Volume 17 - Issue 11
November 2019
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Posted on: Nov 9, 2019

True Bliss Lies in Singing His Name

Part 1

 

We all flock to Swami in search of bliss and happiness, but we seek it in different forms. The ailing seek it in the form of health, the poor in the form of prosperity, the students in the form of learning. But essentially, we seek bliss alone. Bhagawan indeed blesses our prayers, but His grace is not limited to that alone. He also blesses us with the means to that unqualified, limitless bliss within, which we were unaware of, as we were lost in seeking happiness outside of us. Swami says, like the borewell enables one to draw water from Earth’s depths, Namasmarana helps one draw Ananda or bliss from the deep recesses of our heart. The name of the Lord is the means to that bliss that we are thirsting for. 

As we approach the Global Akhanda bhajan, the time when we congregate to sing the various names of the Lord, continuously for an entire day, we present you an interesting conversation between Bishu Prusty (BP) of Radio Sai and Dr Sunam Gyamtso (SG), an alumnus of Bhagawan’s university, and a renowned bhajan singer and composer. This conversation centred around the Bhajan, ‘Anandame Sai Namame’, which means ‘Bliss is Sai’s Name indeed’.

In this conversation which was part of our program, Radio Sai Bhajan Classroom aired on Dec 28, 2017, the participants share their perspectives and learnings on bhajan singing and namasmarana. We believe, contemplating on the thoughts being shared here will benefit all of us as we head to this year’s Akhanda Bhajan.

 

BP: Sairam brother Sunam and welcome once again to Radio Sai Vintage Bhajan Classroom.

SG: Sairam Bishu.

BP: We have a lovely bhajan today, a bhajan that Bhagawan Himself loved to sing. It's all about delight and about the joy of singing, isn't it? Anandame Sai Namame!

SG: Oh! That's a beautiful bhajan. 

BP: ‘Anandame Sai Namame, Adbhutame Sai Geethame, Akhandame Jyotirmayame, Sundarame Sai Roopame’. 

If we just take any line we are lost in that because every line is potent with meaning.

SG: It relates to life so much. 

The Golden Voice

BP: I think every devotee can relate to it at so many levels. For every Sai devotee, bhajans mean ananda, don't they? I know so many Sai devotees who came to the Lotus Feet only through bhajans.

I remember what Dr Allen Levy, a psychiatrist had shared. One day he went to his friend's place and the friend had put on a tape where Bhagawan's bhajans were being played. The moment Dr Levy heard that voice, something happened to him and he was in ecstasy!

That voice captivated him so much and he wanted to know whose that voice was.

That voice and that thrill and joy it gave - everything that he experienced was so magical. That is how he became desperate to see Swami and his journey to Prasanthi began way back in the '70s.

SG: Swami's voice itself is the most celestial voice. When you listen to His voice, it's not a human voice at all. 

BP: Shiva-Shakthi!

SG: Yes. When I listen to this bhajan ‘Anandame Sai Namame’, it is set to a morning raga which evokes the feel of the dawn. The bhajan itself makes you feel like you are greeting the dawn or the dawn is greeting you back. It beckons you, “Come on! Wake up! Rise and shine, for the whole world is waiting for you. It is a world of delight - anandame”. 

The Transformative Power in the Divine Name

I'm reminded of a moment in Brindavan when we were students. In 1979, Dr Chenna Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, had sent some 900 primary school teachers to Swami and He had agreed to train them. The entire training was for nine days.

BP: It was like a mini summer course.

SG: Yes. It was a summer course with a difference because none of the teachers knew what was in store for them when they came. For them it was just one of the training programmes they had to attend as a part of their job. We had to play host to all of them. So Swami had given us special instructions on what we should do. We, bhajans boys, had to train those who were enthusiastic about bhajans among those people. So they would wake up right from 3 a.m. and would be so full of noise. They would be all around the place and even smoking bidis or cigarettes.

BP: They were all new to Swami.

SG: Completely new to Swami and not all were exposed to Him. Swami said, “Let them be by themselves and let them be happy. You don't need to control them and regiment them.”

The first day we announced, “Those who are interested to sing bhajans can come and we will teach bhajans.” We shared bhajans with a few of them. 

 

Music is so powerful and so inviting that within no time, the whole flock was learning bhajans. We taught them bhajans like ‘Manasa Bhajare’ and ‘Krishna Krishna Manamohana’. They really loved the melodies and tunes.

Every day the only training for them was a discourse by Bhagawan in the evening. That was the only training held in the Kalyana Mandapam.

They would have darshan in the morning and then we would take them around the whole place and tell them how the campus ran. In the evening they were given this wonderful treat by Bhagawan.

On the first day itself, in a very beautiful manner, Swami narrated a little story.

In a forest, there used to be a hermit named Varuna and he had a son named Brighu. The son found his father all the time immersed in ananda or joy. He wanted to know the secret of joy and so he went to his father. Swami didn't quote from the source. He never quotes from the source, because He is the source! He didn't say: “This is from Brighuvalli” but He was describing the essence of entire Brighuvalli! 

Then Swami continued the story as follows. The son went to the father and asked, “Please tell me father. What is the ultimate bliss that you are enjoying and experiencing every day?” The father said, “Though I have experienced it, I cannot tell you because this cannot be explained in terms of words. You go and find that same thing from the same source. It is open for everyone”.

So the son went and tried and meditated for thousand years and then went back to the father and said, “Annam is Brahman - it is food that gives you all the joys.” In a gross way, it is indeed food that gives you so much joy, especially when one is hungry. The father said, “You are nearer the truth but go and try again.”

The son tried for another thousand years and then went back to the father and said, “I think I have found the truth. It is the life force which gives anandam.” Then in the third attempt he said, “Father, it is the mind” but the father said, “You are almost near the truth. Why don't you try again?”

The son went again and tried. He came back and said, “Father, it is consciousness.” But the father said, “Try again.” For the fifth time when the son sat down for meditation in silent contemplation, there was a sudden spurt of joy from within and without. He was completely in a sea of joy! 

That bliss was such that he didn't feel like coming back to the world of suffering; to the world of dichotomies. He just wanted to live there and there alone. Then there was no explaining. He was tongue tied completely and he stopped going to his father. Swami narrated this story. The whole training program itself was replete with such stories.

Dr Frank Baranowski also came to Brindavan for the first time and Swami created a ring for him. The ring was an exact fit and then he was asked to speak. He made his first speech in the presence of Swami and said, “I have gone throughout the world and spoken in so many words about my discovery and my science but today I know that I am in the presence of 'Love walking on two feet'! I know that I cannot explain this. In fact, I know I am in the very presence of my Creator.”

BP: He was the man with the Kirlian camera who could see auras.


SG: Yes. He saw Swami's aura. He said it envelops the whole universe from earth to sky. So all these had a fantastic impact on the teachers. The final day was going to be the valedictory day. We used to go for nagar sankirtan and then go back and congregate near the gate and Swami would appear in the balcony and give darshan. That would happen only on Sundays and Thursdays. 

That particular day happened to be Saturday. Swami was not scheduled to give darshan. These people had no one to stop them. The whole bunch of boisterous people became so quiet after the sixth day. On the final day these people had already taken their bath and were waiting outside. Since that was the day when nagar sankirtan was not scheduled, on their own they started singing whatever songs they had learnt. It was just a few songs and they repeatedly kept singing and started walking towards Swami's bungalow.

No one could stop them. They almost gate crashed. They stood there and kept crying and singing. I have never seen a spectacle like this in my life! I have never seen this happen. It was a mass human transformation!

Then Swami did the most wonderful thing. He appeared on the balcony on a Saturday; this was not scheduled. He stood there and after, “Jai Bolo Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai”, He asked them, “Are you happy?”

Then Swami said, “I give you these options. Today you either go home, or you can go for a tour of Mysore, or you can come with Me to Prasanthi Nilayam.”

Like kids, the whole group said, “Swami, we want to come with You to Prasanthi Nilayam”. Some of them said, “Swami we want You to come to us” while some said, “Swami, we want to come and stay with You forever”.

I have never seen this transformation of people in such a huge group. It was a wonderful sight for the Gods to come and see!

BP: You cannot explain the joy that you receive and what it does to you.

SG: Anandame Sai Namame!

Go to Part 2


Thank you and loving Sai Ram,
Team Radio Sai

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