The joy we get from singing bhajans and by performing worship is temporary. But by experiencing the essence of "Soham" Mantra, you will get eternal joy. This soham is also known by the name "Hamsa Gayatri". "So" means "that", "Ham" means "I am". "I am that" is the meaning of Soham. You should chant Soham with every breath. When you breathe, you are inhaling "So" and you are exhaling "Ham". If we repeat Soham Mantra with every inhalation and exhalation of breath, it will do a lot of good to you. Repeat "Soham" with every breath and watch your breath carefully.
Divine Discourse: May 26, 2002
When you sing Bhajans, take care that the words you utter do not convey negative meanings. Here is an example. Our boys sing many Hindi Bhajans, in which they often use the word 'Thu' meaning 'you'. They sing 'Thu Rama', 'Thu Krishna', 'Thu Sai'. (You are Rama, you are Krishna, you are Sai, etc.) But in Telugu, the letter 'Thu' conveys a derogatory meaning. You may use 'Thu Hai' instead of 'Thu'. The Bhajans you sing must convey sacred meanings. You should not give scope for disrespectful words.
While doing Bhajans, you may sing various songs with different tunes and beats but your mind should be constantly fixed on the Atma. All your actions must be done with the sole purpose to please God. Arjuna asked Lord Krishna as to how he can fight in the war if he has to constantly think of God. Krishna replied, "O simpleton, it is your body and the senses which are involved in the warfare. Such being the case, you can always focus the mind on God."
Divine Discourse: February 22, 2001
You should sanctify yourself and the atmosphere around by chanting the divine name. What is the purpose of doing Bhajans? Chanting of the divine name purifies the atmosphere by sending sacred vibrations in to it. These vibrations, set off by the chanting of the divine name, destroy evil and impure feelings deeply ingrained in man.
People do Bhajans without understanding their significance. Instead of focusing their attention on God, they are bothered too much about the tune and the rhythm. No doubt, tune and rhythm are also essential in Bhajans. But once you fill your heart with Divine love, the tune and the rhythm will automatically be taken care of. If you concentrate too much on the tune and the rhythm, you will not be able to think of God. Just as the iron ball cast in fire becomes one with it, your mind should become one with God. Water cannot be separated from milk; likewise, your mind should get merged in God. You should not think that you are separate from God.
Divine Discourse: May 15, 2000
Divine Discourse: September 1, 2000
The role of bhajans in purifying the atmosphere should be recognized. In this context, the role of community singing should be understood. Singing bhajans in your home, you may indulge in your fancies and derive whatever joy you get therefrom. "Sankirtan" (community singing) calls for whole headed, soulful singing, which moves the hearts of the listeners. Bhajans should not be a routine ritual. You must put your heart and soul into the singing.
In reciting the names of the Lord you have to bear in mind another fact. When you recite the names thousands of devotees are listening. You must chant names which are familiar to all of them. You should not expect people to follow whatever you sing. You should see that they can easily respond to your song. The names you chant should be short and sweet. If you use big words and complicated terms, the devotees will not be able to follow you. In that situation they may get depressed. What can they do when they do not hear you properly and cannot respond in chorus? They get disgusted.
Therefore, in your bhajans use short names like Rama, Krishna, Allah, Yesu and so on. Then all would be able to follow you with ease. If you use high sounding words, few can follow you. Eschew any aversion to any faith or nation. Have no ill will towards any one. Do not cause hurt to anyone. Look upon all alike. This feeling of oneness should spread all over the world.
Divine Discourse: April 11, 1997
Realize 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 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 with antibiotics as it were.
Bhajans are therefore supremely valuable. It has been said that in the Kali Age there is no greater spiritual practice than chanting the name of the Lord. Let one remember the name of Raama at the time of passing, whether he is a millionaire or a pauper, whether he is a scholar or an illiterate. Sing the name of the Lord and redeem your lives!
Divine Discourse: October 23, 1994
Today we are having the Akhanda Bhajan (nonstop twenty-four-hour global bhajan by Sai devotees all over the world). 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 gets 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 devotional process and the ecstasy of that experience. The singing should be vibrant and soulful and not mechanical or drawling and 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.
Many who organize mass singing on special occasions are not aware what kind of bhajans should be sung then. A person who has an individual style of his own may sing as he likes in private, but he is not suitable for community singing.
There are some rules to be observed in conducting community bhajans. Alapana (elaboration of a raga) may be done in keerthana (individual singing), but it is wholly out of place in community bhajans. Hence, in such bhajans the accent should be entirely on the Name.
Divine Discourse: November 8, 1986
Embodiments of the pure Atman! Last November, on the 23rd, people from all parts of the world had assembled here to celebrate the Golden Jubilee, and office-bearers of the centers were here for the Second World Conference and other functions that took place. Later they expressed their desire that they be allotted a date, before the close of the Jubilee Year, when they in their own places could celebrate the happy occasion. In order to overcome their disappointment it was decided that, in all centers all over the world, namasamkirtan (singing the glory of God's name) would be held for a full twenty-four hours, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday (yesterday) and ending at 6:30 p.m. today.
Therefore, in 42 countries around the globe more than 7000 centers have enthusiastically taken up this pleasant assignment.
This has been named an akhanda bhajan, that is to say, devotional singing done without a break. But was it really an akhanda bhajan? It is begun at 6:30 on the evening of one day and is closed at 6:30 on the evening of the next day. Can we call it 'unbroken' devotional singing? What is a period of 24 hours when we consider the vastness of the universe and the eternity of time? It is just a wink, a minute part of the life of man on earth. By engaging yourselves in the recitation of the Name of God for one single day, you claim to have done devotional singing "without a break!" Akhanda-bhajan must be as continuous as breathing itself if it is to deserve its name.
You must probe into the real significance of the samkirtan that you are engaged in. Kirtan is "singing aloud the Glory of God." Samkirtan is the process of singing, which originates in the heart, not from the lips or 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. It is sung for one's own joy, one's own satisfaction, one's own delight. Kirtan of this supreme type alone deserves the name samkirtan.
Singing this intense yearning for God and enjoying the experience of adoring Him helps to purify the atmosphere. Man is today forced to breathe the air polluted by sounds that denote violence, hatred, cruelty, and wickedness. Therefore, he is fast losing the high attainments that are in store for him. The vibrations resulting from singing the glory of God can cleanse the atmosphere and render it pure, calm, and ennobling. It is with this high purpose in view that this program of global samkirtan was designed.
Divine Discourse: November 14, 1976
Again, Akhanda bhajana means that it should not be just a twenty-four hour affair or even a seven-day affair; it must go on, from birth to death, this contemplation of the Source and Goal of things. The procession to the cremation ground starts immediately on birth and the beating of the heart is the drumbeat for the march towards that place. Some take a longer route, some reach quickly, but all are on the way. Therefore, Bhajana has to start in 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 the essential food for the mind.
Take the name of the Lord and repeat it always. I was listening to the Bhajana you did here yesterday and today. Your voices were low; they could scarce be heard outside this Hall. I know that in a certain institution where they decided to do Akhanda Bhajana, they had to hire a few persons at so much per hour so that their plan could succeed. Do Bhajana with faith and enthusiasm. Let the whole city shake with the devotion you put into every Name that you sing. The Name promotes comradeship and establishes concord; it stills all storms and grants peace.
Divine Discourse: July 10, 1959