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

True Bliss Lies in Singing His Name

Part 2

 

Bhajans – An Indelible Part of Sai Devotees' Lives

BP: I'm reminded of so many students who joined Bhagawan's institutions and were so attracted only to bhajans initially. They were finding everything else so difficult to adjust, but bhajans kept them glued to the place. 

SG: Bhajans are the sole entry point of almost every devotee. That is one thing that makes us suddenly become so childish. In many samitis, there are always people who say, “I am not allowed to sing, I feel so bad.” Such is their interest in bhajans.

BP: Bhajans have become the staple diet in many devotees' lives. They live on bhajans. They never get tired of bhajans. That is the revolution Swami has brought!

When the sages of the earlier times foresaw the times to come, they saw that Kali Yuga would be so pathetic in the sense that the kind of things to happen in Kali Yuga was something that had never happened in any other yuga. We see it happening now - violence, treachery, restlessness, cheating, dissonance in the family and in the society, etc. The whole side of ethical living has become completely topsy-turvy. 

So the sages and saints said, “What will happen to this age? What will happen to this world?” They went to Sage Vyasa to ask him what would be the state of this world. They were very worried. When they went, Vyasa was just coming after his morning ablutions and bath. He said, “Sadho! Sadho!” when they mentioned Kali Yuga.

‘Sadho’ means ‘auspicious’. The sages asked, “We are talking about Kali Yuga and you are telling ‘Sadho’!”

He said, “What are you saying? That is the most auspicious time because there is no time before that was so propitious and so easy to attain the Lord. You can simply utter the name and attain the Lord. It was never this easy before.”

Whatever it is, Kali Yuga is actually the most blessed time if you want to connect with God because He is simply waiting and with little effort we can reach Him. As Swami says, “You take one step and I will take 99 steps.” 

SG: Exactly!

BP: The way to do that is just to sing His bhajans with love and chant His name and we are filled with bliss.

SG: Maybe the prevailing circumstances will goad people into that mode wherein you are driven up the wall and the only way to save yourself is to sing the Lord's name and glory and to think about God which is actually thinking about our own true self. This is one time where the spiralling up of all these negativities inspires good thoughts in you that you want a change. That is because people need a change which is the very essence of life - either you change from bad to good or from good to bad. 

Kali Yuga in a very big way inspires these good thoughts in people. People used to tell us that in the past there were saints who were filled with ecstasy by just extolling the virtues and singing the names of the Lord. But a time has come where the masses are singing the name of the Lord. 

An Opportunity to Bring Forth the Devotee from Within

BP: I remember in the first world conference, if I am not wrong, Swami said, “You have to do nagar sankirtan. This is how Jayadeva, Gauranga and Meera chanted the Lord's name and purified the atmosphere.” Swami insisted that we have to do nagar sankirtan, singing the names of the Lord fearlessly and full throated with gay abandon. Then we will experience that joy. All these devotees we are talking about such as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were lost in such joy.

SG: The nagar sankirtan tradition continues even today. When we used to do, we used to choreograph the whole session and plan out all the bhajans. People used to flock near the Ganesh temple. When the men's section would reach there, it used to be a huge swelling crowd. One day after the bhajan Prof. Nanjundaiah called me aside and said, “Today you people were looking like Gauranga.” At that point in time, it didn't register. I just said, “Yes sir.” He said, “You should revel in this happiness but let it not get into your head.”

After all these decades, when I think of those moments, carrying the harmonium and singing bhajans in nagar sankirtan took us to the status of a saint like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, though definitely we were miles and miles away from that status and are also only on the pathway. But just by singing a bhajan, people get that feel out of you. 

BP: Bhajans make you forget everything else! Even when you go to the Sai centre for that half an hour when you are in a bhajan session, you have forgotten everything else that is happening with you and around you - in your family, in your profession, in your office and so on. Is it not? At least we have experienced that joy of being connected through music with Swami and that joy is something that you can't get with anything that the world can give.

That is what Swami is saying in this bhajan - Anandame Sai Namame. You have to involve in it and only then you will know that this is ananda. This is a Telugu bhajan but is so beautiful. It says that Sai Nama is Ananda. Same as ‘Hari Bhajan Bina Sukh Shanti Nahin.’

SG: I just feel tempted to add one more beautiful thought. When we were in the presence of Bhagawan, in the morning during darshan, people would be just waiting for His darshan. The moment Swami appeared, all faces would light up. There was so much joy and when Swami came near you, there is no reason or rhyme why you are so happy that moment. Just His presence next to you fills you with ecstasy and you forget everything. Sometimes you forget even to tell Him what you had planned to tell Him. That is ananda. He is the very epitome of ananda - that unquantified bliss. 

BP: And that is what happens in a bhajan when you connect with the source of all bliss and that's why you are so blissful. Wow!

SG: The first line of this bhajan itself is so powerful. No wonder Swami sang it! When Swami sings it's also a message. 

He is the Geetacharya to Each Devotee

BP: The second line is ‘Adbhutame Sai Geetame’. Krishna gave one Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna and through Arjuna He gave it to the entire mankind. But I feel that what is happening now is, Swami is giving this Bhagawad Gita as Sai Gita coming from every heart. Swami is telling every devotee what they should do because His message is tailored to every person. 

In fact yesterday I was talking to the conductor of the adult choir for Christmas 2017. She is from former Yugoslavia which later got broken into many countries. She was there during '93 and '94 when the war happened. It was a very tragic time for her as she lost all her near and dear ones. She lost both her mother and father and also her grandmother. It was too much for her to handle. She started searching for answers in life. 

In a communist country where people never believe in anything to do with God or things after life, she was always open minded. That's when she started reading the Bhagawad Gita and that is what gave her so much solace. Slowly she somehow escaped and moved to Brazil. She started a new life and so many beautiful things happened after that. 

Later on she came to India and went to Kerala. There in the beach, she was sitting and marvelling at the immensity of the ocean and the infinity of the horizon. She was thinking, “My God! Our planet is so amazing!”

She was lost in the glory of the creation when suddenly a flash of light appears and she sees a dash of orange. She sees Swami there! He says, “Everyone's path is different. Everyone must walk the path alone.” This shakes her. 

She comes immediately to Puttaparthi. So Bhagawan is giving the message to everyone. It is happening in the most amazing manner. Adbhutame Sai Geetame! The way Swami gives His message to every person is really adbhutam (marvellous), isn't it?

SG: Yes. His message doesn't follow a convention; His style is so different. From a small child in the primary school to a philosopher to a person who is very well read, He relates to each person in a different manner and the way He teaches also is different. Everything is adbhutam (marvellous). 

Swami's rupam (form) is also adbhutam and what He speaks is adbhutam. His gait is adbhutam. His life is adbhutam, amazing! The way He lived in that small room measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, living a very spartan life although He is the Lord of the Universe is amazing! But nothing mattered to Him except the redemption of humankind. 

BP: Absolutely! When He says, “My life is My message” that is something we have to analyse. There is so much of depth. Only then we will draw those lessons. That is something very phenomenal when you think about His life. 

And He is giving this message to each one. Every gesture, every moment and everything He was doing was constantly giving messages. Messages are constantly coming; they continue to come. We only have to tune in. 

SG: True. I remember once when a speaker was giving his talk, it was a slip of the tongue when he said, “Swami's interpretation of Bhagawad Gita” and Swami sharply stopped him and said, “I don't interpret the Bhagawad Gita. I relive the Bhagawad Gita. It is Bhagawad Gita retaught and re-lived once again. What I speak is the Gita.”

From the Finite to the Infinite

BP: Adbutame Sai Geetame, Akhandame Jyotir Mayame. Swami has always told that we are not the body. He always wanted us to break that consciousness of identifying ourselves with the body, the mind and the intellect.

I think Bhagawan is what He is because He never identified Himself with the body. He was that limitless Self. He always told us to identify ourselves with the limitless. What Swami was saying all the time is that we are the Light.

SG: Yes. Once before an akhanda bhajan, Swami was telling the students about the meaning of ‘akhanda’. Being very finite, we are very limited. Swami calls us ‘private limited company’. He said, “Everything you do also is segmented but you should understand that life in its essence is continuity. Even life beyond life and beyond death is a continuity. It's one seamless continuity. You should understand that. Everything that way is a whole, a totality.”

Swami would say, “Between two bhajans I don't want even a small crevice or interruption. The bhajan should flow uninterrupted. From one bhajan to another the transition should be so smooth. It should be such a smooth transition that people shouldn't be in the train of thought. Thinking should not be disturbed.” Swami would say we should be so careful to stitch the bhajans together in such a way that without leaving any gap we should sing. It was a way of telling us that whatever we do in life should also relate to one another. What I do now should be in relation to what I did sometime back. Everything must be in continuity. 

BP: What you are saying is so amazing! Many times we think about akhanda bhajan where we do 12 hours of continuous bhajans but Swami is saying that every bhajan is an akhanda bhajan because it is an uninterrupted period of time where you are fully concentrated on the Divine. Even if it is for half an hour, Swami does not want the mind to go anywhere else even between one bhajan and the next even for a few seconds. So the half an hour should be uninterrupted concentration on the Lord! 

SG: Yes! But Swami takes it to the next level by saying, “Imagine if there is an interruption in your breathing. You will land up in the hospital or you would be asthmatic. Life is a continuous chain of breathing with metronomic precision. You pulsate and you breathe. So that is life and there is no interruption. Like that if every breath could be translated or interpreted in terms of the name of the Lord, so in the entire life, every breath that we take is a continuity of singing the glory of the Lord. So you don't need to sit and do additional bhajans or extra meditation, because life itself becomes a meditation.” How many times Swami would say, “Don't be a singer; be the song”!

The Mesmerising Form of Sai

BP: Yes. Life should become the melody of His glory.

Then comes the line, Sundarame Sai Roopame! The superficial meaning of this line is that Swami is so beautiful. That is the reason why we could never take our eyes off His beautiful form but I think Swami always wanted us to see beauty in everything we see. We should see Him in everything and see that beauty that is not of this world. 

SG: Absolutely! It takes me back in time when one day Swami was reclining on His divan in the safe room in Brindavan. Swami started picking on the elderly people there. He started with Prof. Kasturi and said, “Why do you have a hunchback? Why do you sit like that? Your position is not right. You should sit upright. Your spine should be straight. Why do you look very old?”

Then Swami said, “Age wise if you look at him, he is hardly a few years senior to me. But then he looks so old and haggard”.

Then He asked “What about you? What about you?” looking at everybody.

Then Swami looked at me and said, “You look so old.” Then He pointed at Himself and said, “How beautiful I look!” Very few times in my life I have heard Swami describe Himself in such glowing terms. He started describing right from His crown of hair. He said, “What about the bhrukuti or the space between My eyes?” He said, “Look at it! See how beautiful it looks.” 

BP: The bhrumadhya.

SG: Yes. Then He said, “Look at the mole on My cheek. It's in the right place. Look at My nose; everything is well proportioned.” Then Swami said, “Look at the vyanjana on My neck (the mark of Divinity on Swami's neck).” We had not cared to see it but there were three marks or three lines on His neck. We saw that and later times we could see it more when He started aging. It became more and more prominent. 

Then He said, “Look at My body. I always maintain the same weight.” Prof. Kasturi said, “Swami, it's easy for You. You are God.” Swami said, “Aren't you God? You don't need divine power to maintain yourself this way. It's just that I live a very disciplined and a pure life. If you also can live a pure and disciplined life, you will be like Me.” So that sundarta (beauty) comes.

BP: Purity begets beauty!

SG: Swami then asked, “What is beauty and what is being handsome?” Somebody said, “All men are handsome and all women are beautiful.”

Then Swami said, “No, you are both handsome and beautiful. Beauty is from within. Handsomeness is the outward grooming. You can try to look handsome cosmetically. You can put on all cosmetics and all the touch up on your face and try to look handsome. You can wear the best of clothes. That is the external garnishing. But the inner beauty doesn't need all this. That beauty exudes from the soul. If you are all the time soul-conscious, then you are all the time beautiful. 

BP: You have that tejas (divine effulgence).

SG: Yes, there is tejas on your face. That comes from purity. Sundarame Sai Roopame. 

BP: Wow! Amazing! When you are constantly thinking of the Lord, you begin to shine in His splendour. That's how all the saints were. They were constantly thinking about Him and glowing in His love. I think that's what bhajan sessions also do to us if we really raise ourselves to that level and to that ananda. We will then be beautiful in His splendour and His glory. Thank you brother for this wonderful session. 

SG: Thank you so much.

BP: Sairam.

Go to Part 1


Thank you and loving Sai Ram,
Team Radio Sai

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