In Sanskrit, the word Sadhana means ‘practice’. The deeper meaning of "Sadhana" is a spiritual practice that helps to cultivate self-knowledge and, ultimately, leads to inner freedom. On Sadhana, the 12 pieces are arranged as a practice. The entrance into the practice is The Mani Wheel. It is like a prayer wheel at the entrance to Buddhist temple spinning, spreading and expanding into the Universe the prayers and blessings it is imprinted with and contains. The only instruments on this recording are percussion and voice. Then, Invocation, a prayer said before the practice of Ashtanga Yoga to invoke Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras. Swimming in the Eyes of Desire is, as the title implies a vocal meditation on desire. Om Mani Padme Hum, which translates as “The jewel in the heart of the lotus” is a musical setting of this prayer for enlightenment for all beings. There is a famous image of Vishnu sleeping on a snake, floating on the ocean of the cosmos. He dreams the Universe into existence in the form of a lotus growing out of his navel. This image is the inspiration for the 5th piece, Ocean of Bliss. The 6th piece recites the last line of The Hear Sutra, “Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate bodhi svaha”, which means, go beyond, go beyond, beyond go beyond beyond beyond, to awaken in enlightenment. The grief over the loss of family or friend is expressed in Awakening the Compassionate Heart. For Between Heaven and Earth a Chod Healing Ceremony was it’s catalyst. In that ceremony the recipient lies down and Buddhist monks and nuns chant and ring bells so the receiver may regain health. Transformation is a meditation on devoted practice over time. Across the Waters is dedicated to refugees everywhere who have been forced to leave their country, home, and hearth. The practice ends with the Closing Prayer. It too draws on Ashtanga Yoga for the prayer recited at the end of practice. The line “lokaha samastaha sukhino bhavantu” means, may all being everywhere be happy and free, followed by the refrain of “Om shanti, shanti, shanti” or peace, peace, peace, to dance us back into the world. The album closes with another collaboration with Krishna Das. He is featured here on his chant, My Foolish Heart, which he sings over Hersey’s arrangement for Prana.
Jerry Marotta is on drums and percussion. Subash Chandran and Ganesh Kumar are on percussion on The Mani Wheel.
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For more information on Baird Hersey and Prana, visit their website.