Chanting is Universal!

Across spiritual traditions, singing repetitive sacred phrases is used as a way to quiet and protect the mind; lift, open and heal the heart; and bring spiritual connection to one’s life.  Enjoy these celebrations!


English Hanuman Chalisa available Today on each site!
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Click here to see Chanting is Universal! album cover and liner notes.

“Hi Jon, Thank you very much. I am very happy to have pre-ordered the Chanting is Universal album and also listen to English Chalisa. It was every bit wonderful, touched my soul and made me super happy at this early hour. I  can’t wait to hear the other songs.” -Ram Ram, JP

Since Jon was introduced to chanting by Ram Dass with the From Bindu to Ojas record album, he has focused on a practical intersection with music and chant, across spiritual traditions. The repetitive singing of sacred phrases is used as a way to quiet the mind, open the heart and connect with a power greater than ourselves. Here we have traditional examples of Hindu, Buddhist, Native American and Christian chants for you to enjoy.
As presented last year at the Midwest Bhaktifest, the last four tracks are Old-Time, BlueGrass chants. These mantras in Sanskrit, Latin and Hindi are chanted with American Appalachian fiddle and banjo tunes. We show how music from one culture can be incorporated with spiritual sacred words of another. And “it works!” The spirit of this music is exuberant, joyous, energetic, and reverent.
The last few years Jon has been extensively chanting the Hanuman Chalisa. To begin and to end the CD is a cross-cultural mix! The first tune is a special English translation of the Hanuman Chalisa which helps us in the West understand the meaning of the 40 verses sung daily by millions in Hindi! The last track is the same chant in Hindi in a very fast rap style with an kicking, old-time bluegrass tune!
The CD highlights Jon Seskevich’s love of kirtan and chanting and his wishes for greater interconnection and appreciation between people and spiritual paths.
The music on this CD are highlights from Jon’s recording career. Here is more info on each track:
Chanting is Universal!
1. English Hanuman Chalisa  7:40 (feat. Danielle Koppel, Tulsi Das, Lamb, Seskevich). For words, more info and pictures from recording sessions. Go to:  
This English translation of the Hanuman Chalisa a beloved 40 verse Hindi prayer sung all over the world, was done by Sadhu Ramdas Lamb in 1971 at the request of Neem Karoli Baba. They were at the Hanuman Temple in Vrindavan, India. Maharaji wanted the westerners to know the meaning of the chant they were practicing. Used by kind permission. A special boon with this translation is that he wrote it so that any melody the Chalisa is sung in Hindi, can also be used now to chant in English. Today Ramdas Lamb Ph.D. is a professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Hawaii.
Instrumentalists, Vocalists
Jon Seskevich: vocal, harmonium, and mountain dulcimer.
Danielle Koppel: Vocal
Chris Mankoff: Violin
Mark Smith: Guitar
K. Sridhar: Manjira
Munsie Davis: Tamboura
Kapila: Kohl
Produced: Jon, Meghan Puryear & K. Sridhar
2. Sita Ram (feat. Universal Chanting) Traditional chant from India   8:41   
Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Jai Sita Ram.
Sita represents the soul’s longing for union with Ram.  This chant hails the victory of their reunion.
3. Crystal Tears (feat. Universal Chanting) 3:52  (Words of Neem Karoli Baba adapted by Jai Uttal) Used with permission.
I am like the wind, no one can hold me.
I belong to everyone, no one can own me.
The whole world is my home, all are my family.
I live in every heart, I will never leave thee…
Oh, oh, oh, crystal tears.  Oh, oh, oh, taking away my fears.
4. Sri Ram Jai Ram Bhajan (feat. Universal Chanting)   Traditional chant from India  5:20
Arrangement Jon Seskevich
Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram   Victory to God, Hail God.
This chant combines a few of the melodies learned by Jon in groups with Ram Dass. This is a chant of Hanuman, who is revered as the perfect servant of God, like the Holy Spirit in Christianity.  Hanuman is a master of the types of yoga related to service and devotion as ways for a living soul to have union with God.
5. Wakan Tanka   5:27  (feat. Universal Chanting) Traditional Native American Chant 
Wakan Tanka, oh chi malaya oyate wana oh achenta x 2
Oh mother earth, please teach us to be humble.
Like you are when the feet of beings walk upon you.
Oh Great Spirit be merciful upon us, that all people, we may live.
This Dakota Sioux chant reminds us of our sacred relationship with
Nature, Great Spirit and the Great Mystery.
6. Fly Like Eagles (feat Cheryle Moody Pope) 5:58  Traditional Native American Chant
O ee h che chia ya. Oh-ee-i-o x 2
We all fly like eagles high up in the sky.
Circling the universe, on wings of pure light.
Where we walk is Holy, sacred is the ground,
Forest, mountain, ocean.  Listen to the sound.
Breathe. Live. Listen. Sing. Work. Heal. Die. Love.
O ee h che chia ya. Oh-ee-i-o x 2
This chant reminds us that the Holy Spirit is present in all our endeavors, in all places, and at all times.
7. Anicca (Impermanence)  (feat. John Orr) Theravada Buddhist  6:20
Anicca vatha sankhara uppadava dhammino
Uuppajjitva nirujja chanti, te sang vupa samo sukho
(In Pali the V is pronounced like a W)
All things are impermanent.
They arise and pass away.
Having arisen they come to an end.
A man or woman who realizes this has pure bliss.
John Orr, a former Buddhist monk and Jon begin and end this acapela chant of release and letting go.
8. Mantra of the Green Tara  (feat. Universal Chanting) 8:07  Tibetan Buddhist
Traditional chant from India
Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Swaha
Great devotion to the Mother Tara. She represents the energy of divine compassion in Buddhism. We started with the drones of the tamboura and harmonium. The women’s voices then came. The rest of the instruments and the men’s voices all joined together. The chant ends with the men’s voices.
9. Jesus Is on the Main Line (feat. Universal Chanting)  (Traditional)  6:55
Arrangement and additional lyrics by Jon Seskevich and Mark Smith.
Jesus is on the main line, Tell Him what you want.  x 3
You can call Him up and tell Him what you want.
If your sick and you want to get better, Tell Him what you want. X3 Chorus.
If you want his kingdom, tell Him what you want… X3  Chorus.
You don’t need a little cell phone you just tell Him what… X3
You don’t need no Visa no Mastercard, just tell Him… X3
You don’t need no email, no internet you just tell Him what you want. X 3. Chorus.
Tracks 2-9 Instrumentalists, Vocalists,
Jon Seskevich: Harmonium. Lead vocals. Hand drum #5
Mark Smith: Guitar. Vocals
Larry Taylor: Bouzuki. Eagle Bone Flute. Water drum. Ney.
Eric Pritchard:  Violin. Vocals.
Chris Mankoff: Violin.
Andrew Pilant: Tabla and percussion.
Cheryle Moody Pope:  Shakaree. Lead vocals #6
Lynda Aikman-Smith: Tamboura, Frame drum.
John Orr: Lead vocal #8
Raymond Smith: 12-string guitar. Vocals.
Laurie Lindgren: Percussion. Flute. Vocals.
Jim Ramdas: Frame drum. Vocals.
Randy Dodd: Gourd rattle, Meditation bell. Vocals.
Farrunnissa Lila Rosa: Tar. Dumbek. Tambourine. Rattle.  Clave. Vocals
Jane Adams, Lynda Aikman-Smith, Libby Capaldi, Randi Davenport, Pali Delevitt, Walton Deva, Marcia Eagle, Lori Fendell , Anne Furze, Mindy Gellen, Mary Grigolia, Marilyn Grubbs,  Bobbie Hayes, Cindy Hoff, NurJehan Kavlock, Jenny Knoop, Carole Mathison, Jonathan Maupin, Melanie Maupin-Smith, Ashley McCormick,  Cheryle Moody Pope, Frances O’Halleron, John Orr, Joseph Phister, Michael Pope, Page Potter,  Robert Short.
Produced:  Jon, Mark Smith, Larry Taylor and Farrunnissa.
10. Jesus Before Breakfast  (feat. Betsy Bickel) 5:37
The traditional tune Whiskey Before Breakfast is joined with the Latin sacred phrases of the Christian tradition: “Kyrie eleison” and “Christe eleison” which mean: Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. The second part is the prayer: “Dona Nobis Pacem,” grant us peace. There is something profoundly healing for the family when one substitutes “God” for “whiskey” before breakfast!
Instrumentalists, Vocalists:
Betsy Bickel & Marilyn Grubbs, lead vocals.
Jon Seskevich, AC Bushnell, Jim Beckwith, vocals.
AC Bushnell: Fiddle.
Bobb Head: Banjo and mandolin.
Robbie Link: Bass.
Bill Parsons: Guitar.
11. Jimmy Johnson Gopala  (feat. Stillhouse Bottom Band)3:04
Gopala Gopala Devakinandana Gopala
Devakinandana Gopl
Gopala is baby Krishna. Krishna’s mother is Devaki. Ananda is the word for bliss.
This kirtan is about the bliss of the mother that comes from the unconditional love for her baby. This was the first BlueGrass Kirtan track we recorded. It is with the traditional Appalachian tune Jimmy Johnson.
12. Shiva at the Falls of Richmond  (feat. Stillhouse Bottom Band) 3: 38
Om Namah Shivaya.  Shiva Shiva Shiva Shiva Om Namah Shivaya
Devotion to Shiva the Lord of Change and Impermanence. Falls of Richmond is a traditional old time banjo tune.
13. Old-Time Hanuman Chalisa (Rap) (feat. Stillhouse Bottom Band) 3:38
Just had to do this! The Hanuman Chalisa in Hindi is rapped in a 3 minute version with a kicking old-time Stillhouse Bottom Band.
Instrumentalists, Vocalists,
11-12: Jon Seskevich, AC Bushnell, vocals.
13. Jon Seskevich Vocal.
AC Bushnell: Fiddle
Bobb Head: Bass
Alan Julich: Banjo
Mark Weems: Guitar
Produced: Jon, AC and Jerry Brown
Gopala Gopala with Universal Chanting
Feb 8, 2013 Recorded at the Nelson Music Room, Duke University, Durham, NC. Jon, Mark, Eric, Jewelsong, Drew, Steve, Laurie, Raymond, Jude, Sangeeta, in a great room filled with many more contributing to the rich sound!

Online bonus track: Universal Chanting:  Listen, Listen, Listen words Paramahansa Yogananda music updated by Jon and Mark; Published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA. Used with permission.