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The Yoga of Devotion - What is Bhajans...?

8 Aug
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Written by Aldona from Agama Yoga.

Bhajans is a way of practicing Bhakti Yoga- the Yoga of Devotion. We can do many things in our lives with devotion, in fact I feel the fact of devotion is a beautiful way to approach almost everything we do. To do something with devotion means to do it with love, from the heart, and offering it to something higher than yourself. In bhajans, the practice is to sing (and dance if you feel called to) with devotion.

Sometimes bhajans are mistakenly called kirtans. Although the intention can be boiled down to the same thing, in bhajans the leading crew sings together with the crowd, whereas in kirtans it is call and response.

It is beautiful to feel the energy build up throughout the practice. We sit in a circle, with more circles around the inner circles depending on how full the hall gets…usually pretty full so I like to arrive in time to get a good spot up in the front close to the altar in the center and the bhajans crew. Then we usually start with centering ourselves in the heart, and warming up our voices by singing the letter “aaaaaaa” (which is by the way the vowel that tends to activate anahata chakra, the heart chakra). Then, a series of selected songs are sung. Those who have been attending for longer end up learning them all by heart, otherwise there are booklets available as most of the songs are in Sanskrit. The booklets do include a translation and usually a brief introduction is given about the song, and what the intention could be for singing it (of course you can always set your own intention). For example, sometimes we begin with singing one about Lord Ganesha, the one who removes obstacles.

So super sweet it is, as we transition from one to the other, with short moments of awareness in between. Sometimes the energy raises so high, and there are people singing at the top of their lungs and/or dancing in the back of the hall. I would need to clarify that it is NOT a party or a concert. It is a form of spiritual practice.
We end by taking a few moments in silence, allowing the energies to crystallize within our being, and then finally concluding with a grateful thought to Shiva and Shakti.
Bhajans and kirtan are offered at a few places around in Srithanu, but mostly because of being so familiar with the community, and energy at Agama and really liking it, I end up going to the one there. There won’t be bhajans at Agama in July and August. So in the meantime, that gives me the perfect opportunity to experience other bhajans and kirtan around on the island! Bhajans Agama Yoga will be back in September (every Saturday, 20:30-22:00 at the Agama Yoga campus in Srithanu). It’s a free community event, and everyone is warmly welcome to join.

Hope to meet some of you souls in song somewhere out there! You might recognize me as the girl up in the front with her eyes closed going all out like there’s no tomorrow. Or I might be sitting in the back, especially if I’m new there. It’s like I am shy, until I am not shy. And once I get to the point of not being shy, then I’m really not shy.
 

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