Monthly Archives: June 2016

Bhajans – Music of the Bhakthi Saints

I have received a treasure of Ram’s name. My true Guru gave me this invaluable gift and I accept it gratefully. Meera 

A bhajan is a devotional song that expresses faith in God. It has no fixed format. Bhajans have simple lyrics and tunes and are easy to sing along. Mystics of India have expressed their love for God by singing bhajans in different languages that resonated with the people of the region.

Some of the well-known mystics known for their bhajans are Meera, Kabir, Nanak, Surdas, and Tulsidas. Most of these classic bhajans have been composed in different dialects of the Hindi language. Hindustani vocalists such as V.D.Paluskar have rendered bhajans using classical ragas. Here is the maestro singing the famous Surdas bhajan Akhiyan Hari Darshan ki Pyaasi in raag Jinjhoti.

Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh gurus. Here is a bhajan of Guru Nanak sung by Pandit Rajan and Pandit Sajan Mishra.

Sampradaya bhajans are commonly heard in southern India. The word sampradaya refers to a tradition that is handed down from one generation to the next. In a sampradaya bhajan concert, a collection of songs are sung in a particular sequence beginning with the shloka and includes traditional pieces such as Jayadev’s ashtapathis, Narayana Teertha’s tarangams to compositions of Tyagaraja, Purandaradasa, and Bhadrachala Ramdas. Swami Haridas was a pioneer of the sampradaya bhajan movement in southern India.

 

Kabir’s bhajans or dohas are an example of nirguna bhakthi, a philosophy where God is believed to exist in everything everywhere. Here is Hindustani vocalist Kumar Gandharva singing the emotive doha Nirbhay Nirgun where the saint declares “Fearlessly I will sing the glory of the one without attributes”.