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Akhanda Bhajan

As part of the birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Baba, on the second Saturday-Sunday in November, Bhajans (devotional singing) are conducted continuously for 24 hours at all Sathya Sai Centres on a global level praying for peace, harmony and bliss to all mankind.

The significance of community singing is immense, according to Baba. It is the easiest way to reach God in the present age. Speaking on the efficacy of Bhajans, Baba says, "The spiritual vibrations produced by Bhajans confer great joy both on those who sing them and on those who hear the songs. Bhajans remove all negative thoughts, soothe the nerves, purify the mind and fill the body and the heart with sweet love for the divine. As one sings Bhajans, the mind is saturated with God Consciousness and a great ecstasy wells up from within. No mental or intellectual effort is called for, as there is no need to understand anything while uttering the holy names of God and singing His glory. The singing and the atmosphere created by Bhajans takes one beyond the realms of the body, mind and intellect and helps to establish communion with the Higher Self (consciousness) within. Therefore, singing Bhajans becomes a beautiful and blissful experience. Many great composers and musicians like Thyagaraja established communion with God through devotional music.”

Excerpts from Bhagawan’s Discourses:

“Today we are having the Akhanda Bhajan. This is being done not for the sake of one individual, one nation or one community. It is for the welfare of humanity as a whole.

The bhajans that are sung permeate the ether in the form of sound waves and fill the entire atmosphere. Thereby, the whole environment is purified. Breathing in this purified atmosphere, our hearts get purified. Reciting the Lord's name is a process of give and take. Singing the Lord's name should become an exercise 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 should not be treated as a pastime. When thousands of persons join in singing bhajans, they should be fully absorbed in the devotion and the ecstasy of that experience. The singing should be vibrant and soulful and not mechanical or uninspiring. It should combine bhava (feeling), raga (melody) and tala (rhythm). What delight can be experienced when all sing in chorus, 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 Lord'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. What is uttered and dwelt upon should be hailed by clapping the hands. This threefold concentration on the Divine name - unity of mind, speech and action - purifies the heart and nourishes the feeling of devotion.

When the chanting of the Name is done in community singing, it should be in a form in which the entire group can participate easily. The tune, the rhythm, etc. should be such 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. Their minds will be distracted. When all the devotees participate in the bhajan, the vibrations that are produced will generate joy and harmony.”

- Divine Discourse on Akhanda Bhajan day on November 8, 1986

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