We have so far drunk the nectar of bhajans with our ears. It is Swamiji’s sankalpa that one day a thousand voices sing bhajans together in Hyderabad. All of you must join classes conducted by Kosuru Seshu Latha garu. Many people hesitate to open their throat and sing. You must practice singing for an hour at least everyday.
Devotees in Chennai have been asking for a Kalaranga. School students there have a week-long bhajan competition program around Oct-Nov. This is conducted in the Chennai ashrama. Every Dec - Jan, music concerts are hosted in the Chennai ashram under the Nada Sudha banner. The children sing Swamiji’s bhajans like a medley, irrespective of who is present / not present in the audience. Countless schools participate. Approximately 150 schools including convent schools participate. Amongst the students of each school, there are children who learn and play violin, tabla, keyboard and mridangam. Special prizes are awarded for such school groups. It is difficult to sing in Shruti. If one eats oily food, it is very difficult for the breath to traverse outward. Tamilians are very clever in this regard. They eat more idlis made with millets and coconut chutney. This may not seem tasty for two days, (Swamiji jokes about how it tastes like licking a wall) but it’ll become tasty by the third day. They make vadas without oil. They have so much interest in bhajans that they do not care about what others think. They just sing.
One must do sadhana everyday. Listen to bhajans which are on SGS Kirtana channel in YouTube. Even if the raga sounds different, one will at least become familiar with the lyrics. If one starts singing at home, there maybe some feuds at home initially, but eventually other family members will join. (Swamiji jokes about how one should sing popular film songs and ask if this is better. Then people will automatically stop protesting). Bhajans are filled with medicinal properties and boost memory power. There are many Telugu and sanskrit bhajans. Those who sing bhajans are very dear to Me and will become closer to Appaji.
Just as devotees in the US invite ten people home and have bhajans program for an hour, you could host a similar program here as well. The Chennai ashram has a big air-conditioned hall with good acoustics like a studio. This has been done by Swamji. Mysore has Nada Mantapa and there are plans to build an auditorium in Bangalore. There should be an auditorium in Hyderabad as well. There is a history behind each bhajan. Each bhajan is a medicinal pill, the benefits of which you will realise as you sing it. One experiences great mental peace. There is also great gnyana in bhajans. As you learn the meaning, you will want to learn more. Only when you sit in one place and sing for 3 hours, will you develop Nada Siddhi. You must practice sitting down on the floor or on a stool and practice singing for 3 hours at least. As you keep sitting on the floor, eventually back pain will also go away.
Swamiji’s bhajans include tattva bhajans and Keertanas as well. Learn to sing confidently while keeping talam. Even if it seems hard initially, keep talam. Avoid eating oily food 3 hours before you sing. If you do end up eating fried food, gargle well with salt water. Today, as part of Ati Rudra Yaga, rituals were performed to the first Shivalinga. Rituals will next be offered to the remaining ten Shivalingas over the course of the Yaga.