Houston Bhajan Session, June 28, 2019 Evening

  • 28 Jun 2019
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Bhajans are filled with powerful seed letters (bījākṣara). Singing bhajans is like performing penance. These bhajans are not compositions. They came automatically to Swamiji. This is Divya Nama Sankeertana. Divya Nama Sankeertana is the easy way to attain liberation. There are a great variety of bhajans that Swamiji composed. Some teach lessons to the Atman. Some praise God. Some are in the form of questions and answers. Some bring light in our lives. Swamiji has filled bhajans with seed letters. Those bhajans are like mantras.

There is an interesting story in Bhagavatam about a wicked man who had neither devotion nor knowledge. Like an animal, he was given excessive eating and sleeping. One day all of a sudden, he wondered what jñāna (supreme knowledge) and bhakti (devotion) are. He sought a Guru and asked for Upadesa (initiation). The Guru refused saying the man was a great sinner and unfit for Upadesa. He asked the man to leave. The man then sought different Gurus, all of whom had the same response. The man was upset. It was true that he was not a good person. But for some reason, he felt like quarreling with God then. “Who is God, who is Guru? All of them are cheaters. God is also a cheater. There is no God or Guru”. He went to the forests. He had doubts about God and this creation. The villagers were happy that this man went away. They felt safe and thought it was God’s grace. This man lived in a small hut in the forest. Since all Gurus refused him, his atman was his Guru. He could not pray to God, so he prayed himself. One day, due to the Guru’s illusory play, the man took a resolve that he would not lie. He resolved to adhere to truth. By God’s grace, he had no wife or children, but was a very wicked man. So, he began questioning himself, “Who am I?” When the question “Who am I?” comes to us that is the first step in gaining jñāna. We should all get this question.

We always identify ourselves by our name, possessions and lineage. That is not who you truly are. We should inquire about the purpose of this birth. We should have self-knowledge. It is very difficult. You need to have some good luck. Only one in a thousand may follow that path. Sure, this man was a sinner, there was no sin he had not committed. Yet, may be this man had some good fortune, may be a modicum of knowledge.

“I am in a forest and there is no one here. This vow of adhering to truth should be easy” he thought. Only if you are in the midst of people will you need to lie. Human beings have to lie. If you do not lie, you are not a human being. A human is one who has all qualities. If you have no qualities, you are not human.  I lie too. I tell some people I would appear in their dreams. They keep waiting without a wink of sleep.  How can I enter their dreams? So, that means I’ve lied too, because neither do those people sleep, nor do I enter their dreams. Raise your hand if you do not eat salt or sour stuff. Just as that is not possible, it is not possible to not lie. For example, if you say you’ve seen God, I say that you are lying because I did not witness you seeing God. Anyway, the story I am telling you is from Srimad Bhagavatam.

This man continued living in the forest. This story is also in Katha Sagar (short riveting stories written by Pujya Swamiji compiled in multiple volumes of books called Katha Sagar). The man’s mind was troubled, and he lacked faith, so he did not even undertake penance or chant prayers. Once day, a porcupine entered his cave with an arrow stuck in its body.  A hunter was chasing it from a distance. The man heard the hunter repeatedly shouting “ayi”, “ayi” to herd the animal. The man mimicked the sound shouting “ayim”, “ayim” to drive away the animal. As soon as the man uttered those sounds, it spurred some knowledge in him. The hunter soon appeared looking for the animal and said the animal was his food.  The man knew he would be sacrificing the animal if he uttered the truth about the animal’s whereabouts. But if he had to save the animal, he would have to lie.

He then slowly responded, “The eye that saw cannot talk. The tongue that can speak did not see. What can I do?” So, with that clever response, the man spoke the truth and also saved the animal. He got out of the situation intelligently. That animal was in fact part of Mother Goddess’ family. The sound “ayim” was the seed letter for Mother Goddess.  It is said that even half a syllable from Bhagavatam or half a verse of the Bhagavad Gita gives liberation. Every letter of Vishnu Sahasra Nama is precious. All these contain seed letters. The words we speak contain seed letters. That is why speak sweetly with a pure heart. All bhajans contain seed letters. The name “Vinayaka” may occur multiple times in a bhajan and there is a reason for the specific number of times it occurs. It is not for rhythm or meter or poetry. Why did Swamiji use the name Vinayaka a set number of times in a bhajan?  There is a calculation behind it.  Bhajans are full of seed letters. Divya Nama Sankeertana is very powerful. Even the general simple bhajans in popular culture are good. But we are progressing in a structured manner with Swamiji’s bhajans. That is why Swamiji already made it known how the bhajans should be sung.

This great sinner, just because he chanted the seed letter “ayim” a few times, gained knowledge. He cleverly got out of the situation and saved the animal. So, do not dismiss anyone. You never know when that person may gain supreme knowledge. That is the greatness of bhajans.

śrī mahāganapate namaha

śrī sarasvtyai namaha

śrī pādavallabha narasimha sarasvati

śrī guru dattātreyāya namaha


Bhajan: vināyakā vināyakā vighnavināśaka vināyakā

Bhajan: ambapāhi jagadamba pāhi

Bhajan: śrīdēvī bhāgavatē bahurūpai rabhivinutāṁ

Bhajan: āghanāśana anaghāpriya amr̥tātmaka namō namō

Bhajan: śiva śiva śaṅkara tava caraṇaṁ

Bhajan: kr̥ṣṇa kr̥ṣṇa mukunda janārdana

Bhajan: kr̥ṣṇaṁ viṣṇuṁ śrīdharaṁ

Bhajan: śrī hanuman jaya hanuman