Devotional Singing

Be a Song!

I virtually rushed to Devotional Group Singing at the Sai Centre that Thursday. On my way, I found it hard to switch my mind from the application of article 42 of the Convention on The Rights of Children, which at work I had to consider in an adoption case, to the more stress-free devotional singing.

As everything happens according to the Sankalpa (the Will of the Lord), the main bhajan singers had not turned up. They are the singers who attend bhajan training and they lead the devotional songs at the Sai Centre. Others, mostly working women that included me, sing in chorus. The ‘Bhajan Convener’ and the musicians arrived; a list of devotional songs was hastily drawn and handed over to the Convener. He looked at the list.

He turned to me and asked me to sing a song as he knew that I sang in chorus and that I had a good voice. For an unknown reason, I added the name of a song ‘Baba awo mere kirtan mein!’ and my name on the list and gave it back to him. Sankalpa!  Sankalpa! Things just happen and we have no control over them!

I sang all the songs in chorus and lo! When ,at the top of my voice, I was leading  the fifth line ‘Antar Jyoti Jagado ’( let my inner light awake!) of the song, I was pleasantly surprised to see ,before my bemused eyes, the altar of  Sai Baba suddenly illumined as someone at the back of the bhajan hall switched on the electricity. I thanked Baba profusely in my heart for what I considered was a Divine message.

Before I left the bhajan hall, I went up to the bhajan convener to pay my respects and to thank him. He asked me whether I was conversant in ‘Sanskrit’ to which I meekly replied ‘No!’He then pointed out to me that in the bhajan, instead of’ ‘darsaa’ (eclipse, light) I said ’darshan’ (divine presence) which was wrong. I apologized. I pointed out to him that I learnt’ bhajans’ after long years of singing in chorus and never from a ‘Guru’. A working woman and a mother of four, I could not attend bhajan training.

Though I did appreciate the pertinent remark of the convener as I realized it was an invitation to join bhajan training, I felt a little pain in the region of the heart.

Late at night, I opened my mail box and Sankalpa! I found the above Baba’s message posted in a Sai Forum and on the spur of the moment, a balm was applied on my heart by the invisible hand of the Divine.

‘What is the difference between the singer and the song? Singer is conscious of the people listening to him. Singer is conscious of the previous singer. He is also thoughtful of the next singer. The singer aims to be number one for that bhajan session. He is just an ordinary singer. But a listener who joins in chorus, singing in joy, not thinking of the singer at all, thinks of the song. He becomes the song himself. That is Divine. Be a song and not a singer!’ Sri Sathya Sai Baba

 Since that memorable day when asked I refuse to sing as a leading singer. However, I continue to sing devotional songs for the Lord in chorus now that I am aware I am His song.

Anita Bacha


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