Sathya Sai: The Akhanda Bhajan phenomenon

What is the Akhanda Bhajan? 

The Akhanda Bhajan is a non-stop twenty-four-hour global devotional by Sai devotees all over the world.

The bhajans that are sung permeate the ether in the form of sound waves and fill the entire atmosphere. Thereby, the whole environment gets purified.

The annual event by devotees of Hindu avatar, Sathya Sai Baba is aimed at bringing together people to promote the values of love, kindness and peace globally.

Effects of the Akhanda Bhajan

Breathingin this purified atmosphere, our hearts get purified. Reciting the Lord’s nameis a process of give and take. Singing the Lord’s name should become anexercise in mutual sharing of joy and holiness.

It should be remembered that the sounds we produce reverberate in the atmosphere. They remain permanently in the ether as waves and outlast the individual uttering the sounds.

Community bhajans shouldnot be treated as a past time. When thousands of persons join insinging bhajans, they should be fully absorbed in the devotional processand the ecstasy of that experience.

The singing should be vibrant and soulful,and not mechanical or drawling and uninspiring. It should combine feeling (bhava), melody (raga) and rhythm (tala).

What delight can be experienced when many voices melt into a singular drone of absolute bliss, with the same feeling, in the same tune, and to the same timing!

When there is such unity, the Divine can be experienced.

Not all realize the potency and efficacy of reciting the divine’s name. The first requisite is purity of thought, word, and deed. The name that is uttered by the tongue should be meditated upon by the mind.

Clapping your hands should hail what is uttered and dwelt upon. This threefold concentration on the Divine name –unity of mind, speech, and action– purifies the heart and nourishes the feeling of devotion.

When chanting the divines names in communal singing, it should be in a form in which the entire group can participate easily.

The tune, the rhythm, etc. should besuch that all can follow the bhajan. If the lead singer takes up a song that is not familiar to others, the response from the group will be poor. There will be no enthusiasm or genuine participation with the mind being distracted.

When all the devotees participate in the bhajan, the vibrations that are produced will generate joy and harmony.

Some rules are to be observed in conducting community bhajans. Elaboration of a melody (alapana) may be done in individual singing (keerthana), but it is wholly out of place in community bhajans.

Hence, in such bhajans, the accent should be entirely on the Name. 

How to sing?

  • Sing full-throated, dwelling on the meaning of the words / ideas in the Bhajan / focusing on God with Bhava – Raga – Tala (with pure feelings for God, paying attention to the tune and beats)
  • Feeling the bliss of God’s Name (then this bliss will be transmitted to the public)
  • Remember that devotional group singing is an intensely spiritual activity, in which the focus of each song and its meaning brings one closer to the Lord.

In this Kaliyuga, Namasmaranam (repetition of the Name of God) is enough to make us realise our inherent Divinity, the very purpose of organisation which has Divinity Itself as the eternal Guide.
Concluding aspect of the service is normally in the following sequence:

  • Om Tat Sat
  • Silent Sitting
  • Asato Maa Sat Gamaya
  • Spiritual Talk including vote of thanks– (10 minutes or less, avoid excessive use of Sanskrit terms as this may be distracting)
  • Arathi
  • Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantih!!!
  • Samastha Loka – 3 times
  • Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantih!!!
  • Jai Bolo Bhagavan Shri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki – Jai
  • Vibhuti Prayer

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