Monday, March 22, 2010

நாமசங்கீர்த்தனம்: பரம்பொருளை அடைய சிறந்த வழி.

What is bhajans???
Bhajan’s are simple songs sung in the praise of God. Music to human ears is heavenly. And if it's purely devotional, it's truly divine. Such a genre of music is the Bhajan. Nothing can be more deeply rooted in the Indian tradition than bhajans. Bhajans are simple songs in soulful language expressing the many-splendored emotions of love for God, a complete submission or self-surrender to him through singing.
Bhajans owe their origin to the Bhakti Movement. The word bhajan is derived from bhaj which means ‘to serve’ in Sanskrit. Bhajan is a popular form of devotional singing prevalent in north India. It is usually sung in temples in praise of good or is addressed as a plea to him. The lyrics are set to simple melodies, generally in one or more ragas. Bhajans are usually sung in groups. There is a lead singer who sings the first line or stanza and is followed by the choir. Bhajan singing is usually accompanied by musical instruments like jhanj, manjira, daphli, dholak and chimta.
Sing aloud the glory of God and charge the atmosphere with divine adoration . This is why I insist on group singing of the names of the Lord. Bhajans is the process of singing that originates in the heart, not from the lips or the tongue. It is the expression of the joyous thrill that wells up from the heart when the Glory of God is remembered. It is the spontaneous manifestation of inner ecstasy. No attention is paid to the blame or praise that others may give. It does not seek the admiration or the appreciation of the listeners.
Bhajan is one of the processes by which you can train the mind to expand into eternal values. Teach the mind to revel in the glory and majesty of God; wean it away from petty horizons of pleasure... Devotional singing induces in you a desire for experiencing the truth, to glimpse the beauty that is God, to taste the bliss that is the Self.It encourages man to dive into himself and be genuinely his real Self. It’s is a spiritual practice (sadhana) for all who share in it. Every song sung in praise of the Lord is a sword that cuts the knots of laziness. It is a fine piece of social service to remind all of their duty to the Almighty, who watches over them.
People say sometimes, that there is nothing different about bhajan compared to commercial singing.what they fail to realize is that there is nothing greater than bhajan. What bliss is there in bhajans! What a demonstration of oneness is it when a myriad throats join in uttering the name of God! The vibrations emanating from them make the heart vibrant. If you sing alone in your shrine, the vibrations return to you as a reaction. But in community singing, what you have is not a reaction but a wave of vibrations. They enter into the atmosphere and purify the polluted air. The atmosphere today is polluted by bad thoughts and feelings. When you sing the glory of God, the bad germs in the air are destroyed and the air gets purified by a treatment of anti-biotic, as it were.
When all the participants in a bhajan sing in unison, what sacred vibrations are produced and what Divine energies are released! When these vibrations fill the world, what changes cannot they bring about! When one sings alone, the heart is merged in the song. But when many sing together, it acquires a Divine power. Those who sing bhajans get what can be called a 'double promotion', for they derive joy and distribute joy.
God is omnipresent. He is the in-dweller of every heart and all names are His. So you can call Him by any name that gives you joy. You must not cavil at other names and forms, nor become fanatics, blind to their glory. When you sing bhajan songs, dwell on the meaning of the songs and the message of each name and form of God and roll on your tongue its sweetness. Some people ... question the propriety of calling God by means of ... a multiplicity of names. But each name is indicative of only one aspect of Divinity. It denotes a single part of the Supreme Personality ... Every name is but a facet, a part, a ray of the Supreme. The spiritual discipline consists in recognizing and becoming aware of the One that supports and sustains the many. That is the precious gem of wisdom that one must secure and treasure.
The procession to the cremation ground starts immediately on birth and the beating of the heart is the drum beat for the march towards that place. Some take a longer route, some reach quickly, but all are on the way. Therefore, devotional singing (bhajan) has to start in the childhood and has to continue. It must be the constant companion of man, his solace and strength. Do not postpone it to old age, for it is essential food for the mind.
Bhajans must become an unbroken stream of bliss on your tongues and in your hearts; it must confer on you the uninterrupted awareness of soham, of the unity of I and He. The tongue is the post,Namasankeerthana is the rope; with that rope, you can bring God Almighty near you and tie Him up so that His grace becomes yours. Desire and anger are... two enemies. singing gods names is a good disciplinary process by which these two can be kept away. Take for example, there is a tree. It is full of birds. They make a mess all over. How to get rid of these noisy ones? You should clap loudly. Similarly, in this tree of life, there are birds of desire. The heart therefore becomes dirty. In order to cleanse it, do Bhajans.
Think of bhajans as a part of spiritual training to be seriously taken for reducing the attachment to fleeting objects, and purifying and strengthening you, liberating you from the cycle of birth and death and consequent misery. It may appear a frail cure for such a dreadful malady. Nevertheless, it is a panacea. In this busy age of fear and anxiety (kaliyugha), the remembrance of God and repetition of His name is the one of the best and easiest means of liberation that is accessible to all. Let your whole life be a spiritual song. Believe that God is everywhere at all times, and derive strength, comfort, and joy by singing His glory in His presence. .
Conducting devotional singing sessions (bhajans)
Any devotional song, in any language can be sung as long as all can follow. Sing familiar bhajans, so that all can share in ananda (bliss). When you sing bhajans, dwell on the meaning of the song and the message of each name and form of God. You cannot insist that in the bhajans only songs on certain deity should be sung! Fanaticism of that kind should be condemned . You betray your ignorance of the truth when you stick to any one and avoid the rest, for all of them are one,shiva,shakthi,narayana,ganapathi,skandha,ayyappa,hanuman or even gurumaargal…
Bhajan has to be a thrilling experience, which must leave the participants full of pure energy and elevated enthusiasm. It must spread good-will, love, ecstasy; it must cleanse the polluted atmosphere; it must invite all to share in the joy and peace. The namasankeerthanam must be radiating devotion and love. The ananda derived from bhajan do not derive from anything else. That is the reason for emphasizing these points. Fill every moment with energy, enthusiasm, and effort with utmost discipline.
Some persons attending bhajans do not move their lips at all. They may say that they are singing the songs mentally within themselves. This is not proper . You must sing the names aloud, full-throated, as far as the voice can reach. Only then the Divine will respond in full measure and shower His grace. No one will go to the rescue of a drowning man if his cries are feeble.Together with melody and rhythm, you have to impart feeling to your singing to make the bhajan a sacred offering to the Divine. A tune without feeling is an infliction. Giving up conceit and exhibitionism, you must sing the bhajans in a spirit of humility and devotion. That is the right way to perform bhajans.
Bhajan must be a felt experience. Do not sing with one eye on the effect the song makes on the listeners and the other on the effect it makes on God.It has to be sung and offered to God in an attitude of utter humility; they are not to be taken as exercises in an exhibition of talents or as competitions for mastery of musical skill. They have to please the Lord, not your should be sung with complete obliviousness to the body. Devotional fervor is more important than musical skill. Pay attention to the tune, the meaning, the variety, the voice, the raga (rhythm), the tala (beat), and other fine points of the bhajans. Let your heart pant for God, then the raga (rhythm) and tala (beat) will automatically be pleasant and correct.
Do not monopolize the time in bhajans by singing one song for six or ten minutes, repeating the same line often. In this way you can have in one hour of bhajan, more songs on more forms, more tunes and more variety, giving more people a chance.
Let those with a good voice and musical talent lead; the keertan must be pleasant, it should not jar on the ear. If your voice is grating or out of tune, do not disturb the melody, but, repeat the namavali softly , blending in with the rest or in your mind. Eventually regular bhajan sessions will make even the worst singer become a average singer. It possesses that sort of divine power to it. Most importantly , do not jeer and tease others who can’t sing that well. Do not think you are the best, as you may be a top notch singer but with such behavior your talent may not bring you far. One may not be a good singer but when singing for god with love and full concentration on god alone. He beats any other talented singers in the world in the eyes of god. Shree anjaneya swami is a gd example. Once he was called to compete with naradha in singing. Known for his talents, naradha started exhibiting his musical skills but all Maruthi did was close his eyes and sing his lord’s name in his hoarse voice. He didn’t care about pitching or rhythm. In the end he was proclaimed the best by the lord himself...and he is revered by us as the guru of namasankeerthanam! Instead of jeering one share your knowledge in music and make him better. Gain credit from god for it.

People should return from bhajan carrying the elevated, uplifted and sublime mood created by the atmosphere at the bhajan. Therefore disperse maintaining the mood,Then the joy and peace derived at the bhajan will linger and abide in the heart.
Have bhajans as simple as you can and without competitive pomp or show; reduce expenses to a minimum, for God cares for the inner yearning and not the outer trappings. Even this small unavoidable expenditure must be silently shared, spontaneously... not collected by means of a plate ... or a subscription or donation list.

Music to human ears is heavenly. And if it's purely devotional, it's truly divine. Such a genre of music is the bhajan. Nothing can be more deeply rooted in the Indian tradition than bhajans. Bhajans are simple songs in soulful language expressing the many-splendored emotions of love for God, a complete submission or self-surrender to him through singing. The groundwork for bhajans was laid in the hymns found in Sama Veda, the fourth Veda in the Hindu scriptures. They are distinguished from the Sanskrit shlokas (hymns that accompany religious rituals) by virtue of their easy lilting flow, the colloquial renderings and the profound appeal to the mass. These are sung in a group comprising devotees, with a lead singer. The fixed tunes, repetition of words and phrases lend a kind of tonal mesmerism. Anecdotes, episodes from the lives of Gods, preaching of saints, description of God's glories have been the subject of bhajans. Another form of the bhajan is the kirtan or songs in the Haridas tradition.
Types of Bhajans
A plunge into the past reveals, that bhajans, as a genre, have come a long way weaving a home for itself into the core of human hearts. Traditions of bhajan — singing have been formed over the ages — Nirguni, Gorakhanathi, Vallabhapanthi, Ashtachhap, Madhura-bhakti are some of them. Each sect has their own sets of bhajans and ways of singing them.
Great Exponents
The medieval age saw devotees like Tulsidas , Surdas, Meera Bai , Kabir and others composing Bhajans. In the modern times, composers like Pt. V. D. Paluskar and Pt. V. N. Bhatkhande have tried to mingle Raga Sangeet or Indian classical music - which had been an exclusive domain of the elite - with bhajans, thereby democratizing the Raga tradition.
Popularity with the Masses
The common mass indulges in bhajan-singing without realizing that such traditional methods of invoking the divine can have a tremendous stress-removing impact. Bhajan mandalis (a gathering to sing bhajans) that have been in existence in the Indian villages since the beginning of the Bhakti era, have proved to be great social leveller where individuals unhesitatingly participate in the singing, relegating their petty differences to the background. This participatory action elicits recreation and consequently a kind of mental relaxation . They close their eyes to ensure that they concentrate and thereby meditate on this near ecstasy. The words, tunes, rhythms and the typical repetitive style of the bhajans give a certain sense of permanency that is known as shashwat (freedom from the state of flux), something each one of us is secretly pining for.
Is Devotional Music Fundamentalist?
It is lamentable that the ruckus created around the issue of fundamentalism has not left even the devotional compositions out of its purview. The fundamentalist hullabaloo in the Indian scenario never misses an opportunity to constrict a gathering, which has come together for simple religious expressions such as singing of bhajans or popular devotional songs of the mass. To suspect that this trend of devotional singing may be in any way related to the spread of fundamentalism is nothing but naïve thinking.
To deem it propagandist in approach is anything but intelligible. Fundamentalism is a vested political interest whereas religion is something personal. It is only when religion breeds the desire to dictate mass feelings and direct it to a preconceived end, that it becomes fundamentalist, bringing communalism and destruction in its wake. Singing a bhajan or a 'quwwali' is a cultural expression, and to equate them with fundamentalist outcries is nothing but erroneous. We must save the divine melody, and allow the benign force of music with its tremendous sustaining and benevolent power to drive out any number of 'isms'. This is only possible if we keep our musical sensibilities intact and expanding.
Thanks to the devotional (Bhakthi) movement which started in South India during 1000 – 1400 A.D. and which had its echo in North India, a good number of saint and saint composers sprang up in different parts of South India, as if by divine will, to infuse ‘Bhakthi’ into the minds and hearts of the people.
From the second half of the 16th Century to the end of the 17th century, Deccan witnessed the greatest religious transformation brought about by Purandaradasa (1484-1564) and Kanakadasa (1505-1580) of Karnataka, Kshetrjna (1614? -?) and Bhadrachala Ramdoss (1620 or 1622 – 1680 or 1688?) of Andhra, who spread the ‘Bhakthi’ cult through their soul stirring songs. Likewise, Tamilnadu from the first half of the 17th century to the second half of the 18th century witnessed the emergence of the five great saints in the Cauvery Delta who blazed their trail in the field of Bhajana and Nama Siddhantha. These five saints were Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval (1630-1730), Bhagawannama Bhodendra Swamigal (1610 – 1692), Sadasiva Bhramendra Swamigal (1560-1762?), Narayana Tirtha Swamigal (1675 – 1745) and Bhagavata Maha Sadguru Swamigal (1777 – 1817). All these saints lived during the reign of Nayak and Maratha rulers of Thanjavur. They contributed substantially to the musical and devotional heritage of hymns of Tamilnadu.

Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval, Bhagawannama Bodendra Swamigal and Sadasiva Bhramendra Swamigal were contemporaries. While Narayana Tirtha Swamigal lived in the middle of the 17th and the first half of the 18th century, Sadguru Swamigal was born in the second half of the 18th century. While Bhagavata Maha Sadguru Swamigal is acknowledged as the codifier of ‘Bhajana Pattadhi’, Ayyaval and Bhodendra laid the corner stone for a new school of religious thought called ‘Nama Siddantha’ and ‘Nama Sankeerthanam’.
Nama Siddantha and Nama Sankeethanam are an integral part of the way of devotion: Bhakti Marga. Bhakti or devotion is a relationship of trust and love to a personal God. Worship of the un-manifested (Avyaktopasana) is difficult for ordinary human beings, though there are instances of great Advaitins (non-dualists) who have given to the Impersonal Reality, a warm emotional content. Worship of the personal God is recommended as the easier way open to all the weak and the lowly, the illiterate and the ignorant. The sacrifice of love is not so difficult as the tuning of the will to the Divine purpose or ascetic discipline or the strenuous effort of thinking.

The origin of the way of devotion (Bhakti) is hidden in the mists of long ago. The praises and prayers of the Rig Veda, the Upasanas of the Upanishads and the ardent piety of the Bhagavata Religion influenced the author of the Bhagavat Gita. The Supreme is not a God who sleeps in serene abstraction while hearts heavily laden with suffering or sorrow cry out for help but a saving God of Love believed and experienced as such by the devotee. He bestows salvation on those who believe in Him. He declares: ‘This is my word of promise, that he loveth me shall not perish’.
Bhakti is derived from the root, bhaj, to serve, and means service of the Lord. It is loving attachment to God. Sage Naradha defines it as an intense love for God. For Sandilya, it is Supreme longing for God, for its own sake. It is surrender in trusting appropriation of the grace of the Lord. It is Iswarapranidhana of Yoga Sutra, which according to Bhoja, is ‘The love in which without seeking results, such as sense enjoyment etc all works are dedicated to the teacher of teachers’. It is a profound experience, which negates all desire and fills the heart with love for God. Advocates of the way of the devotion are not interested so much in supra mundane redemption as in absolute subjection to the abiding will of God. The human soul draws near to the Divine by contemplation of God’s power, wisdom and goodness, by constant remembrance of Him with a devout heart, by conversing about His qualities with others, by singing His praises with fellowmen and by doing all acts as His service. The devotee directs his whole being to God.
Adoration is the essence of religion. It involves a duality between the worshipper and the worship. The distinction between creature and creator is the ontological basis of the religion of Bhakti. The eternal One is viewed in the Bhagavad Gita not so much as the God of philosophical speculation as the God of grace such as the heart and the soul need and seek, who inspires personal trust and love, reverence and loyal self-surrender. This was the kind of underlying philosophy, which inspired the lives and teachings of the five great saints of the Cauvery Delta from 1600 to 1850. In short the quintessence of the message of devotion and bhakti of Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval (1630-1730), Bhagawannama Bhodendra Swamigal (1610 – 1692), Sadasiva Bhramendra Swamigal (1560-1762?), Narayana Tirtha Swamigal (1675 – 1745) and Bhagavata Maha Sadguru Swamigal (1777 – 1817) can be summed up as follows:
‘Before the rise of knowledge, duality is misleading, but when our understanding is enlightened, we perceive that duality is more beautiful than even non-duality and is conceived so that there can be dutiful, beautiful worship. The truth is non-duality, but the duality is for the sake of daily ecstatic worship (divya nama sankeerthana) and thus this worship (divya nama sankeerthana) is hundred times greater than liberation. When the soul surrenders itself to God, He takes up our knowledge and our error and casts away all forms of insufficiency and transforms all into His Infinite light and the purity of the Universal Good. Bhakti is not merely the flight of the alone to the Alone, the soul’s detachment from the World and attainment to God, but is active love for the Divine who enters into the World for redeeming it’.
While Bhakthi requires faith and love, in prapatti we simply surrender ourselves toGod, place ourselves in His Hands leaving it to Him to deal with us as He elects. It stresses the simple and austere purity of the relationship of surrender in a humble and direct attitude of trust. All these great saints perceived genuine piety in the completeness of the surrender rather than in the intensity of the Bhakthi discipline.
According to them, when we are emptied of our self, God takes possession of us. The obstacles to this God-possession are our own virtues, pride, knowledge, our subtle demands and our unconscious assumptions and prejudices. We must empty ourselves of all desires and wait in trust for the Supreme Being. To fit God’s pattern, all our claims are to be surrendered. Thus these saints viewed Bhakti as an essential means to the attainment of prapatti. When the devotee truly surrenders himself to the Divine, God becomes the ruling passion of his mind, and whatever the devotee does, he does for the Glory of God. Bhakti is to believe in God, to love Him, to be devoted to Him, to enter into Him. Such a devotee has in him the content of the highest knowledge as well as the energy of the perfect man. To study the story of the lives and times of these five great saints of Cauvery Delta is by itself an exalting, ennobling, elevating and ecstatic spiritual experience.

Myriads are the examples of such BhakthAs exist
in the Bhakthi literature ; to keep these postings at
a moderate size level , I will confine my observations
and reflections to a smaller subset of duch BhakthAs .

My main thrust will be on the Rama Bhakthi
of Saint ThyagarAjA as gleaned from his krithis
and operas such as PrahlAdha Bhaktha Vijayam
and NowkA charithram . The chinthanam of
Sri Ramachandra is invariably and unmistakably present
in the mind of this Raama ChaithanyA even in these
dance dramas composed especially to salute
Lord NarasimhA and BhagavAn KrishNa respectively .

Saint ThyagarAjA completed the recitation of the Taraka Naamam
of Sri RaamA ninety six crores of times and had the sowbhAgyam
of the darsanam of Sri RaamA with SitA dEvi , LakshmaNA
and AnjanEya in front of his house on the Thirumanjana
veedhi of ThiruvaiyAru . He is the great one who asked out
of his VairAghyam , " Nidhi chaala Sukhamaa ?
Raamuni sannidhhi seva sukhamaa ? mamatha
Bhandhana yutha nara sthuthi sukhamA ?
Sumathi ThyagarAjanuthini KEERTHANA sukhamA ? "


truNAdapi suneechEna tarOrapi shaishNunA I
amAnina mAnadEna keertaniyah: Hari : II

--SikshAshtakA #3 , Chaitanya MahA Prabhu

(meaning ) : One should repeat (chant ) the auspicous
name of Hari in a humble state of mind , while considering
oneself lower than the lowly blade of grass ; one should be
more tolerant than a tree ; one should be free from all sense
of vanity and false airs and one should be prepared to offer
respectful salutations to other devotees of the Lord .

In the sixth and the twelfth chapters of Sri Bhagavadh GitA
dealing with DhyAnam and Bhakthi , Our Lord has
explained the bhaktha , who is dear to Him as
Sama-LOshtAsmkaanchana : (one to whom a lump of earth /piece
of roof tile , stone and gold are one and the same in value ) ,
prasAntha manasa: ( One of perfectly tranquil mind ) ,
SraddhAvAn ( posessed of MahA viswasAm ) ,
adhvEshtA ( free from hatred or malevolence to others ) ,
sama dukkha suka : ( even minded , while experiencing pain
and pleasure ) , subhAsubha parithyAgi ( renouncer of
good and evil in an equal manner ) . GeethAcharyan
declares that such a devotee is dear to Him
( BhakthimAn ya: sa mE priya : ) .

There have been many such Uttama BhakthAs , who have
attained Moksham through single-minded bhakthi and
naama sankeerthanam across the length and breadth of
Bharatha Desam . There are no distinctions among these
perfected saints based upon caste, culture , personal good
looks , family ( kulam ) , wealth or profession .

These Saint-Singers described by the late
Dr.V.Raghavan as the Great Integrators are
AzhwArs of different castes or no caste , NaayanmArs ,
the SiddhAs , HaridAsAs of KarnAtakA ( Srinivasa Naik/Purandara dAsA ,
Kanaka dAsa , the shepherd by birth ,Vijaya dAsA , the Brahmin ) ,
the Saints of MaharashtrA ( Jnana dEvA , Nama dEvA , the tailor ,
EkanAth , the Sanskrit scholar , TukArAm , the shop keeper ,
Samartha RaamdAs , the guru of King ShivAji ) , Narasimha
MehtA and MirAbai of RajasthAn , Akho , the goldsmith of
Ahmedabad , Kabir , the weaver of Banares , TulasidAs of
Raamanandi sect also from Banares , the cobbler-mystic , RaidAs ,
another fellow-RaamAnadhi like Kabir and Tulasi Daas ,
DaadU , the Brahmin cotton-cleaner , SankaradEva of Assam ,
RamadAs of BhadrAchalam , Saint ThyagarAjA of TamilnAdu ,
Mutthuswamy Dikshithar , Sridhara IyaavAL of Thiruvisanallur ,
Upanishadh Brahmam of Kaanchi , who was the friend
of Saint ThyagarAjA's father , Sri Raama Brahmam and
a multitude of others .

Sage NaaradhA in his 72nd Bhakthi sUtram explains that
there are no distinctions among such uttama bhakthAs
based upon caste , culture , beauty , kulam , Eisvaryam or
chosen livelihood :

nAsthi tEshu jaathi vidhyA rUpa kula dhana kriyAdhibhEdha :

The supermacy and the efficacy of their bhakthi through
Naama sankeerthanam and Naama Japam is the common
denominator among them .they were heedless of the people's
criticisms( jana jalpa nirbhayA : ) and great teachers and
practioners of Bhakthi mArgam ( BhakthAchAryAs ) .

These ancient masters of unalloyed Bhakthi to Sriman NaarAyaNA
have been identified by Sage NaaradhA as Sanath KumArA ,
VyAsA , Sukha Brahmam , UddhavaA , AaruNi , Maha Bali , who
followed the path of surrender , HanumAn , VibhishaNA , et al .
The lives and compositions of these BhakthAs define the greatness
of BhagavAn's Naamams as the UpAyam and UpEyam for
Moksha Siddhi .

Occasionally , VidvEsha Bhakthi or communion
through confrontation helped to obtain the "blessings " of
the Lord . Slaughter at the Lord's hand raised the likes of
HiraNyakasipu , HiranyAkshA , KamsA , SisupAlA and
DantnavakthrA et al .

More frequently , J~nana Bhakthi attained through
the amalgam of J~nanam and Bhakthi made many
uttama bhakthAs to gain a deep comprehension
of the divine excellence of the nAmAs of the Lord and led
them to the path of Saantha Bhakthi .

A few had mUDa bhakthi ( devotion without saastraic
or Upanishadic knowledge ) and yet were totally absorbed
in naama sankeerthanam . They developed a loving
relationship with the Lord as in the case of the Gopis of
BrindhAvanam . About the Gopis , Bhagavatham declares :

" They never learnt the VedAs ; they never served any teacher ;
they practised no austerity ; but by association with holiness ,
they attained Me " ( Bhagavatham XI . 12.7& 8 ) . In an earlier
canto , Srimadh Bhagavatham has revealed the different
roots of attaining the Lord's grace : " The Gopis through
desire , KamsA through enimity , the VrishNis through
clannishness , the paandavAs through affection and
the sages through devotion attianed Him " ( Bhagavatham
VII . 1.30 ) .

The naama sankeerthanam appears to be
the most efficacious method of attaining Him in this
Kali Yugam , where righteousness is on the decline .
The greatness of such BahgavatOtthamAs have been
extolled by Srimadh Bahgavatham elsewhere :

" The BhagavatOtthamA ( the highest type of devotee )
is one , who sees the glory of the BahgavAn reflected in
all beings , high and low , and also perceives all beings
as dwelling in Him .

The second-rate devotee is one , who makes a distinction
between BhagavAn , His devotees , common people and
evil -minded ones , maintaining towards them attitudes of
reverential love, friendship , pity , and avoidance respectively .

The most inferior type of a devotee is one , who worships
images of God with great devotion , but has no regard for
His devotees and no consideration for others . "

The UpaasanA of one's Ishta Daivam

The Lord's name such as RamA , KrishNA , VaamanA ,
NrusimhA , TrivikramA , have specific potencies . A great
Rama BhakthA , Lord SivA has declared in Padma PurANam :
" O My dear Consort ! I chant the sacred name of Raama
Raama Raama and thus enjoy this purifying sound (dhvani ) .
This holy name of RamachandrA is equal to one thousand
names of Lord VishNu . " Srimadh Bhagavatham with
Sri KrishNa bhakthAs in mind gives a twist and states :
" One thousand names of VishNu are indeed equal to
one name of Raama , and htree names o Raama are
equal to one name of KrishNA " ( Bhagavatham 1.19.6) .

The choice of one form or avathAram of the Lord for
deep immersion is perfectly fine to advance one's
spiritual progress and to attain siddhi . They become
" TanmayA : " according to NaradhA's 70th Bhakthi SUthram .
They live absorbed in that form of the Lord . They become
Raama Chaithanyas like Saint ThyagarAja or BodEndrAL .
They become absorbed in KrishNA and become KrishNa
chaithanyALs like MirAbai or Cahithanya MahA prabhu .
They become tadheyA : and belong to Him and Him alone.
They do not enter into vain disputations and discussions
( vaadhO naavalabhya : / 74 th sUthram of Naaradha Muni ).
Sage NaaradhA gives the reasons why such great souls
following Ishta Daiva upAsanA do not enter into vain
disputations in the 75th Bhakthi SUthram of his :


( meaning ) ; ( Vain debates and disputations are to be
abandoned ) because there can be endless , diverse views
and all mere arguments become ultimately inconclusive only .
Trying to understand God-head by the intellectual route of
debate is recognized as impossible . Spiritual experience
is beyond intellect and reasoning . The Lord warns us that He is
the consciousnes behind all experiences : " From Me arise all
experiences ; I am not in them , they are in Me ."

The Uttama BhakthA may see all His Ishta Daivam in all
forms of Sriman NaarAyaNA and yet will not put anyone down
for their chosen mode of worship . He will question ,
" Raama nee samaanamevarurA ? " and yet will be
tolerant to another bhaktha engaged in worshipping another
from of divinity and will understand the approach as ultimately
reaching Sriman NaarAyaNA as revealed by Lord KrishNA
in Srimadh Bhagavath GitA .

KrishNArpaNam Asthu .
Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

"Nama sankeerthanam yasya sarva pappra nasanam"
Bhajans are often simple songs in lyrical language expressing emotions of love for the Divine, whether for a single God/Goddess, or any number of divinities. Many bhajans feature several names and aspects of the chosen deity, especially in the case of Hindu sahasranamas, which list a divinity's 1008 names. Great importance is attributed to the singing of bhajans with Bhakti, i.e. loving devotion. "Rasanam Lakshanam Bhajanam" means the act by which we feel more closer to our inner self or God, is a bhajan. Acts which are done for the God is called bhajan.
Traditionally, the music has been Indian classical music, which is based on ragas and tala (rhythmic beat patterns) played on the Veena (or Been), Sarangi Venu (flute), Mridanga(or Tabla) (traditional Indian instruments). The Sikh Scripture contains 31 ragas and 17 talas which form the basis for kirtan music compositions.
Hindus are even said to have achieved Moksha through devoting music to God. For example in the Rig Veda Gargi, the wife of Yajnavalkya, through her excellence in veena playing, an incident that caused Sage Yagnavalkya to write the famous verse:
"Veena Vadama Tatvagnaha
Sruthi Jathi Visharada
Talagnanacha Aprayasena
Mokshamargam Gachachathi"
("Yagnavalkya Siksha")
This is the communal, call-and-response chanting of mantras, often with instruments and dance. Kirtans are deeply rooted in Vedic tradition.
The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length.The Indian classical music has its origin as a meditation tool to attain self realization. All the different forms of these melodies (ragas) affect various "chakras" (energy centers, or "moods") in the path of the "Kundalini". There are specific mental, biological and spiritual results associated with activation of these centers.
Thennadudaiya shivanae potri,
Yennatavarkkum iraivaa potri!
Sarvathra govindha nama sankeerthanam ..
Govindha govindha!
Om shakthi om ,Parashakthi om!
Swamiyae sharanam ayyappa!!

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