Importance of Sanskrit Pronunciation

Sanskrit is a phonetic language of natural sound partitions. Not only do the sounds connect to nature, one could say they are the energetic representation of nature and the cosmos itself.


I’ll start by saying I’m thrilled at the expansion of modern Yoga and its reach into every part of the world.  We are very fortunate that the world of Yoga is vast enough and diverse enough that it contains a little something for every seeker.  It is truly and positively life changing.  Some are not drawn to deep meditation and the physical practice of Yogasana becomes their chosen form of meditation.  One can go very deep even with Yoga Vinyasa, and further can in fact reach those high states of liberation through the practice of matching breath with movement.  Point being, there is something for everyone.  In my own personal journey I was not only drawn, I was pulled by a force that would not be denied into the deepest most authentic forms of Saadhana (daily spiritual practices) available.  All diversity aside, it is also true that with the expansion of the modern Yoga world it is the duty of a devout seeker to be mindful of the authentic principles that lead us to such a point.  More and more teachers are certifying teachers and there is a fine line of dilution taking place.  The more the information is watered down and made so called, “accessible” the more we step away from the original tenants of Vedic Wisdom that guided us here in the first place.  Without these origins it is impossible to say that the world of Yoga would thrive.  Vedic Heritage has not survived for thousands of years because it is antiquated.  It as survived because even at Its most esoteric level, Vedic Wisdom is applicable here and now!

The Sri Chakra is a Geometric Energy Vibration that is brought to life by the correct pronunciation of the Sri Devi Khadga Mala Stortraratnam

I attended a workshop from an “A-lister” Yogini.  She was talking for 30 minutes about a specific pranayama (life-force control technique), and for the life of me I could not connect to which pranayama she was referring.  Then it hit me, “oh she’s trying to say Bhramari Pranayama.” This particular technique I am well versed in and could still not make out what she was describing.  There are multiple points to mention here:  First, Sanskrit is a phonetic language of “natural sound partitions,” not only do the sounds connect to nature, one could say they are the energetic representation of nature and the cosmos itself.  Secondly, when mispronounced the words do not ring in the ear in the natural way and this gives a subtle throw and wobble in the mind, which actually cause confusion and disruption.  Lastly, and most importantly as a so called “teacher” of Yogic Wisdom it is important to be as authentic as possible because now there are literally thousands of people out there pronouncing the word incorrectly which is directly contributing to disinformation and pulling us away from the Divine Source.

Now, some have argued that purity of intention is EVERYTHING and pronunciation is secondary to that.  I can relate to that in some ways and will admit that regardless of pronunciation one could stoke deep meditative feelings by uttering a mantra without proper pronunciation.  However, the purpose of uttering that mantra is that the energy vibration without fail produces a result, because it is directly linked with nature, and is in fact nature Itself.  Sanskrit is the very structure of the cosmos as well as the human body.  Walking the fine line of science and devotion one could even say that Sanskrit letters and sounds tug on the strings of Divinity thus, Divinity responds accordingly.  Meaning, if the Sanskrit mantra is uttered with not only Divine Pure Intention and also correct pronunciation, then only are the Divine Strings connected and the fructification of the result made possible.  The result of a meditation on a mantra is Grace.  Devotion and Faith cannot necessarily be defined or put into words, yet Grace can be felt tangibly.  Further, it is not only important to feel the Grace, it is also important to imbibe and honor It by living it out in the daily life.  The result (Grace) will not stick and create lasting change and deep connection with Divinity without these principles being attempted and respected.  To say that it is ok to recite and listen to Sanskrit Mantra that is mispronounced is akin to saying one would enjoy listening to music that is completely out of tune.  One simply would not buy and album or listen to music that is not pleasing to the ear, or completely out of tune.  When an instrument is out of tune we may even cringe as if it hurts our soul to hear such a thing.  Whether we are conscious of it or not, this is what our brain and nervous system is doing when Sanskrit sounds are not pronounced properly, because it is literally going against the natural sound vibration of the macro and micro world.  When a Yogi or Yogini is an adept in Sanskrit pronunciation one can feel the difference.  One may even say, “Oh, that is the most Divine Sound, I felt my heart come alive and chills all over my body.”  It is not only do to the purity of intention, also it is the correct pronunciation that rang so true in the heart that “Grace” was felt deeply.

There are of course exceptions to any rule.  A Jnana Yogi (Knowledge Seeker) may not care for the correct pronunciation because in depth knowledge of spiritual principles itself is a liberator.  The Jnana Yogi can feel the depth of Grace because that Divine Knowledge has satiated worldly desires and brought them to higher states.  That Yogi or Yogini can cultivate and even confer Grace due to the depth of authentic knowledge.  However, that does not take care, give mindfulness or respect to ancient Vedic Heritage that brought us these Divine Teachings in the first place.  Even the Jnana Yogi must eventually realize the importance of this principle.

Sage Vyasa, Ancient Rishi, Guru, Seer of Vedic Sacred Sound

One might also say, “well, I don’t have an Indian accent so it is not possible for me…”  This is also a statement of ignorance.  Sanskrit pronunciation is not accented.  Again, it is a natural sound partition that is found in all of creation.  The Great Seers of Vedic Wisdom and the safe keepers of Sanskrit sounds were absorbed in deep meditation.  These Divine Seers have the level of meditation to be able to actually “realize” the Sanskrit verses.  Through Their Divine Realization the Sanskrit Sounds were heard and connected with every element of creation, thus, Sanskrit and Vedic Language has been completely unaltered from time immemorial.  ALL other human languages have gone through drastic alterations and changes over the course of human evolution.  Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit have not.  This statement of truth only proves the literal meaning of the word Sanskrit (Sans-Without, Krit-Critique), that which is already perfected.  We wouldn’t look at nature, the cosmos and Divine Mother Earth and say, “what an amazing accident?”  We wouldn’t look at the anatomy of the human body and say, “look at the RANDOM make-up of the body it’s so flawed.”  We say the opposite.  Any environmental scientist will expound on the great complexity of the PERFECTION of Mother Nature.  Every facet of life works together to support the next, and through our deep meditations we have realized that matter is most certainly linked.  When we pronounce Sanskrit Mantra correctly we are tapping into a direct channel, a direct road map to the Divine Principles which already exist in Mother Nature, The Cosmos, and our very own human body.

I truly hope these words are an inspiration, especially to those that wish to share Sanskrit, Vedic and Yogic Wisdom with others.  These authentic teachings are both being supported be devoted seekers, and also brushed aside and diluted.  The modern Yoga world could embrace the side of support as a form of Seva… Meaning, performing our duty as devout seekers to respect and become a walking representation of the ancient and Divine Spiritual Truths.

Lastly, one may be asking, “where can I receive more authentic training?”  For this a personal introduction is necessary, there are literally none I would recommend on line.  Contact me in person if you would like more information: j.tyagaraja@gmail.com

Hari Om… With the labor of Divine Love,


Light Wheel Debut Release of “The Keeper”

Light Wheel Debut Release of “The Keeper”

This music is dedicated to the recent tragic passing of my uncle, Greg Welch. My partner, Evan Dunivan, and I have labored with love over this new project and we are beyond thrilled to share it with you.

Light Wheel, a musical duo from Austin, TX, consists of vocalist/songwriter Tyagaraja and producer/multi-instrumentalist Evan Dunivan.  Their first single, The Keeper, is a blend of sweeping vocals, dynamic soundscapes, and intuitive rhythms.  Stay tuned as the next single “Mammon” is to be released in a few weeks!

See the review from Complex Music UK


Stream the debut release “The Keeper”



Philosophical Implication and Thoughts post FPSF 2013

Is this good for the community? Or is art and music continuing to become devalued?

Memories of the lost ages me in bottom left holding up some hater cars by a strang...

I performed at the 1st Block Party by Free Press with my band back in the day called Million Year Dance.  There was about 40-50 people watching our set.  I performed for the paper’s 3 year anniversary party in the back of Brasil with about 50 people there.  I wouldn’t say I’m best friends with the crew, and in fact in recent years I see them less and less, and still I do feel a kinship and community with them.  I’m glad to have known them and have been a part of a swelling storm of Houston music scene.  They have come a long way from those days and I’m supremely happy for them and their success.

Me and Doyle Odom III and my tree branch crown, trying out my theatrics on new audiences in 2007

My band performed at the FPSF for the past 3 years.  I released by album “Open Book” at 2010 FPSF.  I lost my journals and was completely devastated for a whole year at the 2011 FPSF.  I was shocked and surprised by Free Press that they found my journals and they returned them to me the day before we performed at the 2012 FPSF, which made this a very special performance.  Needless to say that I have had many emotional and insane experiences at FPSF.  This year was totally different as I was finally just an audience member.  And still, with the history and all the emotions; I felt that maybe I was also a member of this growing Houston music scene.  After all I started playing music in Houston when Michael Haaga, Tom Bunch and John Lomax were all ranting about how there was good music in Houston and no scene to support it.  So do we have that now?  Does Houston have a music scene, what is that scene, and is there a since of community in it?  All this was brewing in my brain while wandering the grounds.  I also wanted to be truly open and release all those previous feelings to have a fresh start and truly enjoy the festival as someone that wants to like music, as someone that wants to feel happy about the music scene in Houston.  I did not want to go into it with complaints and criticism, just let it flow naturally… (this portion is only to set up the fact that I have been along for the whole journey this somehow gives me more of and educated approach to this blog, I’ve been there done that sort of thing.)

My journals so dear to me were lost for an entire year, from Summer Fest to Summer Fest. I'm so fortunate and happy to have them back

As I cruised through the festival grounds I over heard several conversations and even engaged in a few with friends and fellow Houston artists.  It was mixed opinions.  Some said, “This is just amazing, I’m so happy they have done this for Houston and the Houston music scene.”  Here! Here!  Others complained, “This is ridiculous, these people don’t know how to run a festival, what sell outs, where’s the local artist this year?”  Hmmm, completely different opinions, you can never really please everyone.  I just wanted to remain neutral and a mindful listener.  Both sides had merit in my opinion of opinions.  Also there is a much deeper process that should be understood, what are we really all here for?

I performed at Bonnaroo and at FPSF several times.  I’ve performed and attended all the famous Austin festivals.  I know what I’m getting into when I step foot inside the festival grounds.  I know that human beings go there with the intent to take as many drugs as possible and become completely obliterated to forget their worldly troubles and maybe even their own identity.  And as the day grew on and the madness began to swell I realized I was an outsider in what I thought was my own community.  I began to feel that I couldn’t relate to this mentality of festival goers whatsoever.

I had earplugs in the entire time, and that experience just mutes the entire volume of Elenor Tinsley Park by a few decibels.  I was sent into an acid flashback in-between bands while I waited for Alabama Shakes.  I could hear the entire hillside in one breath, like one chaotic voice.  It reminded me of walking in the cafeteria at Hutto Highschool while tripping on acid and you can hear everyone’s conversation and the banging and clanging of dishes and silverware like the endless dribble of a chaotic human river gushing by at full speeds.  The sound of this mindless chatter made me think, “what are they all talking about.  Am I self-righteous enough to say that all these conversations bouncing off each other have no weight and no real sense of humanity in it at all, just mindless chatter moving its way up into the Houston atmosphere so that there is a little bubble of chaos floating over the bayou city.

Trying my best to insert some positivity into the youth at the FPSF 2011. Also we are supporting and promoting a fine art and science of Yoga and Meditation. This is how to improve community and mend broken hearted artists and drug addicts.

Alabama Shakes began.  I felt relieved, some real music and real artists, not faking a thing, just being real and sharing with us their deepest emotions and experiences.  As I was enjoying the music I looked down at a fellow human sitting on the ground searching for something.  He looked in his pockets and patted his clothing.  He took out his wallet and opened it.  Sheets of acid and other pills spilled out of his wallet.  I could tell now that he had lost his money.  He reached in his pocket and pulled out what looked like a zippo lighter, when he opened it more bags of drugs spilled out of it.  All those drugs and no money.  He was laughing and seemed disoriented, obviously he was high on his own supply.  Again I was sent into deep thought.  I know this exists, it’s nothing new, it happens and will continue to happen.  But I went back to the original questions, is this good for the community?  And what kind of community does it support?  Or is this festival a dream of music lovers that look to capitalize in a market doing something they love to do?  All these questions are of great importance because all to often our modern day dreams and visions are pursued without any mindfulness at all, so these questions really need to be thought about and answered by everyone, from the concert promoters to the humans attending the festival.  How can you even enjoy yourself and the music if you are that intoxicated?  Further more, is the festival itself programming and promoting that being a mindless drug and sex fiend is the greatest thing in life?

I looked around at my fellow human beings and could see in their faces that they live for this experience, this is quite possibly the most enjoyment they have in their modern lives.  It’s their way to escape for a while.  Maybe they don’t live their daily lives like this, and ok anything in moderation.  But to what end and what effect does this culture have on music, art and further more fine art?

I only heard positive messages in the music from two bands from the whole time I was down there.  I didn’t see everything so if you did and want me to know about it please speak up.  Vintage Trouble and Alabama Shakes were the only two acts that used their music to say and promote something very positive and inspiring, something that binds hearts and community.  I was wandering past the 2nd main stage to the neptune stage.  The Mavericks were on stage–multiple players all playing real instruments.  (Now some opinions)  I didn’t really care for that style of music, but I was thrilled to see real players and real song writing.  Only where were the people, there was hardly anyone watching them.  A few steps later I arrived at the Neptune stage where all I could hear were the most absurd techno farting sounds I’ve ever heard from DJ Borgore.  On the screen was just an ass in slow motion booty poppin’, and friends let me tell you that his crowd was packed with kids all jumping and bending to the will of the DJ.  A friend of mine later referred to Borgore style of music as “Butt Wave,” I laughed out loud.  So this is the experience that young ones want?  I never felt like more of an outsider in my own music scene as I did at that moment.  It made me want to leave, and immediately go write a song and write this blog, simply to counter the carnal energy that was now unavoidably washed all over my being.  Maybe I’m too sensitive, maybe I’m old fashioned, maybe I’m too principled?  But to me this festival does not at all improve community, in fact to me it perpetuates corporate influence in art and not to mention the extreme waste of resources and land it creates.

Two promotions at once. Gunjen Mittal is showing the audience classical Indian Dance an ancient fine art form, and I am singing a song about meditation and understanding that we are all experiencing each others suffering as a unified spirit.

I was glad to see some recycling bins this year, that was a first, if they were there previous festivals there were not enough because I looked for them and could never find one.  It still didn’t really matter, I watch hipsters, frat boys and progressives guzzle beer and drinks and throw their trash on the ground DIRECTLY NEXT TO THE FUCKING RECYCLING BINS.  The clean up crew will not sort out the recycling from the trash once it hits the ground its all going in the trash.  Not to mention how much of it will actually enter the bayou, one of downtown’s only natural water resources.  What a waste, something I can’t support and will no longer be a part of.  Even if it means buying a ticket to go in with trash bags and clean up after all my little piggy fellow human beings.  To me the lack of mindfulness and actual care and concern for the community showed its ugly face.  If you do care for the community your efforts are misguided and actually damaging the community in many respects.

Sure, many local businesses made more money because of the festival, the city and all the affiliates of festival raked in the cash, and some would argue that this capital gain is good for the community, and will over all give the mentality to the Houston audience that Houston does indeed have a music scene.  And after careful and mindful analysis that is the only good that I can honestly recognize.

For a local band to play the festival it is damn near a waste of time and energy.  Yes you receive clout and some level of hype.  However, you don’t get paid, and in fact you work and suffer so hard just to play the festival that it drains you emotionally, physically and you spend hundreds of your own hard earned dollars just to get it together to play the festival.  Every year I played FPSF I came out in negative.  So I can’t honestly say that this has been a good thing for local artists whatsoever accept for the trickling of hype I mentioned above.

The corporate grip on art and music is strangling it to death.  I’m confident that the artist is so creative and adaptive that they will always find ways to break through the corruption and end up on the other side performing great acts and inspiring others.  Artists are nothing but vessels of expression, and there really is no value that can be placed on ability that you are born with to allow others without this ability to feel emotions, listen to great stories and inspiring melodies.  Corporations and these festivals are only perpetuating the destruction of fine art, and furthermore promoting a lifestyle of lost souls.  The focus is completely misguided.  Maybe people want that experience?  Maybe people don’t want to look deep within themselves and be mindful and change their lives to move in positive, regenerative and sustainable directions.  Fine arts and real song writing and artistry is continually being shoved into the back of our minds by corporate entities, thus becoming devalued.  Everything is being produced fast, and the content can only be something that people being programmed by these commercial entities can relate to, thus the creation of the worst sounds in the world “Butt Wave.”

We applied to Free Press for art installations at the festival and were NOT approved. It cost no money, I would do it myself, and rubbing turmeric paste on the trees not only gives nice color and intriguing presence to the tree, it is also very healthy for the tree enriching it's growing ability. It's also an ancient act of giving highest respect to nature that has been done in India since antiquity. I did see some nice gadgets attached to a fire hydrant giving people drinking water, that was leaking and wasting 100's of gallons of water just spilling and pouring out into the gutter, and why we were not allowed to put yellow paste on the trees is beyond me?

I would like to personally encourage an enlivened debate about these topics and at the very least think about all the questions raised.  Because if you want to improve your society, your community and support and uplift art and artists, by all means there are ways to do it.  Thank you to all things sacred for the fine arts, for artist like Pandit Jasraj who revive our love for fine art and Indian raags.  Thank you Pink Floyd for showing audiences that a rock show doesn’t have to be all about depravity, that you can fuse several forms of art to create a masterpiece that has stood the test of generational gaps.  Thank you to Mariza Fado for having the most amazing voice on earth and bringing classical music and opera to a world stage in a very modern and relatable way.  Thank you to Vintage Trouble for saying some caring and positive words during your set to a crowd of crazed, drunken, drug and sex addicts.  They are the ones in most need of this kind of positivity.  Thank you even to the band The Manichean.  Since I was 15 years old I have wanted my show to be more like a play and a theatrical experience, I’ve worked my whole career toward this vision and I have yet to gather all the resources together to make it happen.  So was the Manichean the first to do this, well no, and neither was I, and at least someone is.  At least the Manichean is saying to the audience, “No, you are not limited to relating to “Butt Wave,” you too can experience art, open your mind and heart and understand that there is more to life than drugs and sex and loosing your identity and wasting and trashing the earth.  That’s why I support The Manichean.  If I don’t have the resources yet to pull off my vision I will join theirs because if they succeed it means that my vision will also.  These acts will create a sense in the audience that this kind of art is worth something of value to them.  That is how you build community and support the arts.

And of course thank you to Free Press for trying your damnedest  to do what you love and do it well.  I would like to suggest that now that you are successful with Summer Fest, let’s pull back a little and reanalyze what “supporting the community and local artists” is all about.  Maybe you can start up a “strictly local” festival again, without any corporate influence whatsoever, so that the local communities can thrive without the corporations taking the biggest slices that leave the locals going, “well that was fun, now what.”  Because a real community of support is possible.  I just can’t say I have seen it yet, and I’m happy and open hearted enough to believe that it’s possible.  Or maybe it should be up to us, maybe we should stop waiting around for someone else to take the lead and deliver what we ask for, maybe we should take charge on our own and make our own visions and dreams come true?

Cheers and as Ellen Degeneres says, “Be kind to one another.”

With all my heart and honesty


This is the character I'm playing (not far off from my real personality) in the Manichean rock opera "Lovers" on June 28th at the Alley Theater. Promoting the idea that art can encompass multiple themes.

Tyagaraja Live Shows in April

Tyagaraja performs in Houston and Austin in April, save the dates…

nori show poster

April 11th 9pm $7 at Frank 407 Colorado Austin Texas 78701

Spring Fest for Last Organic Outpost (urban farm in Houston’s warehouse district)

Spring Fest at Last Organic Outpost

April 6th 10-4pm

711 N Emilie Street Houston Tx

Live with Nori and Bamako Airlines

April 11 9pm

$7 All Ages

At Frank

407 Colorado St Austin Tx

Universal Aid Benefit Concert to fight Human Trafficking

April 26th 7pm $10 donation goes to aid the fight against Human Trafficking

7555 Texas 6 Missouri City, TX 77459

http://tyagaraja.com/ (website)

Tyagaraja listed in NPR’s 100 Artist to Discover @ SXSW

Tyagaraja listed as NPR’s Top 100 Artist to Discover @ SXSW

spiral press photo

TYAGARAJA Listed as NPR's top 100 Artist to Discover @ SXSW 2013


Link to NPR\’s Top 100 Artist to Discover at SXSW