Lead singer / songwriter Svetozar and the group AuraMira (which translates as “aura of the world”) are a Slavic revival folk ensemble from Russia. Formed in 2010, they have been performing in Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic states, and are known for their joyful and sing-along friendly concerts focused on traditional slavic themes.1
The song “Lyudi Boga Vedayut” (“Люди Бога ведают”) is from their album of the same name.2 The original title and sole verse in this song in Russian translates into something like “people know god,” although an exact translation of this verse into English is a bit difficult since there is no single equivalent of the word “Vedayut.” The meaning and feeling of of this verse is something like people know / know of / sense / perceive / are aware of / have faith in / have sacred knowledge of god, evoking the feeling of sensing the divine in life. The verse is repeated throughout the song in variations.
Interestingly, this very word, which is typically used in the Russian language in a devotional context, shares a Proto-Indo-European root with the Sanskrit word “Vedas” and the Vedic tradition, where it is also understood to mean “knowledge, wisdom”, “sacred knowledge,” or in an active sense “to see” or “to know.”3
The song is also preceded by the mantra Aum / Om, probably the most known mantra in the world, which in ancient Hindu sacred texts is said to represent Brahman or the Absolute / the source of creation, and it is a mantra of the spiritual sun.4
This song has now been added to our music gallery. More songs like it can be found here:
Sadly, when researching this group of musicians, an incident related to the suppression of traditional symbols of the sun in Russia has also come to light:
Quite shockingly, according to the Russian newspaper Derzhava Segodnia, in November of 2016 Svetozar as well as the drummer from AuraMira were arrested in the middle of one of their concerts by the Russian authorities for displaying “Propaganda or public demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols, or paraphernalia or symbols of extremist organizations, or other paraphernalia or symbols, propaganda or public demonstration which is prohibited by the federal laws.” The so called “Nazi paraphernalia” were swastika symbols sewn into their traditional Slavic clothes.5
The swastika, or yarga as it is called in Russian, is a symbol of the sun that is at least 13,000 years old and is a very prominent traditional motif in Slavic clothing (as well as in many other traditions of the sun around the world) and has been used as such throughout history with no affiliation to the comparatively short-lived use of this symbol by the Nazi party in the 20th century. It should also be noted that the Nazi swastika had a very specific design to it, with a red background, a white circle, and a black swastika in its center, and this design should not be confused with other swastika designs.
The arrest is particularly jarring given the peaceful nature of the band, whose members clearly have no Nazi affiliations nor intentions of holding a public demonstration of that nature, and whose self-stated mission is simply to inspire a revival of Slavic culture, to show the richness and joy of this tradition, and to inspire people to get back to their roots and experience a healthier and happier lifestyle.6
Holding an arrest of this nature in public during a peaceful performance that is clearly unrelated to Nazi propaganda appears to be a show of force against the wave of Slavic revival taking place in Russia and throughout Eastern Europe. Thankfully the band members were released, but through this incident it appears that somebody wanted to send a message through this very public and unnecessary arrest.
Fortunately, the band does not seem to have been phased by this as they continue their performances and the use of the traditional clothes and symbols of their culture. Their wish is to spread “Love, joy, happiness, inspiration and clarity of consciousness” through their music.7
Note: this article has been updated on January 31, 2018.
Featured image of AuraMira is a screenshot from the video featured in this post.
The song and album are available here on AuraMira’s SoundCloud gallery: https://soundcloud.com/auramira/sets/ludibogavedayut
“Veda (n.).” Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed January 30, 2018. https://www.etymonline.com/word/veda.
Светлая Русь. “Арестован Светозар из группы Аурамира.” ДЕРЖАВА СЕГОДНЯ. November 06, 2016. Accessed January 31, 2018. http://derzhava.today/arestovan-svetozar-iz-gruppy-auramira/. The article can be read via Google translate here.