from the book "When the times comes" by Ac. Chandranath Kumar
Question: Dada, it is easy to see when we sing Prabha'ta Sam'giita that it helps in our spiritual practices. But for the majority of people these songs are in a foreign language. Will the effect be the same or similar if we translate them into English, for example, and then sing them, or is it more beneficial to sing them in Bengali, even if the language poses difficulties for us?
Answer: There are two things to consider here: the words given by a spiritual master, spiritual teacher; and the idea behind those words. Both are equally important. The idea is important and the words themselves are also important. The words carry a certain vibration because they have been given by a spiritual teacher.
We don't simply pick up a mantra from anywhere; for it to be effective, we need to get it from a spiritual teacher, so that the vibrational force of the teacher can be present behind the words. That is the speciality of mantra. Do you remember the example I gave you some time back? Patna is on the bank of the Ganges. Now you go to the bank of the river and start shouting that there should be a bridge here. Will it get done? No, people will think that some madman has come. But if the chief minister of the state or the prime minister of the country goes there and calls for a bridge then from the very next day someone will start working on it. Why? Beacause the words you utter and the words he utters carry a different vibrational force. His words have the force of the prime minister, of the post, behind them, and yours do not.
Likewise, in the field of spirituality, a siddha purusa - siddha purusa means one who has the capacity to merge their mind into the Cosmic Mind at any time, any place, under any set of circumstances - now if a siddha purusa gives a mantra then it carries a vibrational force of that teacher. This is why it will not help a person if they take a mantra from some book and start practicing with that mantra. After long practice for ten or twenty years the person may create a vibration of their own mind and it will gradually have some effect. But if the same person gets a mantra from a siddha purusa then that word already has the vibrational force of that teacher and they will make good progress in sadhana from the very beginning. Such is the importance of mantra.
Now if we sing Prabhata Samgiita in the original language we gain the benefit of the vibrational force that the teacher has infused into those words. Of course, not everybody knows that language and, as I said earlier, the idea or ideation is equally important. So the meaning should be translated into whatever language the person understands. A translation should be available or read out before the song is sung and that will increase its effect. Of course, it is best if people learn the meanings of the words of the song. People may find the melody attractive even if they do not know the meaning, and the vibration behind it may help their mind to get a bit more concentrated towards the Lord, But if they know the meaning then their concentration and the vibration they experience will be much greater. If they know the meaning of the words of the song - "Oh, I am seeing the Light; the Light is there, but I am not able to reach it. The huge river is in the way. O Lord, where are you? I am waiting on the riverbank for you. Where are you? When will you come to accompany me across, to ferry me towards the Light? O Lord, where are you?" - then it will give much more spiritual vibration to the mind than the melody alone can give, no matter how attractive it may be. The mind ideating on the meaning, the inner meaning, and then the melody or the tune - both combine together to create the spiritual vibration. So, it is better to learn a few songs thoroughly, to understand the full substance of those songs, instead of learning to sing a hundred songs without fully understanding the meaning. This will have more vibrational effect.