Volume 16 - Issue 11
November 2018
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Posted on: Nov 09, 2018

How to Practice to Sing Sai Bhajans

 

One of the highlights of Bhagawan’s Birthday celebrations is the Global Akhanda Bhajan which happens on the second weekend of November every year in Prasanthi Nilayam. In 2018, it is on Nov 10-11.

Devotees all over the world practice for days for this event. Everyone wants to make their best offering of melody to Swami on His birthday.

Once Brother Sunam Gyamtso, an alumnus of Bhagawan’s university who is an accomplished bhajan singer and composer, was witness to a lovely interaction with Swami where He clearly laid down how one should practice for Sai Bhajan sessions. Here is an excerpt of that telling episode:

 

Bishu Prusty (BP): What were the general directions that Swami used to give the bhajan singers about practice and how they should prepare themselves to sing in mandir?

Sunam Gyatmso (SG): Those were the days when we had the privilege to lean on Him completely. If a bhajan had to be good it would be raised to that level by Him.

Personally and physically He would make beautiful gestures and approve of the bhajan. Once He does that, even a bhajan which was really not well sung would be praised sky high by everyone and people would say that the bhajan was so beautiful. That was one way of Swami making you understand that you are not the singer and the doer.

On the other hand, if a bhajan had been really well sung but He says ‘no’, then everyone says “Oh! What happened brother today? You did not sing it well.”


Once we asked, “Swami, what is the way? How should we practice?”

Swami said, “Keep singing bhajans. That is the best practice.”

We were asking Swami in terms of nuances of classical music – what exercises to do and what methods to follow.

But Bhagawan said, “Even if you have learnt alankars (vocal exercises to embellish a song), you can do them but the best method of singing well is singing a good song. And there couldn't be a better song than a bhajan. When you are singing a bhajan, the benefit is two-pronged.

One, you are all the time dwelling on the name of the Lord. Second, you are not singing for a practice session, instead slowly you begin to breathe in and breathe out the bhajan. You mentally simulate the bhajan in your mind continuously. Once you do this, you are all the time with that bhajan.”


Swami continued, “Ultimately when you sing that bhajan, you will sing it with feeling and with a lot of bhava (feeling) because you would have sung that bhajan so many times. Every bhajan is very potent with not only a beejakshara but also because it has a complete raga. Moreover all the subtle nuances are in that bhajan. So when you sing a bhajan, your voice starts shaping up. It completely moulds the contours of your voice and its tone and tenor. So if you are practising bhajan every day you do not need to practise anything else.”

On another occasion, Bhagawan also said, “If you are singing bhajan, you are also doing pranayama (the breathing yoga). The highest form of pranayama you can do is to sing bhajans wherein you extol the name of the Lord.”

Our Bhagawan breaks down everything to its simplicity, so beautifully.

BP: Bhajan is ultimately not music but only a sadhana to reach the Lord and for that namasmarana is needed, no other method or methodology. You just need to continue singing His name and do it more vigorously and seriously.

SG: So well said!

This was taken from the Radio Sai Bhajan Classroom episode for the bhajan “Akhanda Jyothi Jalao”. You can download or listen to this entire programme.

Thank you and loving Sai Ram,
Team Radio Sai

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