Ojas

by Dave Stringer

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about

“Ojas captures the soulful, hair-raising essence of Dave’s live kirtans. High energy, ecstatic chanting at its best. Ojas is pure American Kirtan.”
--- Yoga Journal

“Powerful, soulful and energetic.”
--- LA Yoga

“Again! Genuine emotion and passion makes kirtan soar. Dave Stringer brings authenticity to the table and serves only fresh cuisine. What a treat...what a leader. This is a great album!”

“This is an inspiring work. He and his musicians keep growing and the dynamics are excellent. This is new ground in high energy Kirtan. Chant on!”
--- Customer reviews from Amazon

"The Sanskrit word Ojas (pronounced with a hard j, as in juice) means life force, vitality, vigor, energy. In the philosophy of Yoga, the term refers to the force that connects the mind to the body and consciousness. The observant self, with all its emotions, sensations and cognitions, is what we have come to think of as mind. But how non-material mind can arise from biological functions is a problem that science and philosophy have struggled with for centuries. No definitive answers have yet been found.

Chanting starts for me as a process of inquiry into this mystery. Repeating mantras, I use the breath in my my body as a means of looking into the nature of my mind, and ultimately, my consciousness. The repetitive rhythmic and melodic stimulation drives my limbic and autonomic nervous systems, altering the way my brain thinks, feels and interprets reality. It seems to particularly affect how my brain defines the limits of my sense of self. As I continue to chant, the connections between body, mind and consciousness become joyously and serenely evident.

Most of the time, singing just makes me feel better, transforming anxiety, anger and a sense of separation into an experience of well-being. But when I’m able to deeply sustain the practice, my mind just stops, and I drop into a state that defies all description or explanation. It’s a state of pure awareness, a clear and vivid consciousness of no-thing and every-thing as a unified whole. This state transcends all limits and comparisons. I’m simultaneously empty and full, ecstatic and still, and since this state is beyond words, all my questions end.

Humans love to engage in activities such as music, dancing, and lovemaking, or any intense, sustained activity which produces the experience of being swept away, or deeply absorbed. If we have the opportunity, we seek these experiences above all others. When asked to recall the most important experiences in our life, we always point to the occasions when we felt this way. Our brains are wired to pursue these experiences because the connection we feel in these unitary moments strengthens our bonds to each other.

When I chant, my mind gets out of its own way, and I sometimes experience a pure awareness beyond the limits of subject and object. Where matter and energy and mind are all the same. A universe where all is one."

Dave Stringer

credits

released February 19, 2013

Musicians:
Allie Stringer: Vocals
C.C. White: Vocals
Dave Stringer: Vocals, Harmonium, Tamboura
Doug Brush: Vibes, Shakers, Surdo, Bells
Ganapathy Das: Swarasangam
Gustavo Bulgach: Clarinet
Itai Shapira: Sitar
Joni Allen: Vocals
J.P. Maramba: Bass on Shivaya Namah Om
Mark Gorman: Bass on all other tracks
Miles Shrewsbery: Tabla, Cajon, Udu, Kartals, Tambourine, Shakers
Phil Rodriguez: Trumpet
Scott Schenke: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Lap Steel
Suzanne Sterling: Vocals

Recorded Live in Santa Monica, CA
Produced by Saul David Raye & Dave Stringer
Execuctive Producer: Ganapathy Das
Recorded by Andrew Behla
Additional Recording by Adam Berg
Mixed by Krishan
Mastered by Reuben Cohen at Lurssen Mastering
Assistant to the Producers: Rob Hamer
Back Cover Photo: Ganapathy Das
Front Cover Photo: Tom Wang

Choir:
Aaron Reed, Arthur Klein, Ben Clayton, Brendan Armm, Bridget Fonger, Caleb Brennan, Christiane Lemieux, Daphne Tse, Dearbhla Kelly, Domonic Breaux, Evan Kopelson, Greg Milano, Greg Wendt, Helena Kriel,
Jacqueline Westhead, Janell Cox, Jayme Barrett, Joey Lugassy, Julie Chertow, Kabir Chalfin, Kaliya Mayell, Keith Kohn, Kenny Dread, Kevin Kraus, Leah Cevoli, Linda Goldman, Liz Hage, Lynda Carre, Maja Almskou, Megan Hanna, Megwynn White, Nicoletta Marmaras, Nirlepa Howard, Patricia Sill, Radha Saccoccio, Rebecca Kleinmann, Rochelle Robertson, Samantha Mehra, Sarah Garney, Sean O’Byrne, Shauna Hellewell, Shri Keshava, Spring Gross, Steven Espinosa, Sudama Kennedy, Ted McDonald, Yukiko Amaya

Additional information and tour schedules are posted online at
www.davestringer.com

All songs written by Dave Stringer ©2000 - 2013 Magnetic Melodies BMI
except Gaja Nana and Jaya Durge:
Traditional – Arrangement by Dave Stringer ©2003 & 2013 Magnetic Melodies BMI

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Dave Stringer Los Angeles

Grammy-nominated producer, singer, composer and innovative international Kirtan artist. Stringer’s sound connects the transcendent mysticism of East Indian ragas to the exuberant grooves of Gospel and the ringing harmonies of Appalachia.

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Track Name: Shivo'ham
Mano buddhya hankara chittani naham
Na cha shrotra jihve na cha ghrana netre
Na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vayuh
Chid ananda rupah shivo’ ham shivo’ ham

I am neither the mind, intellect, ego nor memory,
Neither the ears nor the tongue nor the senses of smell and sight,
Neither ether, air, fire, water or earth.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Na punyam na papam na saukhyam na duhkam
Na mantro na tirtham na veda na yajnah
Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta
Chid ananda rupah shivo’ ham shivo’ ham

I am neither virtue nor vice, neither pleasure nor pain,
Neither mantra nor sacred place, neither scripture nor sacrifice.
I am neither the food nor the eater nor the act of eating.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Apurvanam param nityam
Svayam jyotir niramayam
Virajam param akasham dhruvam
Ananda mavyayam

I am beyond all things.
I am everlasting, self-luminous,
Taintless, and completely pure.
I am immovable, blissful, and imperishable.

Aham nirvi kalpo nira kara rupo
Vibhut va cha sarvatra sarvendri yanam
Na chasan gatam naiva muktir na meyah
Chid ananda rupah shivo’ ham shivo’ ham

I am without thought, without form.
I am all pervasive, I am everywhere, yet I am beyond all senses.
I am neither detachment nor salvation nor anything that could be measured.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

---Shankaracharya
Track Name: Shivaya Namah Om
Shivaya Namah Om Namah Shivaya

A sequence of sustained sounds that every child understands. Shhhhhh conveys quiet, eeeeeee evokes freedom, vvvvvvv summons energy and vibration. Aaaaaah is an expression of release and satisfaction, nnnnnnn names and defines, mmmmmm is suffused with contentment and connection. Oh! is an expression of surprise,
acknowledgement and wonder in every language. Taken together, and sung in an order that turns back on itself, they embody the infinity of Shiva, the ending that is always beginning.
Track Name: Jaya Durge
Jaya Durge Jaya Durge
Durge Durge Shive Shive

The goddess Durga is said to have been made from the powers of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, and Shiva the destroyer all coming together in a brilliant flash of energy. Destruction is the mother of creation. Just as clouds of charged particles endlessly flash into being only to vanish again, so the soul arises from source and returns to it. Durga is the mother that brings us here, holds us, and lets us go.
Track Name: Gaja Nana
Gaja Nana He Gaja Nana
Gauri Mano Hara Priya Nandana
Pashupati Taneya Gaja Nana
Parama Niranjana Gaja Nana He

The elephant-headed god Ganesh represents the unity of the pairs of apparent opposites, how the one is always contained within the other. Matter and energy are expressions of the same force. The tiny seed and the massive tree are one. The way through the obstacle is in the obstacle. The cure for the pain is in the pain, as sorrow and joy forever dance together.
Track Name: Kali Durge
Kali Durge Namo Namah Kali Durge Namo Namah
Kali Durge Kali Durge Namo Namah Namo Namah

Secrets are hidden in shadows, and to investigate them is an essential process in acquiring self-knowledge. The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas beautifully sums up how the force represented by the goddess Kali operates in our lives: “If you bring up what is within you, what you bring up will set you free. If you do not bring up what is within you, what you do not bring up will destroy you.”
Track Name: Jaya Vitthale
Jaya Vitthale Jaya Vitthale Jay Vitthale
Panduranga Panduranga Panduranga Vitthale

Vitthale is a name for Krishna, the witness and enjoyer of all sensation, the knower of the senses and the mind, and the essential force of love and attraction by which the divine recognizes itself. The name is said to be composed of the syllables Vi, Tha and Le, representing the principles of creation, sustention and dissolution in human form.