Go to WireonFire Index
Website Central Store Services Our Artists Videos
WireonFire Home

Jay Yarnall

Rose for the Dust

Rose For The Dust
under the eaves
of shadow
the shadow that seeks
to cover the world
we have come
soaring, soaring
to turn each year
into a millenium
of unfolding awareness

Streaming Eclipse Puja

"Eclipse Puja"

Eclipse Puja for iOS
AppleTV / iPad and iPhone


“Eclipse Puja: Bhagavan Das Chanting 1000 Names of the Mother, with Jay”

         On 10 June 2002, most of the United States and Asia witnessed an annular solar eclipse that covered 40% of the sun in Northern California. That afternoon, with the remarkably autumn-like sunlight shining golden white through the French glass doors of his living room in Marin, Jay Yarnall filmed Bhagavan Das chanting before Jay’s altar of beautiful and unique religious images from around the world. That is the beginning of the story of “Eclipse Puja: Bhagavan Das Chanting 1000 Names of the Mother, with Jay.” But it is less than an introduction to the extraordinary visual and spiritually moving experience for the film’s viewers, and the fascinating process through which this experience has been created by the filmmakers.


___We are drawn immediately into the joyful reverence of the moment. Before there is light, there is sound: Jay’s voice chants “Om abba hum.” Just as he continues with “Holy Spirit Comforter,” the camera begins moving across a polished hardwood floor that is illumined with patches of sunlight, as Bhagavan’s voice joins Jay’s. Gradually the camera moves to show Bhagavan sitting cross-legged on the floor before the low altar. Our view is an angled profile that foregrounds his bare right shoulder where a patch of direct sunlight dances as he slowly rocks back and forth to the rhythm of the chant. The movement of body and sunlight focuses the viewer on the light and the sound. Multiple voices fill the room with a chorus of chanters – reinvoicements that feel like sound reverberating through the body and the universe. Running underneath and intensifying that sense, one of those voices is Jay’s own chant, weaving into the Hindu sacred space a Christian sacred space. While Bhagavan chants to the mother, Jay chants to the father.


         We move into meditation. At first we do not realize that the images above and on the altar which have suddenly become magnified, their faces alive, their bodies moving, are in fact not trance images, but superimposed on the image of the chanting Bhagavan. We are surprised when one and then another breath-takingly turns emerald, sapphire, violet, or gold, the higher chakra colors. The spirituality of the images is real and now. They seem less to be representations than incarnations, especially the remarkable image of a young, vibrant Jesus looking heavenward, his face alight in epiphany and reverence.


         Yet the images come and go. In this way Jay and Bhagavan pull us in and out of trance, to become conscious again of the words, the message – reminding us that this experience is devotion, it is not a psychedelic trip. That mood of devotion is maintained by the golden white light, Bhagavan and Jay’s golden voices, and the silver thread of Jay’s keyboard raga woven through the voices.


         The interplay of rhythm, asynchrony, and camera position is the aesthetic that reinforces devotion and situates the human within the sacred cosmos. The camera position on reverential Bhagavan de-emphasizes human ego as the subject. Jay intended the subject to be the dancing light itself, which is the Light. There is the rhythm of the chanting voices, and the rhythm of the body moving to the chant, creating the dancing of light on the shoulder. There is the rhythm of the superimposed images, filmed by Kirk Roberts, that come and go. And there is the rhythm of the music that itself speaks of Light, and evokes sunlight on water. The ethereal, serene quality of the music is essential to meditation and to integrating the experience of the whole body, mind, and soul.


         We feel the unity of the voices with the image of Bhagavan Das’ moving body. Yet all of the voices are asynchronous with that movement. This asynchrony, which with the other varying rhythms of the images and sounds, induces trance, is not an illusion. Bhagavan was actually filmed performing a different, 10-minute chant on the day of the eclipse. Later he was recorded performing the “1000 Names of the Mother” chant as Jay simultaneously played keyboard. The raga Jay had composed was for a 10-minute chant, however. He had to unexpectedly improvise an additional 30 minutes of music on the spot. Certainly that improvisation was inspired, and augments the sense that the moment is both ancient and newly created before the viewer. Then, Jay recorded his own 40-minute chant, after which Bhagavan recorded the “1000 Names of the Mother” chant again while listening to Jay’s recording. All three recordings together constitute the multiple voices we hear in the film. Jay slowed the 10 minutes of film to make 40 minutes of images, the primary source of asynchrony between voice and movement. The slowed image becomes the dance of the body, the dance of the light, and the means of connecting the varying rhythms in the film.


         When the voices stop, we come back to the beginning. This time there is no sound, as now a sheer curtain sways gracefully on the polished hardwood floor, patches of sunlight brightening the prevailing sepia that evokes timelessness. To the side is the film’s title. All is moving, yet all is still.


         Dualisms fall away in this film. The natural is the Spiritual, the real is the Real. Eclipse light is unlike any other light: at once the natural light we expect every day from the sun, and yet entirely different, entirely spiritual, hyper-real. It transforms our sense of light. Chant takes us into the Real through real voices, and here in the film, we hear the very natural, human sound of Bhagavan occasionally clearing his throat – a sound that, like the superimposed images that come and go, grounds us in the world of our material being.


         While many people follow some form of spiritual practice, we live in a historical period and sociocultural context in which the pace and distractions of everyday life leave little room for concentrated attention on devotion, prayer, and meditation. “Eclipse Puja” offers us a place and a space where beauty, spirit, deity, and the sacred are celebrated and honored in meditation, devotion, joyful tranquility, and humility. In doing so, it re-centers and balances our experience of our own being, and guides us back into the Light that is the foundation of all being.



Karen Ann Watson-Gegeo, Ph.D.

Poet and Anthropologist

University of California, Davis


netcast services