There are many descriptions of God, Holy Beings and the Heavenly Realm that are strikingly similar across faiths – the feeling and experience is the same, only the words are different. One such experience is the Gandharvas, as they are known in Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Gandharvas are heavenly beings who sing for the Gods. In the Abrahamic religions these Angelic beings are called the Heavenly Host. They are beings whose sole purpose is to sing honor and glory to God, who spend their entire eternal existence singing praises to the Divine. I guess I shouldn’t say their sole purpose is singing – for in their singing they uplift, heal and glorify all of life. In their singing, magic and mystery happens and I’m sure their one purpose of singing contains a multitude of purposes that I cannot even fathom. But what I do know from experience is that they adore God and in their singing praises they magnify the Divine for the entire universe. So, that is no small sole purpose.
One of the amazing and interesting facts about the Gandharvas (if you can call a trait of a heavenly being a fact), is that they love praising God so much that they are drawn to anywhere such praise is happening. Wherever people gather to sing gratitude and love for the Divine, they gather also. Loving God in song is like a magnet for the Heavenly Host – our voices lifted up to the Lord and our hearts loving God in unison pulls them straight to us. This is one of the many reasons why I love going to church, or to chanting circles, or to Krishna Das concerts, and why this time of year I love to attend Christmas Caroling.
Last night I attended St Cyprian’s Carols and Lessons service. Our sweet choir, joined by some extra singers from the Community choir, sang some beautiful versions of ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘O Holy Night.’ The packed standing-room-only congregation joined them in singing ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ and ‘Angels we have heard on high.’ And as those Angels heard US, they flocked to the tiny church, as well. (It made me wonder if THEY have any songs called ‘Humans we have heard on low.’) Luckily, they don’t need chairs or even standing room, or the hundred-year-old wooden walls of the church would have burst. I could feel them bringing their Angelic presence and their pure love for God to our gathering, adding the vibration of adoration to all of us as we sang. During the Ave Maria, I closed my eyes and could feel my consciousness being lifted up effortlessly, almost as if I was on an elevator bringing us closer to God. All I had to do was sing and open my heart.
Last year I attended the Vero Beach Community Church Christmas Eve service. The Vero Beach Community Church has a choir of at least 80 people and a grand organ that covers the whole front wall with a beautiful stained glass of Jesus with open arms in the middle. In addition they have a children’s choir and as if that is not enough, they have an orchestra. The large church has several services on Christmas Eve and all of them are packed. As I stood as one of a thousand audience members, singing the carols with this human chorus of voices, I could feel the Angelic chorus of Gandharvas and Heavenly Host joining us in tier upon tier above us and all around us. These magnificent beings joined us in singing glory to God and victory to Compassion and Peace in the victory of Christ, Alleluia! My heart was filled with ecstatic joy as I felt this vibration of adoration and GOD not only filling my heart and every heart in the room, but radiating out for miles, lifting up the entire world into the victory of LOVE.
So, if you want to, over the next week or so, if you attend any holiday gatherings with people putting their love for God into song, tune into the other beings joining you. Whether you consciously tune in or not, whether you can feel the angels singing with you or not, their vibration of love will lift you. And if you choose, you can consciously join with the Heavenly Host or the Gandharvas in their purpose of lifting up the entire universe into the adoration of God. It is not only a service to the world, it is fun.
To learn more about the Ghandarvas, check out The Ghandarva Experience from Tom Kenyon – it has an introduction with information followed by some truly beautiful and angelic music. This is a CD that is meant to be experienced and used as a spiritual practice and it is very beautiful.