realisation

Bhajans – Singing for Him

Meaning:

The etymology of Bhajan has stemmed from the root word ‘Bhaj’– “to honour, adore.”  Thus, singing Bhajans is a form of active involvement of a devotee in the worship of the Divine. It is the Love, respect and adoration felt by the worshipper towards his/her own personal God. The kind of love expressed for Krishna in Meera Bhajans or the state in which Chaitanya Maha Prabhu sung for His Lord transporting every listener into His divine realm, enabling them to visualize their Lord, through the Bhajans. Singing Adoration, bhajana; in His name forcing him to listen and appear is the essence of a Bhajan.

History and Origin:

 Bhakti, as explained on the Wikipedia, is the technical term meaning ‘portion or share’. Bhajans are a way or means of showing ‘Bhakti’ or Devotion by the aspirant. Bhajans are that part of bhakti where the devotee rapturously sings praise of the Divine and expresses his/her true love, adoration, devotion to the Lord.

 Bhajans first found their mention and place in the Hindu Scriptures in the Sama Veda, the fourth Veda in the Hindu scriptures. They have been informally sung and practiced from the time Devotion or bhakti found vocal expression. They have established a distinctive place different from Sanskrit shloka and Hymns by virtue of their easy flow, simplicity and instant appeal to the common mass. A Bhajan is usually rendered in the colloquial dialect, simple tune accompanied by single musical instrument, touching the innermost chords of every devotee. The rendition is simple, straight from the heart and voices the inner feeling, love adoration of every true worshipper, encouraging the devotee to sing, imbibe and love the Lord through the Bhajans. The fixed tunes, repetition of words mesmerize the listener and help bring an inner transformation. Most Bhajans describe the God’s glories; are interlaced and beautifully woven with anecdotes and episodes from the Lord’s life.

Types of Bhajans:

A dive into the past will reveal the ubiquitous nature of Bhajans in every home and at the core of every ardent devotee’s heart. In the Haridas tradition Bhajans are more popularly known as Kirtans, the way they are addressed by musicians in Southern India. Nirguna bhakti, Vallabhapanthi, Madhura bhakti, Gorakhanathi is some still prevalent traditions of Bhajan singing. Each sect has their own distinctive styles and way of singing.

History reveals that Kirtans or Bhajans started primarily in southern India and spread to the Northern parts. The spearheads of this method of communion with god were Alvars, the Vaishnavites and Nayanars, download mobile Ben 10 game Shaivites in the late 5th century AD or the early 6th Century. The Alvars and the Nayanars eminent singers/saints lyrical, ecstatic, moving devotional compositions were eventually incorporated by the Ramanuja and Madhava philosophical systems.

This period was dominated by the Muslim rulers in the Northern part and only by the middle of the medieval period, somewhere between the 14th to the 17th century did singers/ philosophers/saints like Meera Bai, Kabir, Chaitanya MahaPrabhu, Tulsidas and Tukaram, to name a few, spearheaded the Bhakti movement in the North through their soul searing renditions and melodious compositions in the praise of the Lord. The pivotal message of these saints was to cast aside meaningless rituals and complexities of philosophy and simply immerse oneself in the true divine love for the Divine.

All the aforementioned saints attained salvation singing for Him and Him alone oblivious to all else. With their eyes closed and lost to all else, meditating on the lotus feet or form of the Lord invoking His appearance. They realized through Bhajans and attained Nirvana singing for him.

Even Islam has Sufi music, akin to our Bhajans. Sufi saints attain communion with Allah singing His praise. The central theme behind Sufism is meditation and finding the truth, similar to what Chaitanya Maha prabhu and Shankara, Madhavacharya and Ramanuja philosophy and preaching. Bhajans and Sufi music are thus, the song of the soul.

Because of the simplistic nature of the compositions all the assembled devotees would participate, lose self for a while and achieve that state of communion with the Divine singing along with the eminent saints. Bhajan Mandalis and gatherings became the best stress busters. Everyone came eagerly under one roof keeping aside their petty differences, background and cultural gaps; sat together and unhesitatingly participated in the singing. The lyrics, style, music of the Bhajans gives a feeling of being set free or in a state of bliss; something everyone one longs to experience on a more permanent basis.

Music itself is heavenly and devotional music; divine. Bhajans are thus a complete surrender, expression of love and adoration to Him, through music, the language of the heart. It is said that when Purandara Dasa was barred from visiting the temple he started singing and called out the Lord’s name, in sheer grief and forced Lord Vishnu to appear through the wall. This place is today known as Paduranga Vitthala sthala. .

Meera Bai’s love for Krishna and her utter faith in Him and expression of love and adoration in her every waking moment crystallises in her soulful compositions, and also the many times she forced Krishna to save her, and come to her aide.

All the saints of yore attained salvation through any one method or practice followed to the end with sincerity and faith and complete surrender. Ramakrishna Parmahamsa went into a state of Samadhi merging with Goddess kali singing her name. Meera bai attained Samadhi with her beloved Krishna’s chant on her lips. Till Bhajans don’t come straight from the heart they go unheard by the Lord. Such should be the power of these Bhajans, they should be sung for Him, with Him in the heart and the soul rending music must reach Him and force Him to listen, appear and change the heart of the singer. The essence of the Bhajans must change the heart of the devotee and help him/her merge, surrender to Him, through the Bhajans. Then alone can Bhajans be said to be a Bhajans, songs of the soul, sung for Him.

 

Sahaj Marg- Miraculous Path

The biggest hurdle for me on joining Sahaj Marg was letting go of my beautiful and most cherished temple. I had literally created it, handpicked the small idols from different holy places I had visited over the years and almost everything in that temple had some story, memory, meaning attached to it. Even the small lamps that I used were from Kedarnath!

Apart for me amassing them with love and devotion, a few idols that came as a gift, came at very opportune or propitious moments and made their place in the temple permanent. To sum it up the temple was very miraculous and significant to me and I was loathe dismantling it or seeing it leave the house. Maybe that it is why it took me a year to give away without having any qualms or feelings of guilt, fear or shame.

The second, bigger block was the ‘miracles’ that most of my family members used to narrate to me, whenever they visited a temple or their family guru performed a Puja at their place. This bothered me much more than the temple really because in Sahaj Marg we do not have anything like ‘miracles’ and we are seriously advised NOT to look out for or seek miracles! Temple worship is treated a bit leniently in comparison to the new comer seeking miracles in Sahaj Marg, according to me.

I used to listen to my relatives with admiration and slight resentment; envy that I do not have such stories or experiences or miracles to gloat about.  My miniscule personal miracle after joining Sahaj Marg was the way “Whispers from the Brighter World” gave me answers or resolved doubts for me.  Anything that used to gnaw and tease me used to get clarified from ‘Whispers’. I at times used to get very teary, overwhelmingly emotional and rush to my husband (a cynic and a sceptic to the core!) and narrate ‘my miracle’; his non-committal comment was, “Okay, I thought you finally have joined something sensible, looks like I was mistaken. You still seem to be searching for things on the outside like the rest of them.”  Or if I was in defiant challenging mood and dared him to give a negative reply he would smile rather indulgently, shrug his shoulders and leave the place. The comment and his quick exit both used to pierce me right through, like a sharp dagger and all the bleeding finally stopped me from searching for a ‘miracle’ through whispers or any external source altogether.

I came to my next question; then what is so special or different or exclusive about Sahaj Marg? Why was I even practicing it for the last two years? And what exactly is a miracle for me that I want to gloat about to others? What did I accomplish in order to boast or call it a miracle?

Master has his own way of teaching us what we need to know, at the apt moment and in a very exacting way. I overheard my husband, who till them was a very reluctant participant, one day, “The amazing change in my wife over the last 2 years is almost miraculous to me! It is as if Sahaj Marg has waved a magic wand over her and she is a very new, different person! ”

So, there it was, the miracle, working for the last two years for others perception! My abhyas, Sahaj Marg had performed a miracle on me! Master keeps saying in almost all his speeches, “Look Within, it is all inside you and you alone!”

My husband saw the change in me and joined the mission willingly and encourages online casino others to do the same- my first miracle and the series has been never ending since then. But again these are external miracles on some else, I have changed to become a better person and improving every day, a miracle!

The last best thought that struck me came from a preceptor in Ghaziabad ashram, Sister Poonam Saxena. She was explaining the system to some new to be abhyasis and said, “Sahaj Marg is not about getting or gaining something. It is about changing and becoming something!” There it was; the miracle! A changed human being because of Sahaj Marg! Which system gives this reassurance and invites this self-enquiry? This system does.

Which Guru reposes so much confidence in another human being of no calibre and encourages him/her to become divinised or meet the Master? Sahaj Marg does exactly that, creating preceptors, giving them the responsibility to work for the Guru and in turn progress on their own spiritual path towards their real goal.

Which system never says ‘no’ to anything and yet manages to help the aspirant in saying “no” or letting go of everything that is unnecessary. The transition is so smooth one never realises that one has let go of anything at all! This wonderful mission enables this too. This mission allowed me, the stubborn egotistic me to change me and chiselled away at the jagged, chaffed ends and set me on the road to becoming a divinised being. If this is not miraculous, then what is?

I no longer despair when I listen to someone else’s miracles. I have my miracle within me, and all because of my miraculous Mission. Sahaj Marg, me in Sahaj Marg both are miracles and me living up to my Master’s expectations and becoming what He has envisioned for me, my last miracle.

Thank you Master for this miraculous Mission, your presence and blessings showered on all of us, and the miraculously effective simple method.