Nina Rao – Be Here Now Network Guest Podcast – Ep. 81 – Roots of Chanting w/ Shantala Sriramaiah & Eddie Stern

Nina Rao invites Veda expert, Shantala Srirmaiah, and NYC yoga legend, Eddie Stern, to share the roots of chanting practice and ritual worship outlined in the Vedas.

Shantala Sriramaiah studied Sanskrit chanting and Indian scriptures from an early age as part of her family tradition and school education in Bangalore, India. She has been mentored by several Vedic scholars and teaches a growing global community of students through her online platform. Shantala is especially keen on connecting aspirants to the relevance of Vedas for personal development and to the source texts of Yoga. She is based in Brussels, Belgium. For more info and offerings, please visit

Eddie Stern is a Yoga teacher, author, and lecturer from NYC. He has been practicing Yoga since 1987 and ran his school in SoHo from 1993-2019. In the late 1990s and early 2000’s, the school became a focal point for Ashtanga Yoga in New York, with an eclectic mix of downtown artists and spiritual seekers practicing and meditating next to each other. Eddie has a passion for seeking out diversity in all aspects of his work, and uses a multidisciplinary combination of technology, scientific research, and collaboration to help further understanding, education, and access to yoga. He continues to study philosophy, Sanskrit, ritual, science and religion, as well as maintain a passion for the daily practice of Yoga. More info at

The Roots of Worship

Welcoming Sanskrit chanting and Veda expert, Shantala Sriramaiah; as well as NYC yoga legend, Eddie Stern; Nina Rao invites them into a unique and gripping conversation digging into the roots of chanting practice. After a bhav-radiating opening invocation to Hanuman-ji, Nina asks Shantala and Eddie about their teachers, families, and those who helped them along the spiritual path to learn about worship rituals, chanting, and puja.

Opening Chant:
Vaata-Aatmajam Namaami
Join Dr. Robert Svoboda for a deep dive into the worship of the the Divine Mother, on Ep. 16 of Living With Reality
Roots of KD / Roots of the Vedas (18:08)

In a satsang spanning story, Eddie pieces together a brilliant lila which brought Krishna Das to begin leading chanting at the Jivamukti Yoga Center in NYC – involving rare early-1970s history connecting Maharajji, Ram Dass, Bhagavan Das, and Meatball Fulton—the eclectic host of the spiritual radio-drama The Fourth Tower of Inverness. From here, the group dives into deep discussion on The Vedas, ancient Indian spiritual texts stemming from the Rishis’ deep understanding of the interconnected universe.

“In the Veda, we don’t see this artificial differentiation between everyday life and spiritual life. What the Veda is teaching us, is that whatever life you’re leading—whether you’re a yoga teacher, carpenter, or business person—you can divinize that life. You can get in touch with Vedic deities, gods, cosmic forces, psychological powers. We can establish a concrete relationship and start to become aware of these forces that collaborate with us.” – Shantala Sriramaiah

Krishna Das breaks down the basics of chanting, sharing firsthand experiences from a life of mantra, on Ep. 10 of New Growth
The Roots of Chanting (39:33)

Exploring the connection between practice, longing, and devotion, Nina shares her evolving experience with mantra chanting. Highlighting the self-revelatory wisdom which can arise with dedicated practice, Shantala and Eddie help us sift through the constant information stream of the world, to arrive at a deeper space of clarity and discernment within ourselves.

Closing chant:
Oṃ śaṃ no̍ mi̱traḥ śaṃ varu̍ṇaḥ |
śaṃ no̍ bhavatvarya̱mā |
śaṃ na̱ indro̱ bṛha̱spati̍ḥ |
śaṃ no̱ viṣṇu̍rurukra̱maḥ |
namo̱ brahma̍ṇe |
nama̍ste vāyo |
tvame̱va pra̱tyakṣa̱m brahmā̍si |
tvame̱va pra̱tyakṣa̱ṃ brahma̍ vadiṣyāmi |
 ṛ̱taṃ va̍diṣyāmi |
sa̱tyaṃ va̍diṣyāmi |
tanmāma̍vatu |
tadva̱ktāra̍mavatu | ava̍tu̱ mām |
ava̍tu va̱ktāraṃ̎ |
Oṃ śā̱ntiḥ śā̱ntiḥ śā̱ntiḥ
For more Eddie Stern, tune into his conversation with Sharon Salzberg on healing trauma as an urban yogi,  Ep. 93 of Sharon Salzberg

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