Bhajana Yoga or Sankirtana
Updated: Mar 4
Singing the Glories of the Lord
Divya Nama Sankirtana
(Avadootha Datta Peetham, Mysuru Ashrama)
Jaya Guru Datta
Bhajan singing (singing of God's name) is one of the main methods that Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji propagates as a part of the Yoga System. According to Sri Swamiji, " The chanting and singing of God's name is the sheet anchor in all critical situations and crises. In this Kali Yuga, Divya Naama Sankeertana (singing of God's name) is the easiest and the most effective means to invoke the mercy of the Lord. "
As He often says " Just as Bhojana (food) is for the body, Bhajans are for the Soul " . Pujya Sri Swamiji has composed thousands of devotional bhajans in different languages. Devotees of Sri Swamiji gather in satsangh groups all over the world to sing Sri Swamiji's soul-stirring Bhajans. Many devotees experience that this is one of the best ways to feel divine presence in their hearts.
Different types of bhajans
Sri Swamiji’s bhajans are of many types and comprise powerful syllables/seed letters of gods, essence of the god, philosophical teachings, glories of the Lord and much more! The bhajans are set to certain Ragas and Tala (rhythm) uniquely selected by Sri Swamiji that also carry their own benefits. We need not know the Raga also. Let us see some of the numerous benefits derived by immersing ourselves in singing these divine compositions of Pujya Sri Swamiji.
“Singing these divine bhajans not only causes an opening up, expansion (vikasa) of the mind and the body, but also aids in establishing stability of the mind.” - Sri Swamiji
Benefits of singing Bhajans/Divya Nama Sankirtana:
Body and blood are purified. Heart and kidneys get rejuvenated.
Importance of clapping during bhajans
Clapping properly using the entire surface of both the palms energizes, stimulates and rejuvenates the entire nervous system as well as all organs and parts of the body.
Hence we must clap strongly and with all parts of the hand. As per acupressure, all parts of the body reside in the palms. (It is also why we eat food with our hands, chant mantra and squeeze the food with the palms and fingers.)
How to clap:
Along with singing bhajans, you must clap your hands. Clap hard. Clapping must be done in such way that the impact is felt on all the 10 fingers and the palms. After clapping thus for a while, place your palms (facing upward) on your thigh. Close your eyes, relax and observe the flow of blood within. Blood will be gushing fully and properly everywhere.
Such Clapping has many health benefits-Nerves, heart, senses and intellect are improved
Due to clapping, also known as Tadasana, proper vibrations are released. Within our hands is our entire body. During such clapping to the bhajan, all the organs get massaged. Due to clapping hard, all the nerve endings are energized. Dead nerves are the cause for illness. Such dead nerves also get activated and begin to function. The blood flow is fantastic after clapping very hard.
Along with clapping, the Lord’s names must be chanted loudly. The maha-pranas as in ṭha, dha, bha, ṭha etc. are extremely useful in energizing the heart. Blockages vanish. The alpa-prana heal the kidney. Through every bhajan, Swamiji is healing devotees. He is showing to you healing power. Joining Swamiji in singing and clapping along with the bhajan, energizes the nerves, thereby rejuvenating the entire system. In order to remove nervous weakness, clapping is an excellent exercise. (Swamiji shows how we must clap and how we must not). Scientists have declared that by chanting Vitthala continuously, heart problems are solved. In Maharashtra crores of people continuously chant Vitthala!
Clapping energizes the senses (indriyas) while the maha-pranas and seed syllables (beejaksharas) uttered help/ energize the heart. The meaning of the bhajan becomes the food for the intellect (buddhi). In other words, along with singing the bhajan, you must focus on the meaning. These meanings are closely connected with the spiritual growth. Thus, through Divya nama sankeertana, the senses, the heart and the intellect are helped.
Swamiji passes on spiritual knowledge through bhajans. By focusing upon Swamiji and listening to the bhajans, we develop single focused concentration (ekagrata). When the senses (indriyas), intellect (buddhi) and organs are massaged, the sorrow from within is thrown out. Happiness is acquired. Thus, divya nama sankeertana is a divine medicine.
To add to it, at this moment all of you are sitting in Swamiji’s presence. You are blessed with drishti-pata (His gaze). The words uttered by Him are reaching you through your ears (vāk pāta). Due to sitting on the same ground as Him, you are getting sparsha-pāta (blessings through touch). Thus, sparshana (touch), darshana (seeing) and sambhashana (dialogue) are taking place simultaneously.
Energy of mantras in bhajans leading to love for Divinity
Divya nama sankeertana are not ordinary compositions. They are totally overflowing with energy of mantras. Our ancient Maharishis have left behind many valuable messages for us through their songs. Their compositions were not merely names such as ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ but in them, they explained who we truly are, how we must strive for knowledge, what is it that we must do in this birth and the like. Through their songs they passed on messages from Puranas, and Upanishads to the ordinary folks. Their compositions ensured the people developed love for divinity. It is the same with Swamiji’s compositions.
Swamiji compositions are in very catchy tunes and are in all languages. Many youngsters today are learning Swamiji’s bhajans. In Chennai, a revolution is happening. Children are learning Swamiji’s bhajans and participating in bhajan competitions. Of the 6000 bhajans composed by Swamiji, 3000 have been printed to date. In fact, these compositions must not be addressed as bhajan but as sankeertana.
Each composition of Swamiji contains a valuable message. We must not limit ourselves to only singing those compositions but along with singing we must make attempt to learn what He is seeking to convey through it. Limitless knowledge is packed in Swamiji’s compositions.
Bhajan: Datta nav chal padi-
It implies, we are all seated in Sadguru Datta’s boat and He is taking us across the river. Even the best swimmers cannot swim when they are in the middle of the deep ocean. Similarly, despite being most powerful, despite being the richest or the most beautiful person- no entity can swim through this ocean called repeated rebirths. It is impossible to swim across this ocean called repeated rebirths (samsara) and reach the other shore. Without the help of Guru’s boat no living entity can cross the ocean.
FOLLOWING A TRUE SPIRITUAL GURU IS VITAL
For this reason it is imperative to follow a Spiritual Guru. Only when we follow Him, we can reach the other end. Else it is impossible. A person caught a pillar and screamed that the pillar is not leaving him. He must understand that he is catching the pillar and therefore it is in his hands to leave it. Similarly if we seek to exit from this samsara, we must learn detachment. We must live here but must not take everything to heart. Only then we will be healthy.
The more you worry, the more you will be unhealthy.
Doctors cannot identify mental worries. Only the doctor called Sadguru can identify and heal them. The person who seeks to forget all his mental worries must associate with Sadguru. By being in His association, we will forget our worries. We will be transported to a different plane.
Had we been sitting at home today, what is it that we would have done? We would be right now sitting and watching TV; we would be gossiping, casually meeting friends, going for a movie and the like. But, here we are spending our time wisely in satsang due to our love for Swamiji.
Bhajans and the ragas (specific pattern of notes system) used results in the blood circulation undergoing positive changes. Such Nada (music) causes a vibration among the psychic nerve centers located within the body. Blood is purified and the mind is rendered pure, leading to peace and happiness. When the mind becomes pure (thoughtless) and experiences bliss, the body automatically also becomes healthy.
Mental alertness improves
Concentration and memory improve along with calmness of the mind. If Shruti (tanpura sound) is used, it is very similar to OM sound and helps with concentration.
While the syllables, words and phrases of the bhajans carry enormous energy by themselves, knowing the meaning of the bhajans leads to an increase in devotion. Understanding the meaning of bhajan leads to understanding the tattva(Essence) of the lord. We get spiritual knowledge.
Essence of Scriptures in bhajans of Sri Swamiji
The Upanishads (philosophical portions of Vedas), Ramayana and other scriptures are sometimes too difficult for devotees to understand or they don’t have sufficient time to study them. The essence of such scriptures are embedded in the bhajans.
Bhajans help to bring about harmony between the intellect and the mind. The tala (rhythm) and music synchronisation etc., are used to ensure that the mind gives up wavering and along with the intellect, stays with the bhajan. Such a practice is true worship through music. This is true bhajan.
A Bhajan session purifies the atmosphere and destroys diseases for one year
Vibrations generated out of music, bhajans or chanting of divine names, destroy the impurities of the atmosphere surrounding that place. An hour’s practice of music and bhajans(Nadopasana), destroys all diseases for one year. The more number of hours practised, the more will be the result.
Naada or music used helps to treat the sick person
“Even the naada, music, used by Swamiji is purely for the benefit of mankind. When the person sleeps, every chakra within his body moves according to a predefined speed. When the person is sick, this rhythm is lost. To regulate and bring back to order the chakra that has lost its speed and is moving in an irregular pattern, Swamiji recites certain mantras. Although I may not have seen the diseased person or even if I am not physically present beside the diseased person, through this naada I can effectively complete the treatment.” - Sri Swamiji
How is Singing bhajans also Yoga practice?
As per Swamiji’s techniques, the Laya(rhythm or movement of time in music) goes to the Surya Nadi (Pingala Nadi - related to the right nostril). The Shruti goes to the Chandra Nadi (Ida Nadi - related to the left nostril). Due to the sadhana of both of them, the Sushumna nadi opens up.
For those who cannot practise Pranayama to purify the nadis (subtle energy channels), bhajans or divya nama sankeertana has been prescribed as an alternative.
It is NOT good to disturb participants when nama sankeertana is going on.
There are many experiences of devotees recorded in Bhakti Mala and other sources where Sri Swamiji’s bhajans and nama sankeertana have healed and cured diseases or particular ailments for devotees or their loved ones.
Singing with devotion important
Many have a poor impression about these bhajan sessions. They assume it to be merely a pastime. However the truth is that these bhajans drive away fatigue, tiredness, weakness and rejuvenates the singers by infusing spirit, liveliness, enthusiasm, strength and brightness. It is mandatory for everyone to participate in Divya Nama Sankeertana everyday without fail! The involvement should be with devotion, dedication and enthusiasm! If one cannot sing, at least listen to Sri Swamiji bhajan albums. Hundreds of such albums exists in different languages!
REMAIN IN SILENCE AND PEACE AT END
During Divya name sankeertana: Clap intensely with focus and devotion.
After the session: Place the palms upwards on the knees. Do Deep inhalation and exhalation while observing the vibration of the blood circulation in the palms, arms and throughout the body. Remain in silence for at least 2 minutes. One feels energised, relaxed and at peace.
Let us all experience the divine bliss of Sri Swamiji’s Bhajans and Divya Nama Sankeertana!
“Many good acts done or many yajnas and yagas performed do not give the same amount of bliss or punya that Divya Nama Sankeertana (Singing bhajans or chanting the divine names of the Lord accompanied by music) can bestow.” - Sri Swamiji.
Sri Guru Datta!
Source: Avadhoota Datta Peetham
Sri Swamiji discourses presented in Bhakti Mala and live bhajan sessions.
You can find all Sri Swamiji's Bhajans on the Bhajan Mala App or on the Bhajan Mala website at https://www.bhajanmala.com/