How to Conduct and Sing Bhajans? Satya Sai Baba Advises

Posted: February 1, 2010 in Bajan, Chanting, Discipline, Effort, Japa, Kali Yuga, Loose Talk, Meditation, Mind, Practise, Sadhana

Question: How often should we have bhajans, and where should we have them?

Satya Sai Baba, “Have the bhajans on as many days as possible or at least once a week. Have them in a central place where all can come.” (pg. 132, The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist)

Question: In what language should we sing bhajans? 

Satya Sai Baba, “Any devotional song, in any language can be sung as long as all can follow.”  (pg. 29, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Question: What bhajans should we sing?

Satya Sai Baba, “Sing familiar bhajans, so that all can share in ananda (bliss).”  (pg. 29, Sai Bhajana Mala, 29)

Question: How should we sing bhajans?

Satya Sai Baba, “When you sing bhajans, dwell on the meaning of the song and the message of each name and form of God.”  (pg. 30, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Question: What experience we get from bhajans?

Satya Sai Baba, “Bhajan has to be a thrilling experience, which must leave the participants full of pure energy and elevated enthusiasm.”  (pg. 29, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Question: How do bhajans help?

Satya Sai Baba, “Bhajan must spread good-will, love, ecstasy; it must cleanse the polluted atmosphere; it must invite all to share in the joy and peace. The nagarsankirtan (congregational singing of bhajans) must be radiating devotion and love. The ananda (bliss) I derive from bhajan I do not derive from anything else. That is the reason I am emphasizing these points. Fill every moment with energy, enthusiasm, and effort.  (Pg. 47-48, SSS VIII)

Question: Must everyone participate in the singing?

Satya Sai Baba, “Some persons attending bhajans do not move their lips at all. They may say that they are singing the songs mentally within themselves. This is not proper … You must sing the names aloud, full-throated, as far as the voice can reach. Only then the Divine will respond in full measure and shower His grace. No one will go to the rescue of a drowning man if his cries are feeble.”  (SS, 35, April 1992, 70)
Satya Sai Baba, “Sing aloud the glory of God and charge the atmosphere with divine adoration . . . This is why I insist on group singing of the names of the Lord.” (pg. 239, SSS, VI)
Satya Sai Baba, “Some of you do not sing aloud in Bhajan. When a man has fallen into a well and is unable to get out, he does not mutter to himself. He shouts aloud to get men to save him. What in plenty do you do to drive away birds sitting on the branch? You clap your hands loudly. Similarly sing the names of Govinda, Gopala, Narayana aloud, and clap your hands vigorously so that birds of Evil Passion, the Kama, Krodha, infesting your mind shall fly away. Make your Life worthwhile. (21.07.1980 Prashanti)

Satya Sai Baba, “…When you sing bhajan songs, dwell on the meaning of the songs and the message of each name and form of God and roll on your tongue its sweetness.  (pg. 134, The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist)  

Question: What about the melody and rhythm?

Satya Sai Baba, “Together with melody and rhythm, you have to impart feeling to your singing to make the bhajan a sacred offering to the Divine. A tune without feeling is an infliction. Giving up conceit and exhibitionism, you must sing the bhajans in a spirit of humility and devotion. That is the right way to perform bhajans.”  (pg. 30, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Question: What should be the attitude of the lead singers and others?

Satya Sai Baba, “Bhajan must be a felt experience. Do not sing with one eye on the effect the song makes on the listeners and the other on the effect it makes on God.”  (pg. 60, SSS VIII, 60)

Question: How could this be done?

Satya Sai Baba, “Bhajans have to be sung and offered to God in an attitude of utter humility; they are not to be taken as exercises in an exhibition of talents or as competitions for mastery of musical skill. They have to please the Lord, not your fans.” (pg. 177, SSS IX)

Satya Sai Baba, “Bhajans should be sung with complete obliviousness to the body.  Devotional fervor is more important than musical skill.”  (pg. 156, SS, June 1996)

Satya Sai Baba, “Pay attention to the tune, the meaning, the variety, the voice, the raga (rhythm), the tala (beat), and other fine points of the bhajans.”  (pg. 30, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Satya Sai Baba, “Let your heart pant for God, then the raga (rhythm) and tala (beat) will automatically be pleasant and correct.”  (pg. 60, SSS VII)

Satya Sai Baba, “Do not monopolize the time in bhajans by singing one song for six or ten minutes, repeating the same line often. Repeat each line twice and no more. Have only two speeds; one slow and the other, fast. In this way you can have in one hour of bhajan, more songs on more forms, more tunes and more variety, giving more people a chance.” (pg. 438, SSS VII)

Question: Do voice and musical abilities matter?

Satya Sai Baba, “Let those with a good voice and musical talent lead; the keertan (singing the name of God) must be pleasant, it should not jar on the earIf your voice is grating or out of tune, do not disturb the melody, but, repeat the namavali (song reciting the name of God) in your mind.”  (pgs. 177-178, SSS VII)

Satya Sai Baba, “If your voice is not pleasant or sweet, keep quiet; that is the best service you can do.”  (pg. 31, Sai Bhajana Mala)

[Devotional singing (bhajans)] is the process of singing that originates in the heart, not from the lips or the tongue. It is the expression of the joyous thrill that wells up from the heart when the Glory of God is remembered. It is the spontaneous manifestation of inner ecstasy. No attention is paid to the blame or praise that others may give. It does not seek the admiration or the appreciation of the listeners.  (pg. 84, SSS X

Question: How could the bhajans be ended?

Satya Sai Baba, “After bhajans … there should be meditation for five to ten minutes.” (pg. 31, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Satya Sai Baba, “People should return from bhajan carrying the elevated, uplifted and sublime mood created by the atmosphere at the bhajan. Therefore, after the bhajan people should disperse quietly, maintaining silence.  Then the joy and peace derived at the bhajan will linger and abide in the heart.” (pg. 31, Sai Bhajana Mala, 31)

Question: Any other advice on conducting effective bhajans?

Satya Sai Baba, “Have [bhajans] . . . as simple as you can and without competitive pomp or show; reduce expenses to a minimum, for God cares for the inner yearning and not the outer trappings. Even this small unavoidable expenditure must be silently shared, spontaneously … not collected by means of a plate … or a subscription or donation list.”  (pg. 220, SSS VI)

Satya Sai Baba, “Devotional singing (bhajan) is one of the processes by which you can train the mind to expand into eternal values. Teach the mind to revel in the glory and majesty of God; wean it away from petty horizons of pleasure . . . Devotional singing induces in you a desire for experiencing the truth, to glimpse the beauty that is God, to taste the bliss that is the Self. It encourages man to dive into himself and be genuinely his real Self. (pg. 497-498, SSS VII)

Question: Do bhajans help us spiritually?

Satya Sai Baba, “Devotional singing (bhajan) is a spiritual practice (sadhana) for all who share in it.” (pg. 30, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Satya Sai Baba, “Remember, every song sung in praise of the Lord is a sword that cuts the knots of laziness. It is a fine piece of social service to remind all of their duty to the Almighty, who watches over them.”  (pg. 134, The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist)

Satya Sai Baba, “. …Realize that there is nothing greater than bhajan. What bliss is there in bhajans! What a demonstration of oneness is it when a myriad throats join in uttering the name of God! The vibrations emanating from them make the heart vibrant. If you sing alone in your shrine, the vibrations return to you as a reaction. But in community singing, what you have is not a reaction but a wave of vibrations. They enter into the atmosphere and purify the polluted air. The atmosphere today is polluted by bad thoughts and feelings. When you sing the glory of God, the bad germs in the air are destroyed and the air gets purified by a treatment of anti-biotics, as it were.  (pg. 26, SS, Jan. 1995)

Satya Sai Baba, “When all the participants in a bhajan sing in unison, what sacred vibrations are produced and what Divine energies are released! When these vibrations fill the world, what changes cannot they bring about! When one sings alone, the heart is merged in the song. But when many sing together, it acquires a Divine power.” (pg. 30, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Satya Sai Baba, “The procession to the cremation ground starts immediately on birth and the beating of the heart is the drum beat for the march towards that place. Some take a longer route, some reach quickly, but all are on the way. Therefore, devotional singing (bhajan) has to start in the childhood and has to continue. It must be the constant companion of man, his solace and strength. Do not postpone it to old age, for it is essential food for the mind.”  (pg. 123, SSS I)

Satya Sai Baba, “The tongue is the post, devotional singing (bhajan) is the rope; with that rope, you can bring God Almighty near you and tie Him up so that His grace becomes yours.”  (pg. 52, SSS VII)

Satya Sai Baba, “Take for example, there is a tree. It is full of birds. They make a mess all over. How to get rid of these noisy ones?  You should clap loudly. Similarly, in this tree of life, there are birds of desire. The heart therefore becomes dirty. In order to cleanse it, do devotional singing (bhajans).”  (Kodaikanal discourse, April 12, 1996)

Satya Sai Baba, “Think of [devotional singing (bhajan)] as a part of spiritual training to be seriously taken for reducing the attachment to fleeting objects, and purifying and strengthening you, liberating you from the cycle of birth and death and consequent misery. It may appear a frail cure for such a dreadful malady. Nevertheless, it is a panacea.”  (pg. 132, The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist)

Satya Sai Baba, “In this busy age of fear and anxiety, the remembrance of God and repetition of His name is the one means of liberation that is accessible to all.”  (pg. 30, Sai Bhajana Mala)

Satya Sai Baba, “Let your whole life be a spiritual song. Believe that God is everywhere at all times, and derive strength, comfort, and joy by singing His glory in His presence.” (pg. 94, SSS X)

  1. […] How to Conduct and Sing Bhajans? Satya Sai Baba Advises … – 1/2/2010 · Question: How often should we have bhajans, and where should we have them? Satya Sai Baba, “Have the bhajans on as many days as possible or at least …… […]

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