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The Art of the Gong



The Art of the Gong

This area can be played upward or downward to full effect. But the sun area must never be
struck in the center. Instead hit the sun area just inside the boundary of its zone. Start to play
from the edges of the sun.

Playing point 6 will induce earthiness. Playing point 12 will create a sense of loftiness. Playing
the sun region will create vastness and a sense of power. Points 3 and 9 will create imagination
and projection.

The Gong and the Chakras

The sound of the gong projects to all the chakras and can be used as a powerful instrument to
open and balance them. It can also enliven and integrate the 10 bodies of the aura. Certain areas
on the gong relate to different chakras. The relationship of the points to each other as well as the
type of sound produced by rhythmically striking that area determine the impact of these points.
The points played in combination create an impact that is like the complex patterns of a many
faceted orchestra. The diagram below summarizes the relationship of the chakras to the basic
percussion points.

Chakra Percussion Points


The gong is a complete image of the subtle world.
This chart shows the points on the gong that relate to each chakra.

One of the significant features of the gong is the interactive nature of the sounds it produces.
The gong produces a note projected against a background spectrum of notes. Each note
interacts with the background. They alter each other. This creates a complex, non-linear pattern
that interweaves the sense of the whole with the sense of the part. You can feel this in your body
when you listen to the gong. The entire body vibrates and changes as specific areas of the body
are pressed and stimulated by the waves of the gong. Whatever the relationship was between
your body parts and the whole of the body, it is challenged and transformed by a good gong
session. The chakras usually act in concert, functioning in pairs and trios not alone and singular.
The gong helps the chakras to interrelate and coordinate. They are freed from emotional
patterns that lessen their fluidity and responsiveness.

Sequence and Rhythm of the Strokes

There are unlimited sequences and rhythms to play on the gong. They are as varied as music and
imagination. One of the best ways to learn is to watch and listen to the videotapes of Yogi Bhajan
when he uses the gong in meditation classes.

The diagram on the next page is an example of a sequence demonstrated by Yogi Bhajan in a
gong class. The gong sequence begins with a baseline built up by percussion at the 9 o’clock
point. This is intensified with a rapid 1 to 3 beat combination between the 9 and left side of the
sun region. The heart is expanded and the entire mind feels elevated. Then the energy is
distributed throughout the body with a rotation between points 9, 6, 3, and 12. Then the energy
is concentrated through the heart center. Then the 0 position is played at an increased 3 1/2
rhythm. This builds the sun and Kundalini energy strongly. Loudness increases along with the
feeling of inner energy and fullness. Then the sequence rotates the points again to distribute and
balance the energy. The 6 o’clock position is played with a consistent down-stroke to concretize
and contain the sense of mental energy. And lastly resting the padded mallet at the center of
the sun region stills the gong. In a class, the students would sit and meditate silently after this
sequence. They would become mindful. The mind’s state is changed and is exceptionally clear.

The diagram shows a yogi sitting in easy pose with the hands over the knees. The rhythm of the
beat changes the area of impact of the sound on the body. The lower region is affected more by
the slow beat. The higher centers are affected more by the fast beat.

As you play the gong you guide the experience of the listener through various blends of these
qualities. Like an artist, you can color the composition in innumerable hues and shades. The
sequence described in the diagram above will clear the mind, give you energy and allow you to
relax from worry. It also strengthens the immune system.