By Nayaswami Narayan
May 14, 2019
Have you ever practiced a vocal exercise called a long-tone? To prepare to sing the other day, Keshava led me in a series of long tones. What is a long tone? You guessed it: you sing one note for a long time. What are the benefits of long tones? Not only do they help you warm up your voice, but also you develop better pitch, voice placement, and awareness.
It occurred to me we have another voice coach. Her name is Divine Mother. Her technique is a whisper from eternity: a long-tone of constant, undying, unconditional love for us all.
I’m trying to match Her long-tone of love. The only problem is I’m off pitch! Have you ever listened to your voice and didn’t like the sound of it? I realized why. I croak complaints, groan griefs, and sigh sorrows! She doesn’t correct me outwardly, but allows me to correct myself. Like Ananda Moi Ma used to say, “I’m like a drum. The way you beat me is the way I sound.”
However, and here’s an important point: We don’t have to perfect our voice to sing with Her. We already have the perfect note of divine love and joy in our hearts. All we have to do is remove discords so that only Her One resonance remains.
How do we do that? Sing! And don’t accept that you are not a professional singer! No one but you can sing your soul song. As Paramhansa Yogananda said, “You don’t become a primadonna by singing just a little bit. You always keep your mind on the song.”
And what is that song? Aum, the sacred vibration, is Her long tone of love. Chant it, hum it, listen for it, imbibe yourself with it.
Ask Her to make your heart sacred. As Paramhansa Yogananda sang in a Bengali chant that was translated into English:
Oh devotee, I can give thee salvation,
but not My love and devotion;
For when I give those away, I give Myself away.
Ask of Me salvation, but not My love and devotion;
For when I give those away, I became poor, walking on your heart’s way.
In Her Long Tone of Love,
P.S. Here is a poem I wrote to help me practice patience in singing Her long tone of love.
How Shall I Wait for Thee?
How shall I wait for Thee?
Like a lone car in a traffic jam
stilled by the touch of your immortal bumper?
Like a hummingbird for fresh nectar in a desert?
How shall I wait for Thee?
Mutely open to Your Omnipresent sound, Ma,
I shall wait for Thee.
And in my waiting I realize it is You, Mother, who have been waiting,
silently calling, reminding me through the breeze of Thy eternal caress
warming me through the sun’s rays, giving me strength.
Oh, Mother, how long have You waited for me!
No more, Thy wait is over!
I am Thine, receive me!
No more hide-and-seek,
No more shuck and jive
No more shall You maneuver out of my gaze with Your shadow guise
Oh, Mother, how shall I wait for Thee?
I shall wait like Thee for me–