The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Charm of Chandi chanted in full

The countdown to our annual dawn tryst with Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s inimitable rendition of Mahishasuramardini has begun. To the quintessential Bengali home, the Chandi could never have been chanted with more fervour. Those verses of incantation, however, constitute but a fraction of the entire work.

For those keen to savour all the 700 verses of Sri Sri Chandi, the Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Pitha, Belur, released a four-pack unabridged audio-CD album at MusicWorld on Tuesday. Chanted by Swami Sarvagananda, who had earlier recorded the whole of Srimat Bhagwat Gita, this version includes all the verses divided into 13 chapters and several cantos.

Presenting the first copy of the album to Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose of Calcutta High Court, Swami Ramananda, secretary of the Mission, said: “The purpose of the project is to make people aware of the true import of Sri Sri Chandi in spiritual as well as day-to-day life. It is important to chant the verses with correct pronunciation and precise accent.”

Lamenting the decline of the reading habit, the Mission secretary added: “This provides an authentic alternative in a friendly format. It took Swami Sarvagananda eight months to prepare himself for chanting the verses correctly.”

The CD release was attended by monks from different branches of the Mission, including Swami Sarvagananda, currently editor of Udbodhan Patrika. He has participated in more than 40 albums released from Sarada Pitha at Belur, Udbodhan and Narendrapur Mission, as also in the US.

“The Mission has, for a long time, felt the need for an authentic audio version of Sri Sri Chandi. The present CD pack is our first attempt to record and make available to the people a complete version,” said publisher Swami Ajarananda.

The four-CD pack is priced at Rs 350, while single CDs are also available separately at Rs 100 each. The average duration of each CD is around 65 minutes. Apart from the original text, according to Swami Jagadishwarananda’s classic compilation, it contains two songs in praise of the Divine Mother, which were Swami Ramakrishna’s favourites and two hymns of Shiva and the Divine Mother.

A background story at the beginning of the album in Bengali, Hindi and English, explains the nuances of reading the Chandi. “For instance, one should sit still while chanting the verses and the tenor should neither be too loud, nor too soft,” stressed Swami Ramananda.

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