“MUSIC is the Divine Power; the very gift of Divinity to Creation by the Divine. Let us ever bow before it, keeping it in the service of Divine only – as the most ‘Sacred Mirror’ capable of reflecting the Divine and the Soul with its varied expressions in life.”
Sur Laya Sangam – Study Center for Indian Devotional Music (referred to as Sur Laya Sangam) was founded in 1992. Its inception was inspired by the life work of India’s renowned spiritual vocalists, Pandit Pran Nath and Sri Karunamayee.
‘Sur Laya Sangam’ gatherings began in Berkeley, California in the home of Pandit Pran Nath, as a student forum to share the music that the master was disseminating to his pupils. Pandit Pran Nath himself would sit for these initial intimate circles. He subsequently blessed the formation of Sur Laya Sangam as one of the channels to reflect his music legacy, which he established in the west throughout his lifetime. During her visits in the early 1990’s, Sri Karunamayee added her support in forming the foundations of the organization. Subsequently she began traveling regularly to the U.S. at the request of Pandit Pran Nath, to teach aspiring students and to offer her music. Her foremost interest and focus was to uphold the music that Pandit Pran Nath had established, and to expand the dimensions of its understanding among student practitioners and appreciators.
After Pandit Pran Nath’s passing in 1996, Sur Laya Sangam continued to develop under the sustained guidance of Sri Karunamayee, expanding its offerings of classes, seminars and retreats, and upholding its mission to promote spiritual and cultural interface. In 2004, Sur Laya Sangam presented the Tsunami Relief Concert to benefit those affected by the tsunami disaster. Sur Laya Sangam co-sponsored a concert with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in its 1999 exhibit, ‘Arts of The Sikh Kingdoms’, marking the 300th year anniversary of the founding of the Sikh religion. In 2011 and 2012 the program, ‘Singing Gandhi Peace Prayers’, was presented as an interfaith offering at several spiritual centers including, Newman Hall – Holy Spirit Chapel, in Berkeley; Badarikashrama in San Leandro and Cultural Integration Fellowship in San Francisco.
Sur Laya Sangam – Study Center for Indian Devotional Music continues to offer classes and concerts, serving students and appreciators in their interest in India’s spiritual vocal music. Our music activities are concentrated primarily in the San Francisco bay area.