Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sathya Sai as bhajan sadhana spiritual master taking whole congregation on religious and spiritual experience; ISKCON Lokanatha Swami

This 'Hari Bhajan Bina Sukh Shanti Nahin' bhajan of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, brings back the memories and joy of doing the bhajan sadhana of listening to him live and singing in chorus, with thousands of others in Sai Kulwant Hall, on so many occasions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l3ll5VQkkc, 2 min. 29 secs.

In my humble view, Bhagavan was a great bhajan sadhana teacher/master. It seemed to me, at least during the times I have seen him live singing it from the mid 1990s onwards, that he did not focus on it as an exposition of his singing skills, i.e. as a musical performance by him. He was focused on involving all people in Sai Kulwant Hall in the worship of God (Hari) through song (bhajan), thereby teaching them and giving them the experience of joy of devout and joyous singing of the glory of God. The people singing in chorus (like me) would be so attracted by his sweet and loving voice, his wise words, his sweet and loving facial and hand gestures inviting everybody to sing along, and the joy on his face as he was lead singing and taking everybody along in this bhajan sadhana!

It is my view today that the mark of the great bhajan sadhana teacher/spiritual master is not how musically exquisite his/her bhajan singing may be though that certainly helps in the sadhana, but with how much devotion and spiritual joy the bhajan sadhana spiritual master is singing it, AND, very importantly, how he/she is encouraging the gathering to participate in singing (in chorus typically) thereby making the bhajan a total community singing spiritual and religious experience rather than an individual even if talented singer's musical exposition.

This bhajan's words are very meaningful for a spiritual aspirant - simple words but profound. And the facial and hands expression of Bhagavan would be in tandem with the words being sung. The message was being driven home through melody, words and gestures.

I will never ever forget the joy that Bhagavan gave me through these bhajans that I have heard him sing live in Sai Kulwant Hall, where he involved all of the congregation in Sai Kulwant Hall (including me) to sing along and experience the joy of singing the glory of Lord. I offer my deep gratitude to Bhagavan for those experiences that He gave me (and others).

In this context, I also felt it appropriate to share a great ISKCON contemporary bhajan sadhana spiritual master, His Holiness Lokanatha Swami. Some info. about him from his wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lokanatha_Swami:

Lokanath Swami (born 1949) is an ISKCON guru from India. He is a senior disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (the founder of ISKCON). Lokanatha Swami oversees ISKCON activities and preaching in Maharashtra and Noida, and serves on the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON as a Minister of Padayatra. Lokanatha Swami is involved with various worldwide ISKCON preaching activities. He travels in India and in the West, giving discourses on Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu texts.

Lokanatha Swami was born in Aravade, a small village Maharashtra, India. He pursued his secondary education from Wellington College, Sangli and moved to Bombay to study Chemistry at Kirti College. In the year 1971, after meeting A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his western disciples at a preaching program in Mumbai, he "forsook his study of chemistry in favour of studying the Bhagavad Gita" and joined ISKCON. He took sannyasa (renounced order of life) in 1975. In 1976 he inaugurated the Padayatra walking pilgrimage tour of India where, together with a group of Hare Krishna devotees, a cart and religious books, "he treaded his way on foot across India, preaching the knowledge of sanatana dharma". In 1989 he inaugurated the same preaching program in America. Since then, Padayatra has become instrumental in propagation of Krishna consciousness. In 1986 Lokanatha Swami was appointed an initiating guru in ISKCON. In 1996 he was responsible for organising a celebration of 100th Anniversary of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in India.
--- end wiki extracts ----

Here is H.H. Lokanatha Swami taking the congregation in Germany in 2011 along with him on a bhajan sadhana spiritual experience: Kirtan Mela Nama Yagna with H.H. Lokanath Swami 31.08.2011 in Feriendorf Hoher Hain - Germany, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9GSkZNaSSw, 1 hr. 10 mins.
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About another devout singer-leader of ISKCON but a younger person:
Devout ISKCON kirtan (devotional song) singing by Naru Gopal Das in 2015, at Mayapur, West Bengal, India which is the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the famous 16th century Krishna-devotee saint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkUGbkR7c-o, around 1 hour

[I thank wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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