Sri. R. Balakrishnan, well known as "Sai Premi"
hails from a music oriented family. He had himself undergone
training in the classic music. From the early years, he was, like
his elder brother, very much interested in singing devotional
songs, based on 'Sampradaya Bhajana'.
Sri Balakrishnan and family became the devotees
of Bhagavan Baba, from the early years. Being a natural talented
singer, he was attracted by the melody of Sai Bhajans. His days
were filled with Bhajans and Bhajans alone. He is so committed
to Sai Bhajans that, the only topic in his conversations would
always be Bhajan.
During the last two decades of his service in the
Government, Mr. Balakrishnan was working in the Madras city. I
got acquainted with him since both of us were members of the
T'Nagar Samithi. At the end of the Bhajan, after Arathi is taken,
Mr. Balakrishnan sings, in his melodious voice, the 'Laali', which is a 'lullaby', in various ragas.
Just a few years back, he crossed 60 years. On this happy
occasion Swami had given him interviews on three consecutive
days. Swami materialized a ring of Navaratnas for him. During the personal interview, Swami told him that he is always
present in his Bhajans and that Swami liked his Laali songs
very much. This instilled him to greater dedication.
I had been a witness to many miracles happening
while he was singing the Bhajans. Yes, it was in the residence of
a devotee, at Anna Nagar, Madras, while he was singing, Vibhuthi
was flowing from various pictures profusely. There
were small pieces of sugar candy too. At the end of the Bhajans a
Siva lingam had also appeared in the flowers offered at the Lotus
The monthly Bhajans used to be a big occasion in our house.
No doubt, Mr. Balakrishnan and his team would always be
present. On one such occasion, apparently he turned emotional
while singing the 'Laali' in our house. The 'Laali'
hat day was very elaborate, rendered in different ragas. We
were thrilled to witness the bunch of flowers kept at the top of a picture of Bhagavan, raising up and down,
keeping in tune and pace with the tala. As soon as the song was
over, the flower would rest at its place. Every body who
participated in the Bhajan, witnessed this great miracle.
According to various saints and seers, in this Kali yuga,
Naama sankeertan(Bhajans) is the best and smooth method of
attaining salvation. Surging the names and glory of the Lord, with
devotion, dedication and discipline, purifies the mind of the
devotee. How soulfully Swami renders the Bhajan, "Bhajana
bina sukha shanthi nahin ", 'There is no peace or Sukh
i.e., real happiness in life, without 'Nama sankeertan'
With the Lord's names constantly on the lips, one is bound to
reach nearer and nearer to HIM. The very process of getting
proximity to Him, is a process of imbibing all the divine
Bhajans mechanically and routinely rendered, do not reach
Bhagavan. It is Bhajan with the bhava or devotion which
carries us to our Swami. "If we switch on the rape recorder, it
will start singing. Has it any devotion value ?" asks Swami. When
we sing the name of the Lord, our mind should dwell only on the
thoughts of the Lord. Bhava should be developed along with
raga and thala. It is only then we are in real sense,
involved in Bhajan. We will be able to derive unalloyed joy,
overcoming the opposing dual experiences like pain and pleasure.
The sole purpose of devotion is to pray (I) for the Lord to be
ever in the abode of our heart, (Hrudaya Nivasi) and (2) for
leading us to contemplate on the Lord in all states of our
Basically, all of us are supremely good. And yet, we find
ourselves whirling in the ocean of samsaara with the
duality of experiences of, happiness and sorrow. All our knowledge
and wisdom would be mere dry bones without the elevating grip of
Bhakthi and nama smarana is the easiest and best expression
of Bhakthi. It is the Bhakthi through Bhajans which rescue us from
the travails of the life and take us proximate to the Lord.
What a transformation, Bhajans bring about
bodily, mentally and spiritually! "Prashanthi Bhajans" is indeed
unique in this respect and has come to be renowned as such viz.,
Prashanthi Bhajans. A true Prashanthi style Bhajan has
come to represent certain excellence of discipline,
devotion, and dedication. More than the mere leading and
repeating of the Bhajans, the orderly seating and sitting of
Gents & Ladies separately in rows, one behind the other, with
closed eyes and clapping hands, with tongues & lips engaged on
following the Bhajans and with minds concentrated on the Lord is
something unique. This results in "Ananda", a spiritual elevation.
No wonder, Prashanthi Bhajans is not only an introduction to
the spiritual upliftment, but it helps in the spiritual
realization itself. Prashanthi style Bhajans has indeed been
Swami's most prized gift to humanity.
Swami's Bhajan is a beautiful and effective means of
developing discipline, peace, and love. The Bhajans, so subtly
and continuously influence the attitudes, behavior and lives of
the participant, that it results not only in bringing about a
spiritual transformation of men and women but surely leads to the
realization of supreme experience.
As we develop supreme devotion through Bhajans, very often we
go into a state of contemplation too, and our lives are enriched
constantly. The palms of our hands are reverently brought
together in prayer for His Grace and Protection. Our heads are
bent in humble contemplation. Our bodies are thrilled by the
fervor of devotion, at times indicated by the hair standing on
end. Our voice is choked with feelings of deep devotion and our
eyes well up with tears of Joy. The constant repetition of
"names" of the Lord create vibrations all over. We do not require
any "Gnana" knowledge or wisdom. Only sincere devotion
will lead you to the highest level of spirituality.
We should get always engaged ourselves in chanting the names
of the Lord. The holy names acquire power when repeated with
utmost devotion. The holy name will cut off everything hostile in
our way. We should develop a total faith in the name of Lord. It
will rescue one from Samsaara. It helps us in the attainment of complete freedom and mastery. Ultimately, the
constant chanting of sacred names of Lord enable us to reach the
fruition of our life.
Swami says that there are two types of Bhajans.
One is the group singing which is time bound. The other
Bhajan which Swami wants us to follow is the life long Bhajan,
rendered in quietitude and silence, throughout our
existence. I reproduce below extracts from Swami's Divine
Discourse at the conclusion of the Sivrathri Bhajans on 24-2-1
?Throughout last night, you have sung Bhajans
and kept vigil, as part of the Sivarathri Celebrations. This
Ararhi marks the end of that Bhajan sessions; but, only of the
outer, congregational, vocal part, and not of the inner solitary
silent Bhajan that must be the very breath of your existence.?
?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. That is all that Bhajan or Puja or
Vratha can do. Bhajan induces in you a desire for
experiencing the truth, to glimpse the beauty that God is; taste
the Bliss that is the Self; it encourages man to dive into himself
and be genuinely his real self. Once that search is desired, the
path is easy. One has only to be reminded that he is divine, for
malady is: its being thrust our of recognition. Exercises
like Bhajan elevate the mind and exhort the individual to seek and
find the source of eternal joy. that lies within him.?
?The Maha-sivarathri Festival is over; but,
the message of the Day is yet fructify in your behavior, conduct,
thinking and activity. Do not rest content with a nightlong Bhajan
Make it a Life- long Bhajan, of adoration, of pilgrimage to the
We should understand the significance of
Swami's sermons. As we are breathing continuously, likewise, we
should be always breath in Nama Smarana. When Bhagavan Baba was in
His early teens, He used to compose and sing various Bhajan songs.
One such song goes as under:
Govindhedhi Sadha Snanam
Govindhedhi Sadha Dhyanam
Sadha Govinda Keertanam
The meaning: "By chanting whose name, all the sins committed by
anybody are eradicated, I bow to that HARI, the destroyer of all
Sai Bhajans are so simple and easy for everybody
to repeat. It is not a passive Bhajan. This is an active Bhajan
where everybody including children can participate.
During the first All India Conference of Sai Seva
Organization held in Madras, Swami had emphasized the importance
of Nama Sankirtan. From then on, the Sai Bhajans had become a
very popular activity. After some years, Swami gave a new
direction to His devotees. It was during the First World
Conference held in Bombay, that Bhagavan directed the devotees,
to awake early in the morning, and as group, to move along the
roads near their place of residence, singing aloud the names and
glory of the Lord. Swami named this programme as "Nagar
Sankeertan ". Ultimately, this programme was made compulsory
for all the active workers of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations,
all over the country and overseas too and included as one of
the Nine point Code of conduct to be observed by the Active
workers. Swami had also given detailed guidelines of this
A few centuries ago, Maha Prabhu Sri Krishna
Chaithanya took the Bhajans to the streets. Singing the
Lord's Names aloud and dancing through the streets, in ecstasy,
Maha Prabhu infused highest level of devotion through Nama
Sankeertan. Bhagavan Baba had perhaps revived this cult of
devotion through Nagar Sankeertan.
Fittingly, during the First world conference,
the stage from where Bhagavan directed His devotees to organize
Nagar Sankeertan, the two huge Portraits of Saint Thyagaraja, and
Maha Prabhu Sri Krishna Chaithanya formed the back drop.
Bhagavan always commences His Divine discourses, through an
Aalaap, conveying a spirutual message, and ends up with
singing of one or more Bhajans. Swami sings in his Divine voice,
and the capacity crowds, sometimes in millions, take up the lead
from Swami and repeats. It is always a sight to see, the vast
humanity of devotees following the Lord. Every devotee sings
with delight and ecstasy. Singing the Names, in full throated
voice brings Ananda to all the devotees.
Swami has given assurance that, ?Wherever My Name is
sung, I manifest myself? Come my dear Devotees, let us
from now on, attend Sai Bhajans with deep devotion, for
Bhajan is seeing God through sound i.e., realizing the
Author's statement in:
Many of you may
be aware that I had authored a book with the title "Sri Sathya Sai
Hrudaya Nivasi (Indweller of Hearts). This book had seen the third
reprint, and is being sold in Bhagavan's Bookstall at Prashanthi
Nilayam. Many of you would have purchased and many would not have
got chance to go to Parthi and get the book. After the third
edition, this may not go to print again. As such I wish to bring
the contents of this book to each and every one of you.
Starting from today I shall post one chapter every week or if
possible twice a week, depending upon the response I get from you
all. I would request you to kindly read it and then re-circulate
it to your other friends in the Sai Family.
The text could be transferred to your hard disk, and if possible
print outs taken out.
Utilize the contents, as much as you like.
With Lots of Love and regards