Srî Sathya Sai Baba on:
the world by Sankirtana
Punyam Na Papam Na Saukhyam
Na Dukkham Na Manthro Na Tirtham
Na Veda Na Yajnam
Aham Bhojanam Na Bhojanam
Naiva Bhojam Na Kartau
Sadananda Rupam Advaitam
Sathyam Sivam Sundaram
sin nor merit; neither pleasures nor
Neither sacred formulae nor sacred
Neither Vedas nor yajnas (rituals).
I am neither the eaten nor the eater nor the
act of eating.
I am the ever blissful One; One without a
Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
I am THAT.
Occasion: Divine Discourse on "Purify the world
Place: Prasanthi Nilayam
is no age like the Kali Age, none at all.
Where by mere meditation on the name of the
the Supreme Goal is realized, Oh Blessed
Even a multi-millionaire has to be content,
with ordinary raiment and food.
He cannot live on a diet of gold.
When Time is unpropitious, a stick may turn into
while, when it is favorable, dust may turn
wheel of Time can make a scholar a dumb
and a dumb man can become a saint,
and a wealthy man may become a plaything of
Goddess of Poverty at one time.
Whatever your prayers, you cannot get
what you are not destined to get.
cherish, Oh young man, any desires.
Lead instead a noble life with intelligence.
What more can I tell you,
the good people assembled
of Divine Love!
Sankirthanam" (Congregational singing of
bhajans is the best of bhajans).
There is a big difference between
Kirthanam and Sankirthanam.
Kirthanam is an individual affair. It is
singing by an individual for the fulfillment of
his prayers. Sankirthanam aims at the
well being of the whole universe. This is also
described as Samajika bhajans (community
method of singing bhajans was first
initiated by Guru Nanak, the founder of
aims at demonstrating unity in diversity. When
all the participants combine to sing in unison
with one voice, it is described as
kinds of Sankirthana
is of four kinds:
One is Guna sankirthana;
two, Lela sankirthana;
three, Bhava sankirthana;
four, Nama sankirthana.
sankirthana applies to the kind of
bhajan in which the devotee recites the
auspicious qualities of the Divine, experiences
oneness with the Divine, and acquires the Godly
qualities. Thyagaraja had recourse to this type
of singing. In one of his kirthanas, he
exclaimed: "Oh Lord! You are beyond all words.
Is it possible for even Brahma or other Gods to
extol your glorious exploits? I am waiting for
your grace. Hearken to my entreaties. You
restored to the preceptor the son whom the Lord
of Death had taken away. You conquered the God
of Love. You liberated from prison Vasudeva and
Devaki. You protected Draupadi when she appealed
to you in despair. You were the guardian of the
Pandavas. You relieved Kuchela of his poverty.
You saved 16.000 damsels from subjection." In
this manner, Thyagaraja
recounted the great qualities of God in his
Govindam is a form of Lela
sankirthana refers to the enjoyment by
the devotee of the sacred sport of the Divine in
ecstatic dancing and singing and being totally
absorbed in it. This is exemplified by the
Getha Govindam of Jayadeva.
[Read a short
biography of Jayadeva
and listen to
'Srî Dasâvatâra Stotra',
describing the ten Avatârs of Vishnu &
Sankirthana: This is illustrated by
Radha alone, who expresses her different
feelings towards God and identifies herself with
the Divine in every mood of devotion. She
expressed her devotion in the five forms of
Shantha (Serenity), Sakhya
(friendliness), Vathsalya (eternal love),
Anuraga (affection) and Madhura
(sweetness). Radha and Mera were the exponents
of Bhava sankirthana.
sankirthana: Chaithanya was the exponent
of this form of kirthana. "All names are
yours. There is nothing in this cosmos which
does not bear the imprint of your name or form
"Sarvaropa Dharam Shantham Sarvanamadharam
Shivam Satchidananda Ropam Advaitham Sathyam
Shivam Sundaram" (Svami sang this
sloka). Chaitanya reveled in singing the
name of the Lord as signifying all that was
beautiful and glorious in the universe.
'Srî Srî Siksâstaka'
While in each
of the previous aeons the devotees adopted one
or other methods of singing the glories, it is
the supreme good fortune of the residents of
Prashanthi Nilayam to enjoy all the four forms
of sankirthana. The bhajans sung
here are a combination of all the four forms of
significance of Namalikhitam
There is yet
another special form of glorifying the name of
the Lord. This is Namalikhitam
(writing the Name of the Lord). Contemplating on
the name of the Lord mentally, uttering the name
by mouth and writing the name by hand serve to
perform Trikarana Suddhi (purify the
mind, the speech and the action).
The name of
the Lord has been glorified in different ways
all over the world. Jayadheva was one who
enjoyed always the lelas (sport) of the
Divine, experienced the presence of the Divine
within him, devoted every one of his daily
activities to enjoying the sport of the Divine,
felt that he had no use for anything other than
God's love, merged his love in Divine Love and
thereby became the very embodiment of Divine
Love. As people did not comprehend the spiritual
significance of his kirthanas, they
misunderstood and misinterpreted the meaning of
the completion of his mission in Lanka, went to
Sita to receive her blessings before returning
to Rama. At that time, Mother Sita blessed
Hanuman in this manner: "Hanuman! You are full
of prowess, intelligence and fortitude. May you
never grow old." This did not give joy to
Hanuman. Noticing his sense of disappointment,
Sita blessed him again: "Live as an immortal."
Even this did not please Hanuman. Sita then
blessed him again: "Hanuman! You are full of
virtues! May the dwellers in the three worlds
extol your qualities." Hanuman felt embarrassed
and bent his head as if he was ashamed to hear
her praise him. Observing Hanuman's reactions,
Sita finally blessed him thus: "May Shri Rama
always love you!" The moment he heard these
words, Hanuman was in rapture. "This was all
that I wanted," he declared. "I must be worthy
of Rama's love. A life without Rama's love is an
utter waste. It is a living death. The only
thing I desire is Rama's love."
proficient in music. There was none that could
excel him in singing. Even Nârada and
Tumbura could not prevail against him. Such a
great singer continued always to chant the name
singing is outpouring of love to
then is the essence of Sankirthana? Its
essential purpose is to earn the love of God.
Combining one's voice, tune, feeling and rhythm
to the appropriate beat of the song, the devotee
should immerse himself in the singing.
Harmonizing the feeling with devotion and Love,
the sacred words of the song should be an
outpouring of love towards God. That alone is
When the song
is rendered without understanding the meaning of
the words and without any inner feeling or
genuine love for God, it is a mechanical
performance. Bhava (feeling), Raga
(melody) and Thala (rhythm) are the
essentials for proper singing.
Even the name
Bharatha signifies the combination of these
(Bha-Ra-Tha). In every
action in daily life, the combination of these
three elements should be observed. This rule can
be applied even to one's studies. Bhava,
in relation to study of a subject, means
understanding the subject thoroughly.
Raga implies cultivating a love for the
subject and Thala means expressing one's
knowledge coherently and clearly.
the meaning of songs while
rendering of Thyagaraja's
songs, the failure to observe the meaning of the
words of the song has produced bizarre results.
Thyagaraja's songs are in Thelugu. Thamil
musicians, who are experts in music, rendering
Thyagaraja's songs have often mangled the words
of the songs and made them meaningless. In one
of his songs, Thyagaraja sang: "Ne
pogadakunte neekemi kodhavu Rama?" (If I
do not praise you, what do you lose Oh
Rama?). A Thamil musician sang the song in
such a manner that it meant: "If I eat
pakodas, what do you lose?" It is
essential to ensure that the meaning of the
words, the emotional feeling of the composer and
the melody of the song are all brought out in
rendering the songs during
Nagarsankirthan and in bhajans.
Where one does not understand the meanings of
the words, he should get the meaning from those
of Divine Love!
community singing as sacred devotional exercise.
Even if you have no musical ability, utter the
names of the Lord with feeling and
There is no
greater means of God-realization in the Kali
Yuga than chanting the names of the Lord.
Dhyana (meditation) in Krita Yuga,
Yajna (sacrifice) in Tretha Yuga,
Archana (worship of idols) in Dhvapara
Yuga and Nama sankirthana (Reciting
the name of the Lord) in Kali Yuga are
the methods prescribed for realizing the
the Name is the panacea. When the name is
chanted as a song set to music, it delights the
heart immensely. Many pandiths recite the
names as slokas (verse). They do not
experience the intense yearning expressed in the
stanzas. Some actors are able to pronounce the
words loud and clear, but without any depth of
feeling. But when the names are sung melodiously
they appeal to the hearts of the singers and the
listeners. Even non-believers and agnostics nod
their heads in appreciation when they listen to
song sung melodiously tugs at the
The word of a
song can be expressed in prosaic manner which
has no appeal to the listener. But when they are
sung melodiously as in the song: "Rama! Nannu
Kapadu"--"Rama! save me," they tug at the
heart-strings. (Svami sang the song to
demonstrate its appeal). Such sweetness is
contained in the song when it is rendered
whether he is well versed in music or not,
should listen attentively to the singer and try
to repeat the words of the song with
attending bhajans do not move their lips
at all. They may say that they are singing the
songs mentally within themselves. This is not
proper. If you have devotional feeling, it
should be expressed by the tongue joining in the
bhajan. Only then it can be called
Sankirthana--singing in unison with
others. You must sing the names aloud,
full-throated, as far as the voice can reach.
Only then the Divine will respond in full
measure and shower His grace. No one will go to
the rescue of a drowning man if his cries are
feeble. Only when he cries aloud at the top of
his voice will the cries be heard and people
will rush to save him. Sankirthana means
singing with abandon and fervor.
should realize that every limb and organ in the
body has been given to man to be used for a
sacred purpose: The tongue to utter the Lord's
name, the hands to offer worship, the feet to go
the temple and so on. These organs should not be
used for frivolous and unholy purposes.
Sanctifying everyone of the sense organs, man
should purify the mind and contemplate on
only means to purify the polluted
of Divine Love!
impossible to describe the sweetness and
sacredness of the name of the Lord. The
intensity of the devotion with which you chant
the name of the Lord will yield commensurate
benefits and confer joy on you. All should
strive to chant the names in unison. Today, all
the five elements in the world--space, air,
fire, water and the earth--are polluted. You
cannot get pure water or pure air. The sounds
you hear are impure. The earth is polluted. The
Kali Yuga has become Kalmasha
Yuga (the age of impurity). To purify all
this the only means is chanting the names of the
spend most of their time watching the TV and
Video screens. Is it any surprise if children
born in these circumstances are TV products?
They behave as actors from childhood. They
indulge in stunts. Only the parents are to
blame. In olden times, when a woman was
enceinte, she used to hear stories about
Prahladha, Sathyavan and other noble characters.
The child in the womb was influenced by such
Atmosphere is purified by chanting Divine
Russia and other countries have demonstrated the
relationship between the food one consumes and
one's mental attitudes. It was found, for
instance, that a child which had been fed on
apple juice while it was growing in the womb,
exhibited a love for apples after
of the names of the Lord will help to purify the
atmosphere as a result of the sacred sound waves
getting absorbed in the atmosphere. The power of
sound waves is evident from the way radio waves
are transmitted and received over long distance.
The atmosphere that has been polluted by impure
sound waves can be purified by the chanting of
the Divine Name.
sacred thoughts, pure speech and pure actions
will purify other polluted elements. There is no
better purifying agent than this. Crores are
being spent to purify the Ganges water. Of what
use is this exercise if the Ganges continues to
be polluted by the discharge of drainage water
into the river? First prevent the flow of filthy
effluents into the Ganges.
In the same
manner, the evil thoughts arising in the mind
should be diverted and it should be filled with
pure Godly thoughts by reciting the Divine
participating in bhajans should sing the
name of the Lord and thereby serve to purify the
atmosphere and promote the well being of the
bar of iron sinks in water, but beat it into a
hollow vessel, it
will float and carry some weight also. So
too, man's mind sinks
easily in the sea of desires. Beat it hollow,
hammering it with the
Name of the Lord. It will float safely on
the sea of troubles". -