IMPORTANCE OF BHAVA (INNER FEELING) IN BHAJANS:
1.Chant the lord's name with love.
2. Sing with Bhava (inner feeling), else, the whole activity of bhajans is rendered useless.
"Bhajans are highly sacred. Bhajan singing makes the heart sacred. What is important is that it should come from the heart. Bhajan is not just rhythm, tune and beat. You should sing GOD's name with love. You will see the manifestation of divinity with your physical eyes when you sing HIS glory with all love. Sing from HEART. This is the only way to get HIM into your HEART."
"Bhava(inner feeling) is the quintessence (purest and most perfect form) of bhajan singing. The heart of the lord is like "soft butter". However to melt this soft butter, we need to show the warmth of bhakthi and devotion expressed through bhava (inner feeling). Only a bhajan (prayer) sung with full bhava (inner feeling) can melt the heart of the lord. It is the cry of devotee with deep yearning (compassion) for the lord. Which makes the lord run to the rescue of HIS devotees. This is the effect of BHAVA".
Even Ice takes some time to melt but GOD's heart melts instantaneously when you chant HIS name with love.
Types of Bhava:
There are six types of Bhava:
Praising the lord undeviated by ups and downs, bearing all the vagaries of fortune as HIS play.
i.e Loving GOD as a friend. Example: The relationship between Krishna and Arjuna.
Loving GOD as one's master and dedicating oneself to HIS service. Example: The path of Hanuman in the Ramayana. He served the lord as his faithful unquestioning servant. He had no wish or will of his own.
Loving GOD as one's child and assuming the role of a mother.
Example: Yashodha, the foster mother of Krishna can be taken as the ideal. Through she had a series of experiences of krishna's divinity, she preferred to serve HIM as HIS mother and to adore HIM as her son.
Loving GOD as one's beloved. Example: Krishna and Gopis.
"Radha was over powered by this Bhava. She saw, heard, tasted, sought and gained only the sweetness at all times and at all places. She made no distinction between nature and GOD.
Whenever a bhajan appeals to us, we usually take the first opportunity available and proceed to sing it during a bhajan session.
IS THIS THE WAY TO SING BHAJANS?
The answer is NO! The song you sing is an offering at the lord's lotus feet and has to be prepared with due diligence (showing care and effort) and care.
How to cultivate Bhava: -
1. Select a bhajan:
Choose simple bhajans, which suit your voice. It is the feeling with which you sing that matters, not the complexity of the tune.
2. Register the lyrics:
Memorize the words of the bhajan. Under stand properly the meaning of the words or lyrics of the song. Learn to pronounce each word the right way.
3. Register the tune:
Hear the bhajan a number of times until the tune gets registered in your mind. Learn the raga on which the bhajan is based. Understand the entire spectrum of the associated raga. Listen to some bhajans or songs based on this raga. This will help one to get the feel of that raga which is necessary for the proper exposition of that raga and in turn the perfect rendering of the bhajan.
4. Learn the tala (The beat):
Learn the tala or the beat to which the song has been composed. One must pay special attention to the laya or the tempo of the song.
5. "Practice 100 times":
During one of the interviews granted to the brindavan bhajan group, swami said.
"Practice 100 times"
Does one really need to practice 100 times to get bhajan prefect? Why did swami say this? Let us examine.
6. Arrive in time; maintain silence before bhajans:
"Where ever my glory is sung, I install myself there".
Give some time to prepare yourself mentally before bhajan, and feel the presence of swami.
7. Have no ego:
Sing to express (your devotion) not impress (with your musical talent). Pray to the lord before singing, for HIS grace, so that you can sing the song as an offering to the lord rather than with an intention to display your musical talent.
"Bhajan must be a felt experience. Do not sing with one eye on the song that makes the effect on the listeners, and the other, on the effect it makes on the GOD. Let your heart pant for GOD; then, the raga (musical tune) and tala (musical beat) will automatically be pleasant and correct. Do not allow even one vice (immoral conduct or weakness) like the vice of conceit (personal vanity) to enter and ensconce (establish or settle comfortably) itself in your heart. All the water in the well becomes undrinkable even if one frog is dead and its corpse (dead body) floats on it. Life has to be lived, through the channel marked out by embankments (bank constructed to keep back water or carry a road, railway,etc.) that slow the raging flood and direct it into useful fields. "NA SHREYO NIYAMAM VINA" – "NO PROGRESS WITHOUT RULES AND RESTRICTIONS." Blessed are who obey the commandments for, they will be rewarded.
"Sing for the Lord, not the Listeners".
"Bhajan done with egoistic pride is as harsh as the crow's caw (harsh cry of crow). So, try to avoid the ego marring your sadhana (practice), even to a small extent".
EGO- Edge God Out. Do you want to drive away GOD through your bhajan?
"Some people my laugh at all this bhajan and call it mere show and exhibition and recommend instead quiet meditation in the silent recess of the shrine room. But coming out in company and doing bhajan like this helps in removing egoism; one is not afraid of jeering, nor ashamed to call out the name of the lord. One gets inspired by the devotion of others."
Use bhajan as an activity to remove ego.
8. Bhajan is not the place to practice silence:
"When a man has fallen into a well and is unable to get out, he does not mutter to himself. He shouts loudly to get men to save him! What do you do to drive away birds sitting on a branch? You clap your hands loudly. Similarly, sing the names "Govinda, Gopala, Narayana aloud, and clap your hands with vigour (physical or mental strength or energy) so that the birds of evil passion, kama, krodha (anger) and lobha infesting your mind will fly away.
When you sing without the thrill of ecstasy (over whelming joy or rapture), I do not derive any joy. Bhajan must spread good will, love, ecstasy it must cleanse (make clean or pure) the polluted atmosphere; it must invite all to share in the joy and peace. Be sincere feel in your hearts what you are singing by your voice. The motion will express itself through the raga and tala it chooses. You need not worry about the raga being appropriate or the tala being accurate. When Rama is prompting you to sing, the raga and the tala can never be wrong. Rama is the pen, Rama is the thought, Rama is the word, Rama is the style, Rama is the composition. How then can error creep in?
"Devotees who attend bhajans turn their looks this side and that side without concentrating on bhajans. If they are not interested in the bhajans, why should they come at all?
CONCENTRATE-- ONLY ON THE LORD.
SAIBABA WANT'S US TO PRACTICE THIS, WITH LOVE FROM HEART.