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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teachings


 (Indweller of Hearts)
By Bombai Srinivasan

Chapter 29
Bhajana Bina...

A few years back, Sri. B. Ganesh, an MBA student in `Swami's college, was delivering a talk in the immediate presence of Bhagavan Baba Expatiating on the various divine aspects of Swami, he  recalled a miracle which happened in his house, in the cit of Karwar where his father, Sri. Balakrishnan was working as an Engineer, in the Telecommunication Department. One day, after the Bhajans were over, they were pleasantly surprised to find a small vighraha of Sri Krishna which had appeared miraculously in the altar where they were singing Bhajans. The whole family  rejoiced  over it. A vast gathering of devotees assembled in the Bhajan hall were overjoyed by this Leela of Swami.

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 Feet.

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 qualities.

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 existence.

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 24-2-1 971.

?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 Lord within.?

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,japam

Govindhedhi Sadha Dhyanam

Sadha Govinda Keertanam

The meaning thereby:

Always say Govinda, while taking bath;

Always do japa saying Govinda.

Always meditate on the Name Govinda.

Always engage in singing the Name of Govind.

In the initial paragraphs of this chapter, I had made reference to Sai Premi, Sri. R. Balakrishnan. We used to sit together very often and talk about the efficacy of Nama Sankeertan. He had given me valuable points on the Prashanthi Bhajans, some of which, I wish to share with you and I am reproducing them below.  He quotes:

"Nama Sankeertanam Yasya

Sarva papa Pranayanam

Pranamo Dhuhka Samanaastham

Namaami Harim Param "

The meaning: "By chanting whose name, all the sins committed by anybody are eradicated, I bow to that HARI, the destroyer of all sorrows".

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 activity.

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 Naada Brahma.

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
Bombay Srinivasan


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