Yogananda on Music and Chanting

Chanting is half the battle.

Devotional Singing
“Most people in a church choir sing with concentration on the music and on the glory of captivating their listeners and extracting cheers and praise from them; but they think little of the One to whom they are singing the song. Such singers never think of God, to whom the song or anthem is addressed. Hence, in group singing, the leader must see to it that his colleagues do not mechanically grind out a song louder and louder, emotionally and unthinkingly. The words in a song must not be sung without devotion. rather, the devotional thought in a song must be predomination, while the sound of the words in producing that song must meekly, gently, softly follow the increasingly warm thought.”
—from Original Teachings, by Swami Yogananda

Music in India
In India, music as well as painting and drama is considered a divine art. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva—the Eternal Trinity—were the first musicians according to Yogananda. The foundation stone of Hindu music is the ragas or fixed melodic scales. There are six basic ragas. Each one of the six ragas has a natural correspondence with a certain hour of the day, season of the year, and a presiding deity who bestows a particular potency. Yogananda explains these correspondences of the six ragas as follows:
1) The Hindole Raga is heard only at dawn in th spring to evoke the mood of universal love.
2) The Deepaka Raga is played during the evening in summer, to arouse compassion.
3) The Megha Raga is a melody for midday in the rainy season, to summon courage.
4) The Bhairava Raga is played in the morings of August, September, and October, to achieve tranquillity.
5) The Sri Raga is reserved for autumn twilights, to attain pure love.
6) The Malkounsa Raga is heard at midnights in winter, for valor.

The ancient rishis discovered these laws of sound alliance between nature and man. Because nature is an objectification of Aum, the Primal Sound or Vibratory Word, man can obtain control over all natural manifestations through the use of certain mantras or chants.
—from Autobiography of a Yogi

Cosmic Chants
In 1938 Yogananda completed a long-projected work, Cosmic Chants, a song book of chants and music.He set to English words and Western musical notation about forty songs. Some of the songs were original and some were adaptations of ancient melodies. Today many of these scores are chanted by Ananda musicians and audiences.
—from Autobiography of a Yogi