My drive to and from work takes about 35 – 45 minutes every day depending on traffic conditions. It took slightly lesser time on my previous work route. On days that I have a driver, I use this time to chat on the phone or introspect, listening to mantras playing on the CD player. On days that I drive, I actively sing the mantras out loud. (Singing makes me happy!)
My commute in the evening is usually more difficult due to tiredness, restlessness and a hurry to get home. Recently, I had begun to begrudge this drive – wishing it away, wishing I worked close to home. Yesterday, however, I decided to look for the good in the situation. The only advantage of this drive that came to mind was: “It’s my mantra time”. It’s the only time of the day when I have nothing else to do but ‘listen’. I am forced into it out of necessity. Had my drive been shorter, there is no way I would have taken some other time out of my busy schedule to stay still and listen to melodious chants.
What happens when you listen to the same music over and over is that it sort of gets ‘glued’ to the back of your head. You know how, on some days, you wake up with a tune playing in your brain and you don’t know how it got there? For me, whatever I hear in the car on my drive to and from work is what gets ‘glued’, and replays constantly as a background score all through my day.
I recently bought a CD called Soul Call, in which a powerful singer called Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon sings Om Namo Narayanaya over and over, but in different tunes and music styles to sustain the listener’s interest. Initially, I thought I’d get bored listening to the same chant being repeated (all my other CDs have a variety of chants). But surprisingly, her super-awesome voice and the engaging background music has got me hooked. Also, Narayana (Krishna) is my favourite god, so this music is yet another reminder to ‘offer my life to Krishna’.
Without making any more conscious efforts (besides seeking the good in the long drive), I have now suddenly noticed a constant hum in my brain – Om Namo Narayanaya. I hadn’t been aware of it before, but now that I am, it is distinct, comforting and beautiful.
“What do you know,” I said to myself as I reached work this morning. “In return for these long drives, you’ve got God at the back of your mind.”