity with the timeless -- regardless of one’s religious beliefs or lack thereof. They are a balm for the practitioner, an antidote for the noise and clamor of daily life and a source of profound calmness and balance.

Two years after his arrival in America, Turiya Nada’s recording career was launched in 2004 when his debut album, Cave of the Siddhars, quickly became a classic in the New Age genre. Prior to Nandhi’s elucidation for western seekers, the secretive wisdom of the Siddhars had seldom been revealed, though it had been passed down through an unbroken lineage over several millennia. In 2008, Turiya Nada followed up with Invoke the Masters, an album of potent Siddhar chants from the sages’ innermost circle. Carrying on his outreach, Arakara: Ecstasy of the Awake is his latest musical offering, blending ritual trance and harmonic beats with authentic mantra chanting; its music will be featured in a new documentary film called "3 Magic Words."

In addition to making music, Nandhi works as a kirtan leader, visual artist, teacher, author and humanitarian. He is developing an instructional DVD series for a course called "Mastery of Consciousness: Kalangi Kundalini Yoga." He is also deeply committed to manifesting his vision for The Ariven Community, an international non-profit organization creating self-sustaining global animal sanctuaries operating under the principles of Ahimsa (the avoidance of violence). The plan is to provide retired beasts of burden (primarily cows and oxen), rescued from the slaughterhouse, with an abundant and safe place to live out their final days. It involves biodynamic gardening, utilization of animal waste as fertilizer, and the creation of robust organic farming operations in an effort to abolish world hunger and help create a cruelty-free and health-conscious world community.

Clearly expressing his vision -- and his mission, tasked to him by the Siddhars -- is Nandhi’s Vision for Humanity: A Declaration of Consciousness, which reads: "This is a declaration for the people of Earth to come together once and for all in love and unity. It is the call for countries and individuals to declare the inalienable tenets of consciousness as universal human rights: non-violence, honoring the feminine, respecting our elderly, the ending of all war, encouraging love of all people regardless of their race, religion or culture, and the protection of our planet."

The Siddhars

Siddhars are Sages who journey beyond enlightenment as "liberated" yogis. In this journey within consciousness, the Siddhars abandon beliefs for experience. Connecting to the ancient lineage of Gurus who pave the way for guidance, protection and grace, theirs is a process of "unlearning". The inner journey of the Siddhars is based on tapas (to light the fire of perpetual Source union within). The Siddhars follow the path of oneness that embodies ahimsa (the life message of Mahatma Gandhi: non-violence, non-killing, tolerance and love for not only all of humanity but for all creatures as well). For the Siddhars, external knowledge, especially from a book, is hardly relevant as much of their knowing, practice and teachings is based on self-knowledge, the wisdom from within. With depth of silence, meditation and japa (recitation of mantras) as tapas, the Siddhars examine the human realities from cosmic consciousness. The Siddhar tradition is devoid of castes, traditions, beliefs and written teachings. Instead, the ancient wisdom is conveyed through resonance, the mantra deeksha (initiation) and the guru's grace -- with much of the evolving transformation resulting from one's own effort in the practice of tapas (inner fire) and sadhana (daily discipline). For a Siddhar Sage, divinity is in form and formlessness, with the worship centered more towards a simple fire lamp as a symbolic focus of their own inner lamp. Siddhars refer to God as Source in order to free wisdom from the stagnancy of dogma.

Siddhars in the practical sense

As we journey through consciousness on the pathway of the Siddhars, our mind is empowered by extra abilities such as envisioning the future, seeing another person’s past and reading the thoughts of others. Due to the absence of ego, the Siddhar Sages do not succumb to these extra powers of the mind and the super-normal abilities that awaken with the mind connecting with Source/God. However, the Siddhars, realizing their vastness of being Spirit/Source in their ability to transcend the mind and the limits of the mind, bring this blessing to benefit humanity. To a Siddhar Sage living in the midst of humanity with a life of purpose and focus, multidimensional talents as genius are brought to the fore. The path of the Siddhars is attuned, aligned and suited to the current modern day society as it is a journey to seek wholeness through understanding the power of now and the vast potential for goodness as the basic nature of humanity.

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Joel Davis
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