Let’s get this party started – my 7 favorite spiritual songs.

Even if you have no interest whatsoever in spirituality, religion, faith or this blog, you’re probably a fan of music.  Well, how ’bout spiritual tunes that can stir your heart and awaken your soul?

Music can be a big part of anyone’s spiritual practice. Having grown up in a Hindu household, I regularly awakened to hot devotional tracks  with shout-outs to every Hindu God that existed (more than 20,000 it felt like) and spent Sunday mornings singing group devotional songs called bhajans.

Some call spiritual music the universal language of God; a way to invoke the divine in our practice. (Others of you might call music a must-have for building up any modern-day, main-stream cult but that’s a conversation for another day)

So, what are my favorite spiritual songs?

Here’s a list of my top 7:

1) Familiar with the Gayatri mantra? If you’re not Hindu, probably not. If you are, you’re probably sick of hearing this chant. But how could you be? This particular Hindu mantra recited by millions of people at sunrise and sunset around the world is a divine recitation straight out of the Rig Vedas of ancient times. Set to catchy music in this video, this mantra praises the divine creator in the world and asks for enlightenment. Who can ask for more, yo?

I’ve known people who have told me that reciting this mantra has brought miracles into their lives. Check out the song and let me know what you think.

2. Who isn’t moved by the magnificence of Amazing Grace? Basically the spiritual story of an Englishman, John Newton, this hymn has been a strong part of our culture in the United States from the time of the country’s founding. Newton was an obscene sailor living an irreverent life ‘til one day he found himself in the midst of a terrible storm. His spiritual conversion started right there on that rocky ship and produced this beautiful hymn later in his life. Here’s a rendition from child gospel singer, Rhema Marvane:

3. Ave Maria is a Catholic prayer, based on the Gospel of St. Luke. Here’s a wonderful rendition of this Catholic hymn dedicated to the Virgin Mary, by Mirusia:

4.  Swing Low Sweet Charriot is an African-American spiritual with references to the underground railroad, which helped free thousands of slaves in the United States. It’s a deeply moving and spiritual song.

5. Om Namah Sivaya  is a Hindu mantra praising Lord Siva, the powerful Hindu God know to destroy evil spirits. Siva  is as big as it gets in the Hindu faith and most temples have a shrine dedicated to this powerful God. Enjoy this devotional tune dedicate to the all-powerful Lord Siva:

6. Oseh Salom was a song I had never heard previously until I came across it in the CD to the spiritual tome, Spirituality for Dummies.  Sharon Janis has put together a terrific collection of songs bound to get spiritually inspired. Oseh Salom is a beautiful song praying for peace and wholeness.

7. Finally, Creere, by Tercer Cielo is a song I’ve fallen in love with in my travels in Central America. A tour guide introduced me to this song on his Ipod, as one of his favorite’s, while on a hike in the heart of the La Amistad International Park tropical rainforest. It translates to “I will believe” and is an inspirational song about believing in yourself when the doors are closed and going forward in life even when you feel like you can’t.

For my book on spirituality and resiliency, Is God Listening?, click here. 

25 Comments

  1. we must be on the same wavelength because I posted about music too and how it was spiritual! It’s about the Drum Tao group and you should check it out 😉

    I think music in general is spiritual. It doesn’t have to be Christian rock to be spiritual! 😉 Or Gospel or whatever.. I’ll even argue that heavy metal can be spiritual.. If you think all of our experience is a spiritual experience because we are all spiritual beings and we are here to experience. It’s kind of a weird concept to think about, but I had a friend who was a former drug smuggler, gang, crook and everything! And in one life he turned his life around and is a traveling entrepreneur with his own tourist business.. But the way he explained his experience in the past.. he said it is all spiritual. It really made me think..

    I love Handel’s Messiah. And Ave Maria too! Also anything Indian like Ravi Shankar (I saw him live!!)

    1. Janet, thanks for your article and comment!

      And true wisdom right there – we are all spiritual beings and here to experience! Amen sister!

      Love the turn around story of your friend from gangster to tour guide. Got to keep an eye on tour guides though:) lol That’s an interesting concept about how even if his previous ‘bad’ life was a spiritual one. Going to explore this in a post – thanks for the suggestions and the song tips. You’re right – any kind of music can be spiritual!

  2. Vishnu,
    I really like this post. It is very different than anyone you have done in the past. My internet kind of sucks so my internet is slowly loading away all the songs.

    I definitely listen to spiritual music. Though, I primarily listen to Christian music. Spiritual music that connects with me really brings me to the right place with God. It centers me. Or better put, it allows me to put God at the center.

    Right now I listen to a lot Hillside. They are a Christian Rock band kind of. I don’t actually know what they would be classified under. But it works for me 🙂

    1. Thanks Izzy. Trying to keep switching things up on this blog and to go where no blogger has gone before and lose all my readers along the way:) LOL

      Christian and other spiritual music can be so motivational, in addition to putting us in the right place with God? We need more music in our lives! I’m always looking for good spiritual music – I’m a spiritual-music hopper too so I’m going to check out Hillside asap!

  3. I got converted to the Gayatri Mantra a few years ago and find it so meaningful and calming. Having grown up Catholic Ave Maria and Amazing Grace and hymns that one can never tire of listening to. I do so love Rhema’s version of the Ave Maria – she’s such a little wonder! I haven’t heard Creere and Oseh Salom before – thanks for introducing me to them, Vishnu.
    Is there a reason you don’t have share buttons on your post? 🙂

    1. Corrine – glad you enjoyed the music and hopefully you’ll check out the other 2 songs as well. The Gayatri Mantra is something I try to listen to at least once a day and probably listened and sang it several times a day growing up. Thanks for the feedback on the share buttons. I thought I had twitter and stumbleupon on my site. Anyway, going to follow up with you to see what plugin I should be using. Thanks:)

  4. Wonderful compilation, Vishnu. Devotional music is something I’ve grown up with, and of course, the Gayatri Mantra and Om Namah Shiva-ya is staple at home (both recited 1008 times 🙂 is standard practice. There used to be a controversy about the Gayatri Mantra – that only men must recite it since it is integral with the sacred thread.

    I am a big fan of gospel music. Creere is beautiful – someone sent me a link some time back.

    Heading over to Janet’s now to see her post.

    Best kind of party music, indeed.

    1. hey Bri – check out the lyrics for Creere I posted above in Vidya’s comments. If you remove the God part and look at the believe in yourself part, it’s a pretty powerful song:)

      I know you’re big on Anoop from what I see on twitter:) Sure, if this music stirs your soul, I’d consider it spiritual music! I better not get anyone mentioning Justin Bieber or any of his songs though – I don’t think that age group is reading. I mean reading this blog. lol

      1. I’ve never heard a Justin Bieber song!! But a couple of days ago I saw a clip of some interview he was doing and he comes across as quite mature. First time I’ve seen him but he gives a good first impression to dinosaurs-in-waiting like me lol

  5. Hey, this is great! I hadn’t heard of some of these, and I loved hearing them.
    I lean more toward rock and roll spirituality myself, though, rather than the traditional. U2’s “Beautiful Day” and “Magnificent” always make me feel connected to the divine. I have playlists full: “Always Love,” by Nada Surf, “Welcome to Wherever You Are” by Bon Jovi, “Better Days” by The Goo Goo Dolls….don’t get me started or I’ll take up your whole comment section!

    One artist whose music is, to me, VERY spiritual is Peter Mayer. He’s got tons of great songs, but my favorite is called “Holy Now.” Brings me to (sweet) tears almost every time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiypaURysz4

    Wonderful post. Your site continues to be awesome, my friend! (I know I’ve been a major slacker with mine, but I’m working on it :))

    1. Glad you enjoyed the music Lynn! Nothing wrong with rock and roll spirituality. If it makes you feel spiritual, go for it, right? Love beautiful day by U2. so fun responding to these comments which has taken 2 hours cause I’m listening to every song that people are mentioning here:)

      And I love that song by Peter Mayer. Never heard of it until you mentioned it here and it’s going on my next top 7 spiritual songs post:)

      Thanks for the feedback otherwise and I keep checking in on your blog waiting for it to launch:) Keep me posted on the site developments Lynn!

  6. I am a music junkie and these posts always make my day. I also love Britney (first line of your post). In my yoga classes I tend to use songs with lyrics, not so much meditation type sounds because for me I can connect with what the musician is saying and it helps guide me through my practice. I don’t know if my students feel the same way but they live with it!:)

    1. I love that you’re a music junkie and that you share the great stuff on your site Meg. It’s inspirational and inspired this post too:) that would be a super cool yoga class if you’re using music with meaning. if the students keep coming back, they’re with you:)

  7. I am really looking forward to listening to this music Vishnu! Thanks for collecting it and posting it. I know it is going to make my morning even more enjoyable! I love songs with inspiring messages like spiritual music. Music is a door to the soul.

  8. Vishnu: I think music is the center of a lot of people’s day. I know that somedays I can listen to music all day long. I have been trying out some new genres, but I mostly listen to hiphop and regge music. I have to be careful with hiphop though because most of it is polluted.

    1. Thanks William. Music is quite addictive because of the hypnotic beats and sometimes powerful lyrics. I appreciate good hiphop and reggae too. Reggae is particularly spiritual don’t you think? Hiphop is not necessarily spiritual but sometimes has a good message. I would almost consider this beat by Kanye (Jesus Walks) to be a spiritual classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8AyHupByuU

  9. Like I wrote before, Vishnu, podcast please. 🙂 What great complement these amazing songs would be to your words. 😉

    There’s something about music and the way it so easily connects with the emotional elements of ourselves. Even the toughest, seemingly emotionless people I know, are moved by music. Music gives me goosebumps and puts me in a healthy state of mind. I think that’s why I often feel sad when I scan the room at Catholic Mass and note that only 50% of the people are singing. And of that 50%, only 25% seem to be enjoying it.
    I hope those people find another time to enjoy music, especially as a way to grow spiritually and emotionally.

    Music has and continue to help me cope with the most stressful, difficult times of my life. I am so grateful to it.

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful songs I would have never otherwise enjoyed. You are so appreciated by this here reader.

    1. Appreciate the feedback as always Jody and your kind words:) I’ll consider podcasts in the future – for now, just trying to get into the habit of getting a written post out every week which is challenging all by itself!

      You’re right about music stirring the soul of even the toughest people. Music at church or a place of worship is so awesome. Group bhajans or kirtans are truly soul-stirring when sung by a lot of people. Glad you enjoyed the songs and there are more great ones mentioned here in the comments if you get a chance to check them out.

  10. What wonderful choices! I am already familiar with many of these, although I haven’t heard them in awhile. (I used to listen to Hindu chants at work. Very interesting for students to walk into a law professor’s office and hear Om Namah Sivayah!) I’m going to turn on the sound on my computer and listen to these while I work today!

    In addition to your list, one of my favorites is God, Beyond All Names, sung by Bernadette Farrell.

    And I like many of the Taize chants, such as Bless the Lord.

  11. A bit late to this party… but I’ve had a great time listening to your clips here.

    Do you find different music spiritual at different times?

    I recorded Prince William’s wedding ceremony purely because of the music in the service – it makes me feel “spiritually explodey” (that’s a good thing btw 🙂 )

    I get similar feelings with Morrissey (my absolute favourite), Tracy Chapman and Enya. Perhaps it’s the connection with their words that takes me somewhere I get perspective and peace.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the music Reeta. I do find music spiritual at different times. Sometimes a song has nothing to do with spiritual but the event warrants the spiritual nature of the song. I know what you mean by the Prince’s wedding ceremony and now makes me curious about the music they played at the wedding. I’m sure it’s all over the place online? First thing I’m going to do is check it out:)

      Thanks for sharing your favorite artists – love Tracy Chapman and Enya! I should have included Enya’s super famous song on my top 7 list!

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