Volume 7 - Issue 11
November 2009
Other Articles

HEART 2 HEART QUIZ

ON AKHANDA BHAJANS

Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point


The Global Akhanda Bhajans, that is, the continuous singing of the Divine Names for 24-hours non-stop, is a precursor to the grand Birthday celebrations every year. This world-wide event is held in the second weekend of the month of November every year, and it has been going on for nearly five decades now.

While the bhajans themselves are elevating, Swami has also used this celebration on several occasions to drive home precious lessons. The current quiz is based on such fantastic tales and messages and every question is culled from articles published earlier in H2H. We hope this quiz will serve to ensure that we spend our lives in the realization and constant contemplation of the Divine.

 


1.In our article: “His Love Throughout My Life” in Sep 2005 issue, Mrs. Geeta Ram, who comes from a family that has been associated with Swami for four generations talked about her wonderful Sai experiences and amazing anecdotes.

“I would like to share one wonderful experience of faith and love now. In 1945 my grandfather started the Akhanda Bhajan that we now do in a global way in the month of November. At that time we used to do it as a family Bhajan. Eight families would get together for Bhajans on every Thursday in their houses by rotation. So this went on from 1943 to 1944.

“They finished one year and then thought on that day let us have a 24-hour repetition of Namasmarana. So my grandfather wrote to Swami that He should bless them to start Akhanda Bhajan. The reply came, ‘My blessings are there and I am coming for Akhanda Bhajan.’ So that’s how it started…”

What happened one day when Swami came for Akhanda bhajans and disappeared before the start when they were busy preparing for it?

Swami was too upset with a devotee’s negligence and decided not to come back
Swami had gone behind the stage and was arranging everyone’s sandals
Swami was in an adjacent room teaching a few devotees some bhajans
Swami went into a trance and they had to cancel the akhanda bhajans

 

2.In our article: “The Swami I Grew Up With, Part 1” in May 2008 issue, Mrs. Geeta Ram shared how Swami joked and played with them while the women would be sitting and tying the flowers to make beautiful garlands for the pictures in preparation for the akhanda bhajan day.

“He said: ‘I will come and sit with you all where you are making the garland.’ There was a big pile of jasmine flowers in the middle of these women who were tying these garlands with so much devotion! One, for Swami’s picture, another for Swami - a full length 4 feet one to garland Him after the aarti. And Swami told them: ‘Show Me how to do this…show Me how to do this!’

“It’s quite an art to make those garlands I must say! It’s not very easy - those of you who know - and He wanted to do it! And they showed Him once or twice and He tried to put the thread around it and the flowers fell off! He kept complaining and the children sat there and we were all laughing because He was saying: ‘You people don’t teach Me properly! You’re hopeless teachers! Teach Me properly!’”

What happened when out of frustration of wasting so many flowers, the ladies gave Him a bowl of a few flowers to make a garland?

Suddenly He was holding the longest, most beautiful garland!
He waved His hand and all the flowers strung together and became a garland!
The ladies snuck a garland in front of Him and made Him believe He did it!
He gave up and pretended to be tired and slept off!

 

3.In our Cover Story “Sundaram - Prashanti Nilayam in Chennai” in March 2006 issue, we mentioned about the Sundaram Sai Bhajans that are known for their quality, purity and melody, which have literally taken the spiritual practice of chanting the Lord’s Name with music and feeling to a new level.

The “Sundaram Bhajan group” have been picked, nurtured and guided by Swami Himself during His numerous visits to Sundaram which proves the kind of involvement that Swami has with the Bhajans and Bhajan group of Sundaram.

From time to time in numerous interviews that He has given to the group, He has spelt out very clearly a number of directions regarding the conduct of bhajans. One of the tips that Swami gave the bhajan singers is: “You should all disperse immediately after the bhajan.” Why does Swami say that?

So that gossips don’t take over
So people can return home with the same vibration that existed during bhajans
So that ego doesn’t develop amongst the singers and ruin the quality of devotion
So that people can look forward to coming again

 

4.In our Cover Story “Shivam - Sai Hrudayam... The Heart of Sai” in our May 2008 issue, we presented an article on Shivam (which means ‘auspiciousness’), the Abode of Sri Sathya Sai, at Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, in which Mr. M. M. Mohan Rao, shared about his experiences that led to his intense devotion towards Bhagavan.

“My youngest son suffered from epileptic fits. In spite of that I used to come to Shivam to serve. My son was a year old infant then. One day, Akhanda Bhajan was organized and Swami was on His visit to Shivam. We decided to attend the bhajans taking our sick son with us. To our horror, he developed fever while in Shivam. We got very panicky as we knew the next thing that would happen was seizures. My wife was desperate.”

What happened when Swami came out and his wife pleaded Bhagavan to bless her son back to good health?

Swami materialized vibhuti and rubbed it on his forehead and he was well
Swami produced a ring for the child and since then he never had fits again
Swami gave her a lingam and asked her to give the child the puja water daily
Swami just looked once and he was fine from then on

 

5.On our article “Enthralling Encounters with Eternity: Conversations with Mr. Raja Reddy, Part 2” in Nov 2007 issue, we presented an interview with Mr. Raja Reddy, one of the most privileged who came to Bhagavan as a teenager and continued to stay in the Divine Presence enjoying His blissful divine proximity for nearly three decades.

While describing Bhagavan’s influence on his spiritual growth, he talked about the time period when he would sing bhajans: “Bhagavan had given me the opportunity to sing bhajans. I was leading bhajans for decades, right from 1958 until 1983; that is, up to my 60th year.

“When I was 60 years old, one day, as usual, I started a bhajan. All the students were singing with fresh and blooming voices. Naturally, Bhagavan wanted to give them more chances and I was also getting superannuated. So one fine morning as I was sitting there to sing a bhajan, all of a sudden the mike was taken away from me. Being with Him for so many years, I ‘knew’ of Swami’s ways and could get the hint. So I didn’t react at all.”

What profound lesson did Bhagavan want to teach Mr. Reddy through that experience?

To go increasingly inward instead
To be less egotistical and give the youth a chance now!
To start teaching bhajans from then on
To participate in village activities

 

Dear Reader, did you like this quiz? Is it too difficult? Is it interactive enough? Would you like more such quizzes? Please help us in serving you better by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team


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