This article looks at how the Krishna devotees in Mayapur, West Bengal, learn how to chant and listen to the sound of the holy name properly. They suggest that if one is ‘pure’ enough and knows how to listen one experiences the syneasthetic level of sound called pashyanti. At this level, one can reach beyond the duality of the ‘hidden and manifested’ worlds, the external and internal levels of sound; and one can ultimately see God face to face. This is also considered a level at which one can realise that the sound of God’s name and God himself are the same. I will focus on how the devotees learn to create this sense of intimacy with God through the sound of his holy name, and argue that listening is not merely a process connected to our auditory sense but rather a creative and engaging activity, a skill that one can develop.
Advaita Candra Dasa, Danakeli Dasi, Dharmasetu Dasa, Mahamaya Dasi, Pyari Mohana Dasa and Srutadeva Dasa. 2011. Chanting Hare Krishna: The Art of Mystic Meditation, Kirtan, and Bhakti Yoga. Compiled from the Teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Los Angeles, CA: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
Barcan, Ruth. 2011. Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Bodies, Therapies, Senses. Oxford: Berg.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 2009 . Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. Mumbai: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
Brewster, Genevieve. 2013. Crying for Krishna: Harnessing Emotions that Can Help us on our Spiritual Path. India: Gopinatha Publications.
Bull, Michael and Les Back, eds. 2004. The Auditory Culture Reader. London: Berg.
Chidester, David. 2009. Zulu Dreamscapes: Senses, Media, and Authentication in Contemporary Neo-Shamanism. – The Sixth Sense Reader, edited by David Howes. Oxford: Berg, 339–356.
Chion, Michel. 2012. The Three Listening Modes. – The Sound Studies Reader, edited by Jonathan Sterne. Oxon: Routledge, 48–53.
Csordas, Thomas J. 1994. The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Dolar, Mladen. 2006. A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Feld, Steven. 2005. Places Sensed, Senses Placed: Toward a Sensuous Epistemology of Environments. – Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader, edited by David Howes. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Gibson, James, J. 1979. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Horden, Peregrine. 2000. Musical Solutions: Past and Present in Music Therapy. – Music as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy since Antiquity, edited by Peregrine Horden. Aldershot: Ashgate, 4–40.
Ingold, Timothy. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skills. London: Routledge.
Järvinen, Hanna. 2006. Kinesthesia, Synesthesia and Le Sacre du Printems: Responses to Dance Modernism. – The Senses and Society 1 (1): 71–91.
LaBelle, Brandon. 2010. Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life. New York, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group.
Milton, Kay. 2002. Loving Nature: Towards an Ecology of Emotion. London: Routledge.
Sacinandana Swami. 2010 . The Nectarian Ocean of the Holy Name. Switzerland: Saranagati Publishing.
Sanford, A. Whitney. 2002. Painting Words, Tasting Sound: Visions of Krishna in Paramānand’s Sixteenth-Century Devotional Poetry. – Journal of the American Academy of Religion 70 (1): 55–81.
Sheldrake, Philip. 2001. Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory and Identity. London: SCM Press.
Stoller, Paul. 1984. Sound in Songhay Cultural Experience. – American Ethnologist 11 (3): 559–570.
Stoller, Paul. 1989. The Taste of Ethnographic Things: The Senses in Anthropology. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Stoller, Paul. 1997. Sensuous Scholarship. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Zarrilli, Phillip. 2015. Making ‘Sense’ in Embodied/Enactive Modes of Actor Training and Performance. – Ritual, Performance and the Senses, edited by Michael Bull and Jon P. Mitchell. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 121–136.
van Maas, Sander. 2008. Intimate Exteriorities: Inventing Religion through Music. – Religion: Beyond a Concept, edited by Hent de Vries. New York, NY: Fordham University Press.
Voegelin, Salome. 2010. Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. London: Continuum.