Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

Reader 1

Andrew Jacobs

Reader 2

Erika Dyson

Rights Information

© 2017 Paolina M Siqueira-Koo


This thesis approaches the connection of the experience of sound/music and the experience of religion. The investigation applies a methodology of lens analysis, using the religious and mystical theories of Rudolf Otto and William James, to the case-study of Mantric chanting in a contemporary diasporic, orthopractic tradition of Sikh mysticism--3HO Kundalini Yoga. It is concluded that the experiences of sound/music and of religion are connected insofar as they are intrinsically corporeal experiences that exhibit a paradoxical immersive transcendence; Immersive because of how inescapably corporeally based they are, and yet transcendent because of how they can transport one’s consciousness to states of knowing, feeling, and understanding that are camouflaged from ordinary (non-musical, non-religious) mundane corporeal experiences.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 3 | Introduction 4 | What is a Mantra? 8 | Can Mantras be considered as Music? 13 | Chapter I 17 | Healthy, Happy, Holy 17 | Chapter II 22 | Experience and Belief in Understanding the Results of Kundalini Mantras 22 | Authority and Knowledge 23 | Understanding Mantras from the Yogic Context 26 | On the Inherent Corporeality of Mystic Knowledge 34 | Chapter III 35 | Lens Dialogue 35 | Non-Rationality in Numinous and Musical Experiences 37 | Music and the Mystical Experience 41 | Chapter IV 43 | Conclusion 43 | Works Cited 47 |