Isn’t Bhajana another form of singing God’s name? Why should you feel shy or afraid of chanting God’s name? When we do the Japa, we are encouraged to repeat the names of our favorite Lord, loudly. This is not because He cannot hear us. In fact He can. It is more for us to hear ourselves, enthrall ourselves and revel in the symbolism and imagine every aspect of what we are speaking. It is said that even the Rishis in the good old days used to chant The Lord’s name very loudly so that everything around gets purified. One should never fear in taking The Lord’s name or for that matter singing Bhajan’s loudly. When you sing Bhajanas with a full throated voice and with devotion – everything and everybody around you gets purified and the Lord’s name gets spread everywhere. When you volunteer your time or energy or money, you are doing ‘seva’. And when you do ‘seva’ you are straining yourself physically. But singing Bhajanas only means singing loudly which is easy for everyone. Bhajanas gives everyone a chance to talk to the Lord.
In the NSGW Bhajana sessions, we follow a specific order. There is a methodology that we follow and the reasons are pretty simple. Its as simple as “making the project plan and working the plan” to quote Swami Chinmayananda. In this case, the project plan exists, for good reason and we simply follow that. Every activity is preceded by a planning of the objective, how to approach the goal, the method, the steps to go through, and so on. There is a discipline to be followed in each activity. For lack of a better example, its like the Onam Sadhya – there is a step by step process – what to serve first, what next and what last etc. The taste of food, if all the dishes are mixed together and taken, is different from tasting each dish separately. We enjoy more by tasting each dish separately. Similarly, in the Bhajana, we have an order of performance for proper enjoyment.
All Bhajanas are structured for us to think of God, by praising his qualities and gunaas and do vandanam. To get him with us, to become one with him, we seek the grace and help of our Guru for which we sing in praise of Guru. This is because, it is easy to approach God through the footsteps of Gurus and Bhakthaas. Then, we invite him to come to us and on his appearance, we perform Pooja and Archana (Pooja Paddhathi and Upachaara Keerthanam). We love to deck our children with different costumes and make-ups and enjoy his/her varied appearances, so we venture to get God’s vision in the form of Ganapathy, Saraswathi, Subramanya, Ayyappa, Siva, Parvathy, Rama, Krishna, Hanumaan and so on by singing in praise of them (Dhyaanaam).
A disciplined Bhajana thus is the first stepping stone for spiritual evolution through Bhakthi Marga.