Devotional songs & bhajans
Sing aloud the glory of God and charge the atmosphere with divine worship; the clouds will pour holiness as rain on the fields; the seeds will feed on it and purify and strengthen the food; the food will evoke divine impulses in man. That is why I insist on singing the names of the Lord together.
In the Sai centres and at all national meetings, singing together has a high priority. Every event begins with the universal mantra Om and possibly other mantras. Depending on the cultural orientation of the centres, Indian bhajans or so-called western songs are sung. All events are concluded with silence and mantras. Three essential mantras of Sathya Sai Baba are Gayatri, Asatoma and Samastah Lokah, here in a translation:
Gayatri: The cosmic Om gives rise to the gross, the subtle and the celestial. We worship the supreme divine, the creative power that manifests in the sun. Let us meditate on the radiant light of God which annihilates all darkness and ignorance. May this light illuminate our minds.
Asatoma: From the relative, unreal, lead me to the absolute, true. From the inert and dark, lead me to the light. From death lead me to the heavenly nectar of immortality.
Samastah Lokah: May the whole world be happy. May all beings in all worlds be redeemed and resonate in the sound of divine peace.
Literally, mantra means "instrument of the mind" and also "protecting the mind". Mantras have been received and passed on by meditators for thousands of years. They are recited with voice or in thought, and the repetition creates vibrations that affect the body and the whole atmosphere. The same basic mantras are recited in Sai centres all over the world:
Since 1940, Sai Baba has sung new bhajans again and again, and there are now thousands of such compositions by Him and His students. Musically, they are based on Indian music theory with raga (scale/melody), tala (rhythm) and bhava (feeling). The performance is always precentor - choir. One starts with an invocation of Ganesha, followed by a Guru bhajan, a world religion bhajan, then Devi, Sai, Rama, Krishna and Shiva bhajans. To make it easier to learn, a group of Swiss musicians created a collection of 240 bhajans in Western notation:
Early on, Baba also started singing English bhajans. Since the founding of the international organisation, it has been emphasised that outside India, songs in the national languages and songs from other religions and cultures should also be sung, called western songs in analogy to the eastern bhajans. A multilingual songbook with international songs from different cultures was created in collaboration with the musicians of the Swiss centres. The book is exclusively for internal use in the Sathya Sai centres and groups in Switzerland:
The musicians Roger, Martin, Stefanie and Reto, who also created the Swiss bhajan book and the western songbook, offer anyone interested to sing and practise bhajans accompanied by harmonium, sitar and tabla. This event takes place once a month on a Sunday from 10.00-17.00 at Stefanie & Martin's home at Hausmattstrasse 11, 4438 Langenbruck. Please announce your arrival: