Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bajaans Bhakti and Yoga

Bunjil's Cave Gadaichi man spirit of the 

Custodians of the Earth mother
Aboriginal Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people have been linked to this seasonal cycle, which includes Gwangal Moronn (the season of the honey bee), Chinnup (the season of cockatoos) and Petyan (the season of butterflies).

Devotional Bajaan
Hari Om
Govinda Jay Jay
Kavisha Mazella vocals harmonium
Gerard Menzel Vocals Tabla


We were jamming in the house one day and this is a take from a practice before a show some months later at a song and music festival in Kyneton.

Its garage band stuff but you will get the feel for bajaan here..

What are  bajaans? 
Bajaans are songs created for devotion. To whom you ask? It can be devotion to a deity if your a Hindu or it can be to the earth and nature itself which is a representation directly of the divine beauty of the universe.
Its devotional, its fun, its not superior, its warm n goosy at times and bubbles  happiness under your skin.. (but keep it a secret ok...) We cant have everyone buzzing happiness and joy.

Thank you Kavisha  for blessing us with you voice.

Picture of the bush
Bunjils Shelter Gariwerd Park (grampians)

Bunjil was a aboriginal Gadachi or spirit man. This area is buzzing with shakti. There is a cave painting there of a dog and that is associated with Bunjil.

Bajaans and Bhakti

Bajaans are devotional songs that are directed to s diety of holy person in order to evoke their spirit and shakti or energized prana for healing and to oen the pathways of the shashumna nadi (also known as Shiva's veena) 1. similar to the vagus nerve and the sympathetic parasympathetic nerve system in the spine.

Bajaans are a direct way of meditating. They open the voice and breathing so the throat chakra is activeated. The throat and voice is related to self expression and is the 5th Chakra or wheel of energy in the Yogic system which travels up and down the spine and has 7 wheels or chakras.

The spine is often called Shivas veena as the shashumna nadi or spine is the column for the prana or breath of shiva to travel up and down in.  This is similar to the vagus nerve in physiology.

Prana or Breath
When one sings the spinal nerves are activated with breath as we sit straight and open our chests (heart chakra and love ) to the universe.  By breathing as we sing with the intent of devotion and love the heart chakra and the mind are made peaceful. The mind and the heart are associated because if one is agitated or peaceful the other will be.  Therefore the calming of the mind in devotional prayer or singing to the divine quietens the mind and the heart is restful.

The singer approaches the singing similar to a meditation sitting, quietly and without distractions. It usually lasts some time in order for the body mind to quieten. If it is done regularly the person will become more earthed and steady of mind and emotion.

Like breathing, sound has an important role in opening of the chakras to prana or energy.
Each chakra is stimulated by some sounds like the word Ma Amma Mum is associated from birth with the love for mother. We do not have to learn this sound. It is practically gene encoded into us.
This activates the heart chakra and love.  The Indian ragas made use of these sounds and categorized them into 24 Shrutis or sound fragments There are natural scales for the musicality of sound and the west system is Do Ra Me Fa So La Ti Do and the indian system is Sa RA Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa. These sounds can be roughly connected to a chakra or more. Sa and Do work on the first 2 or 3 chakras. Some sounds start on one chakra and move to the next in completion like Pa. It starts on the throat and finishes in the throat and chest.

How to get awareness of sound 
Sit in a quiet place and say the mantra or bajaan then sing it being aware of where your breath is. In time you will become aware of the chakras and the sound it is activating.  First study where the chakras are and correlate the sounds as you sit and practice being. Note I said "being" for meditation is a state of being not something that can be learned or remembered. In time you will be able to feel the emotions and your chakras responding in unison.  For example fear or anger effects the stomach area often, but may not be limited to there. Fear effects the heart too and decision making.

Intrinsic sacred sound
Take the sound Aaaah, this is a natural sound that activates the heart and can be found in 95% of mantras and bajaans. The sounds AMEN, AUM also HUM are used in west Indian and Tibetan chanting and prayer. Look for these sounds in the mantras and witness their affects on your emotion self. They calm they stabilize and then centre. They allow one to turn inward away from the 5 senses to the inner spirtual world.

Forget yourself
So a reminder to sing to the sky, the heavens when you sing in order to lose yourself. That is the conscious identification with the body the ego, time and space. This will refresh your spirit and give you energy and peace.

So there is a little to work on as you chant and meditate on the sacred sounds.

Baba Virsah Singh ji Maharaj 

Bhakti; the heart and You
Bhakti yoga and kirtan, singing music are hand in hand. In fact singing devotional music and prayer is arguably the most direct way to open the heart and develop love, in your life, approach to work, life relationships and nature. Singing is a human condition and song is to life what water is to land. In singing we praise life and we express the fact that we can feel emotion be it joy, sadness, fear, anger, pathos, and express what we experience.  The path of love and bhakti is to open the human heart to embrace love and to drain out, cleanse oneself of  conditions that inhibit love,like.. fear, prejudice, anxiety, lethargy, anger, superiority, uncertainty, disconnectedness, etc...  

On the farm
I remember sitting in the garden of Gobind Sadan, (a spiritual working communal farm on the edge of Delhi in the 1990's a place where I spent on and off 17 years) with my teacher and there was the light of the stars, the flicker of home made candles and the dust in the air.  People all around me were crossed legged on the grass singing in ecstatic joy, sometimes quietly and at others with passion, singing the praises of life.  

The harmonium wafted through the air and the beat of the tabla drum constantly earthing the singers and musicians to the fixed recurrent rhythm of the 8 beat tala always returning to the Sum or Gur.  
The sum means ONE the beginning and infers all that links and joins together like the stuff of genes and cells and blood, breath, air, water the stuff that courses through all living things. In spiritual musician circles it can also be a reference to the ONE that brings together, the beginning of time, eternity's birth.

Maharaj my teacher was present and he sat like a historic Raja, a real Maharaja watching over his beloved followers with one pulse so close to your own thoughts (as close as a strand of one's own hair) and the other part of his spirit in a place, a world that none of us yet knew. A world so huge so loving it was as if the earth rumbled when one approached him. But a place he was guiding us too, a heaven, an abode of persistent truth, of compassion, where stars and space and continuous change was the norm, the stuff of love and joy. 

Just to be around Maharaj was transformational. One could not have a negative thought almost (yes and we all tried constantly to do that being mortal and unrealized) in his presence. The air breathed love around Baba, the flowers in the garden always looked and felt bigger, brighter and more amazing when he stepped into sight or even when he was away.  He was a larger than life human being in every aspect of the phrase, huge in stature being over 6 feet, a capacity for compassion and healing like Jesus, and a clarity and insight like the burning rays of the noon sun. 

As I was sitting there with a feeling of joy, simple joy I felt like I was in India in say 1300, the robust nature of the farm in the early days with cold water and wells for drinking from, its dusty paths, where workers often slept communally in a big room male and female separated, where prayer was practiced 3 times a day by most people, food shared communally, etc  It reflected an Indian Sikh traditional rural community, a world that probably had not changed in centuries. 

The earthyness of the Sikh way of life with its love of nature, growing abundant crops, working with your hands and simple devotion to the UNNAMED ONE. Sikhs dont have a name like GOD because they say he is not able to be put into words truthfully. So they leave the space empty and seek the feeling of that spiritual force. "Wah" and "Wahe Guru" are often said aloud at bajaan times and daily prayer to signify thanks to the UNNAMEABLE ONE.

All these blessings I felt bestowed on me like I was reborn and now sitting once again in front of my teacher after another rebirth, seeking the truth.  I felt an amazing sense of gratefulness, gratitude as I would be continually welcomed to this house of God (literally;Gobind Sadan Gods House) year after year and from the day I entered this house the warm of compassion's eyes and the soft hands of love prevailed. This wellspring of love persistently showered me and nurtured me year after year, through troughs and highs in my life.  I realized then that heaven is not a place outside ones own consciousness. It can be here and now in the Blissful state of ; sitting by a stream letting nature drift your mind into eternity, the joy of giving a smile to one in need, the unity of being there when someone is suffering beside you. 


Black range Gariwerd overlooking Halls'

World Music, Viet fusion

Bamboo Ochre 
Dhang Thao - zither
Cadre - Flute
Hung- keys mandolin
David- bass 
Adelaide Arts Centre outdoor stage circa 90's

Bamboo Ochre
worked in the 90's around state and national
folk festivals and S.A. venues playing a fusion of
Asian and western music. Most of the music was
created by Dang Thao a Vietnamese refugee
who was incarcerated by the communists
before fleeing for the fact that he was a popular
musician. Hung also contributed songs another

Thao is an extraordinary musician with a gift for conveying the soul of music to the audience.
Time and time again I witnessed him captivate an audience with his charm and unique Vietnamese joy and compassioin.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Bajaan Chanting Programe March 5 2017

Youtube link

Ek Onkar Sat Nam Sirre Wahe Guru

This mantra is from the Sikh tradition.  
Ek- one     Onkar - world     Sat truth     Nam - the name      Sirre wahe - praise      Guru - dispeller of darkness

Version 2 

Slightly different Version of Ek Onkar 5min clip
This is a lengthy 25min version to sing to.
Guru Gobind Singh the tenth and final Sikh Guru

Jaya Guru from the Kashmir Shaivite tradition
Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Dev Om Guru Om Guru Om Guru Dev
This mantra is from the Hindu tradition of Kashmir (Shiva followers) made famous by the Bhagwan Nityananda his shishya (disciple) Muktananda his shishya Gurumai Chiddhvilasananda tradition at GurudevSiddhaapeet  Guru means - dispeller of darkness  Jaya - praise  Dev - divine being  
Om- unity of sound

Radhe Radhe Govinda Govinda Radhe with Krishna Das

Gayatri Mantra with Deva Premal

 Mantra for Bajaan chanting

1)Namah Parvate Pataye hara hara / Hara hara hara hara Maha deva / Om Shiva Shankar Maha Deva

2) Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Dev  / Om Guru Om Guru Om Gruru Dev

Sikh tradition
3) Ek Onkar Sat Nam Sirre wahe Guru  
(one world truth is its name praise to the dispeller of darkness)

4) Once was lost, Now I’m found, In my darkness, You were the one,
Now I’m here to give your thanks, For what you done

5) Radhe Radhe Govinda Govinda Radhe  / Radhe Govinda  Govinda Radhe Gopala Radhe

Gayatri Mantra
6) Om Bhuur-Bhuvah Svah  / Tat-Savitur-Varennyam   

Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi / Dhiyo Yo Nah Pracodayaat

Meaning of Gayatri Mantra
1: Om, (that Divine Illumination which Pervades the) Bhu Loka (Physical Plane, Consciousness of the Physical Plane), Bhuvar Loka (Antariksha or Intermediate Space, Consciousness of the Prana) and Swar Loka (Swarga, Heaven, Consciousness of the Divine Mind),
2: On that Savitur (Divine Illumination) which is the Most Adorable (Varenyam), ...
3: ... and which is of the nature of Divine Effulgence (Bhargo Devasya), I meditate,
4: May that Divine Intelligence (Dhiyah) Awaken (Pracodyat) our (Spiritual Consciousness).

Chrissy and Toby from Castlemaine Chanting, Harmonium, guitar
Tony Hogan (Tilopa) - Melb. musician oud, bouzouki, guitar 
 Gerard Menzel - tabla, harmonium

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Devotional Bajaan 1st Sunday of Month 11.00 2hrs

1st of Month Sunday 11.00 - 13.00
Devotional Bajaan  1st Sunday of Month 11.00  2hrs

Where; The Forge Yoga 341 Barker st Castlemaine

 Bajaans; are devotional songs dedicated usually to a deity in Hinduism. They are based on the belief that sounds and words have the ability to transform energy. Bajaans are sung usually in a group setting or satsang. It is a tapas (training) or pursuit on the path to oneness (Samadhi)

The singer; or devotee seeks to open the heart to the feeling initiated by the devotional chant to a diety or saint.  It is a simple and direct way to open ones heart to love, compassion, generosity, and perfecting a relationship with oneself and the other. Paradoxically in bhakti Yoga the goal is to merge self with the other so all is one harmony of light, sound, movement and silence. In this stillness of mind the other is no more.

For whom and why ?
This is an open event and the aim is to meet share some food and sing together. To sing with thanks for the gift of life and the ability to love and feel joy.

Healing; Earth and heart
Chanting and prayer also have the ability to heal the soul, heal the emotional body and the physical and many have found amazing changes within after regular singing. Not only the healing is for oneself but for the myriad of suffering people around the world and planet earth.

Non sectarian non denominational non religious
Singing is a natural human attribute and love also.  We seek to build a gathering of unconditional relationships connected by the love of song, the desire to heal and to be open and free of anything that inhibits our ability to be in touch with the presence of joy. Although it is a tradition of yoga in many faiths and traditions song and dance have played a part in healing, uniting community and realizing the soul.

New musicians welcome contact Gerard 0407734479 

What to bring
Food to share $3 single $5 couple to cover hire, tea etc

Children are welcome but please realize it is the parents duty manage them at all times.
If a child is unsettled its better to take them out for a break so as not to disturb the peace.
But by all means introduce the children to the the space of song but remember their attention spans differ, so parents be aware and make adjustments.

Details of programme ; wildlotus-arts.blogspot.com.au
A Wild Lotus Arts event; Gerard Menzel

Online     Click Register here 
or hit the General booking form on the right of this page
Thur before the event, spaces limited  call 
Phone Gerard 0407734479

How to get there.

Venue The Forge Yoga centre

MaPS link to address

Devotional songs and bajaans

song; Krishna Krishna Kahiye - Pt. Bhimsen Joshi 

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is one of the most talented Indian classical singers in our time.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Mantra bajaan ; Jai Guru

A devotional mantra to the guru.

Image of Anandamaya or Amma

I visited her beautiful ashram in Kerala in 2000 amongst the canals and coconut palms.  In the evenings her bajaan music wafted among the waves of the sea and the heat of the tropics.

Guru - dispeller of darkness

1806, gooroo, from Hindi guru "teacher, priest," from Sanskrit guru-s "one to be honored, teacher," from guru- "venerable, worthy of honor," literally "heavy, weighty," from PIE root *gwere- (2) "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). see translation

Mantra bajaan ; Ek Onkar Sat Nam

This is the principal mantra from Baba Virsah Singh to his followers.


One God whose name is truth , unspeakably wonderful Master of both light and darkness.  

See Gobindsadan.org for more.

Music, tabla and harmonium by Gerard Menzel

The fire is called a 'haven' where the mantras and prayers are sung and recited by. The haven or agni in yoga is the sacred place of Lord Shiva place of (life and death smarshan) hence smarshan ghat ; a place on the Ganves R. where lord shivas sacred burning pyre is.  This represents the transformational process of life death and creation. See my other bajaans on Shiva.

This mantra used daily throughout your life will make ones soul peaceful.

Mantra bajaan; Jai Jai Shiva shambho

Jai Jai Shiva shambho  
Jai Shiva shambho  
Mahaveva Shambho
Mahaveva Shambho


Shiva - name of the
Jai - exclamation of praise

Mahadeva -the Great God, and also Shambo - the abode of joy.

For more on Shiva click

Mantra bajaan Sat Nam Wahe Guru

Picture Baba Virsah Singh 1990's on the farm

Sat Nam Wahe Guru

Sat - truth       Nam - the name      Wahe - praise / exclamation     Guru - the dispeller of darkness

Sit in a quiet place and chant these sacred words passed down from the time of Guru Nanak the first Sikh guru and peace will be found within.

Suggested reading 
Macauliff M. The Sikh religion
Youtube Just search; Gobind Sadan, Baba Virsah Singh on the net.

Bajaan; Sri Krishna Govinda Hari Murari

Mantra for Yoga bajaan practice.

Sri Krishna Govinda Hari Murari
Hai Natanarayana

This mantra directs us to Krishna the incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Krishna speaks and teaches us of love.

Narayan is also the diety Vishnu. Vishnu is the preserver of life.

Narayan is also associated with water. He is, "the one who rests on water."
This is one version of the many on creation;
 According to one of many versions of the story of the origin of the universe, in the beginning the god Narayana (identified with Vishnu) floated on the snake Ananta (“Endless”) on the primeval waters. From Narayana’s navel grew a lotus, in which the god Brahma was born reciting the four Vedas with his four mouths and creating the “Egg of Brahma,” which contains all the worlds.

see; https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hinduism/The-Bhagavadgita#ref405106


If you sit in a quiet space and quietly recite this mantra the sounds  or shruti  will evoke  bij (seeds) .of your spiritual self. The self that is indefinable and mirrors love.



Sunday, 12 February 2017

Kirtan and Bajaan ; secrets of music and the heart

Snatam Kuar on kirtan and bajaan singing music from CBC radio tapestry.

I found this interview informative as per Mary Hines at Tapestry. She is fun.

For more on kirtan and singing search Gobind Sadan on youtube to see Baba Virsah Singh and his message of hope.

This lady is open minded and embraces rather than its opposite ...joins and encourages rather than put up barriers and elitist notions. Enjoy

go here for more Snatam Kuar

Wild Lotus Arts & Healing Gerard Menzel

On the road to Now and Nowhere

This short biography will help you trace the origins of an artist in pursuit of understanding in the world, contentment and beauty.

For all those who wish to follow their inner inclinations, their wild dreams that others may find absurd, obscure or outright dangerous.....I wholeheartedly nod my head to you. "Life is short so make it as sweet as she goes."  For when you engage with something with passion time fully in your physical and mental self .... you are no more. There is no self as time stands still. Meditation as an exercise no longer needs to be sought nor even spoken about.

On my travels I have gone through a handfull of passports never once thinking of securing a future via the financial route but always having more than enough in life to be happy. I follow the adage of E.F Schumacher, "Small is beautiful" and since a long time ago have tried to live his "Buddhist economics."

As my mentor and teacher Andre Sollier said..." an artist as a spiritual seeker just keeps exploring, enquiringand looking on and on til the last breath."  Yes and never let answers get in the way eh!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017