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'

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