Interview with Gabriella (Gaiea) – Part 3
Posted on: 5/9/2021
Gabriella is an alumna of St James School. She is now a well-known singer songwriter and Sanskrit enthusiast – you may have seen or heard her online…
She has been chanting mantras and slokas, sharing them with the rest of the world through her YouTube and social media accounts. We asked her about her love for chanting and the benefits she has experienced through doing so.
Was there one specific thing that drew you into Sanskrit and tied you to it?
It is 100% without a shadow of a doubt the sound. Just the sound of the language, the precision that it is all connected with the sound. I just feel that the power of the sound of the language can have a huge impact on the human mind. But not just the human mind, animals and nature too.
The sound of the mantras is like music in itself. When you listen to a piece of music, you don’t need the words to be moved by it. I feel when you listen to Sanskrit or sound it yourself, it has the same impact as music with the additional precision of mathematics.
Mathematics is a universal language so Sanskrit somehow holds within it, the precision of mathematics. The emotive power of music combines them and then goes beyond them. There is something really special about the sound and it is so universal.
When I hear great grammarians, great teachers or great spiritual teachers speak about it and the amazing precision in the language, that makes me know that Sanskrit is such a good thing to be into.
When you just mentioned the precision of mathematics within Sanskrit, were you talking specifically about the grammar or is there mathematics hidden within the sound?
I would definitely say the precision of grammar. Also, something I haven’t researched properly but just going with intuition mainly, I feel with the sounds, there is something mathematical with the metres and the way Vedic chants are formulated and composed. Even if you measured the vibrations coming from the human voice, I think there are certain measurements like the vibrational frequency that would be precise.
There are so many videos of you chanting, for example, the Bhagavad Gita. With that, what have you gained or what benefit have you seen from chanting and posting the videos?
So with the Bhagavad Gita specifically, it’s just been a great privilege to read the text from start to finish. Because I am sharing it with people, it gives me more of an open heart because I want to just immerse myself so it can be shared.
But to answer how it has benefitted me personally, with the Bhagavad Gita, almost every verse has a great lesson or something with great importance. I’ve really loved going through each chapter taking a week or two to listen to or sound that chapter every day.
What I find beautiful is that there is always just one part of one verse that seems to sum up the whole chapter. For example, remembering that one phrase like tato yāti parām gatim which means when one goes to the supreme goal. If all of what is mentioned in chapter 6 is practised, with meditation, then one goes to the supreme goal.
Having these constant reminders helps me and being able to keep visiting these texts, again and again, remind me of the importance of the disciplines and practices.
You’ve got such a good beautiful and vibrant voice. Have you trained to sing or did this just come out was it just a natural talent?
I always loved music at school and was introduced to music at a young age. We had such a great music teacher who encouraged everybody to sing no matter what, even if you were tone-deaf or shy. She just really encouraged us all to get up and sing. It was nerve-racking because those types of experiences really helped me overcome nerves and shyness.
Following some singing lessons for a few years in western music, I then started learning a bit of Indian classical. Studying Indian classical is still ongoing and I’m still at the very beginning. The main thing for me was connecting to the essence behind the song rather than learning singing.
Has the singing opened up any opportunities and avenues for you and where do you see yourself with the chanting in the next few years or in the future?
Over the last few years, it has opened up a really universal community. I have some monthly chanting sessions which since lockdown have moved online. Before lockdown, there were just a few people that attended but since lockdown, I have noticed that people from all over the world from Canada, Australia, India, America, Romania, Poland are attending these chanting sessions.
Having music out there has opened the door for connection with people around the world and over the next few years I would just love to keep devoting myself to creativity, record many more albums and my real sort of vision is I would love to have Sanskrit become mainstream. I would love for it to cross into the mainstream and hear people’s positive experiences listening to Sanskrit songs.