What Language Should I Chant In?


Yogananda told his disciples to learn poems written by saints and to repeat them during the day, and to sing song throughout the day because they help to attune oneself to master's conscientiousness. My question is: English is my second language and as I know it's better to use your native language for this purpose? But at the same time translated poems contain vibrations of the person who translated them. What language should I use?

—Irina, Russia


Dear Irina,

Greetings, and joy to you!

You ask a good and important question. I know the situation well: English for me too is the second language.

I have found that reading, singing, reciting poetry, using the language Yogananda wrote in – English – is much more effective than doing so in my native tongue. English just brings you closer to him, to his aura, to his presence. For example he said that he put his vibrations into the Autobiography of a Yogi, which contains the poem Samadhi: the poem he recommended especially to learn by heart, and to repeat often. I certainly find that a translation loses some of that vibration. Another language always introduces another color and feeling.

Yoganda’s Cosmic Chants are similar: he said he spiritualized them, infusing into them the power of God-contact. I found that a translated chant never quite transmits the same spiritual power.

That being said, there is another side: it somewhat depends on your level of English. Judging from your letter it is pretty good. But if you feel that the language barrier is still quite strong, that your English isn’t all that great, and that therefore his poems, chants, and words don’t touch your heart as much: in that case your own language might be the better choice for you.

I hope this answers your question. If not, please get back to me.

God bless you on your journey, in divine friendship,