Kauai sishya along with with Woody and Sadhaka Tejadevanatha (behnd the camera) joined Sivakatirswami yesterday for the bi-monthly singing/chanting workshop. We practiced our basic Tamil invocations, two Vedic chants and then we went around the room with everyone leading a bhajan. Swami is teaching everyone to develop “auditory memory.” We sing out loud while looking at the book and then you try to “listen and hear it” inside your head with your eyes closed and just mouthing the words, but making no sound. The goal is to memorize the songs and to go deep into the meaning while we sing. So it requires both understanding what you are singing and also not being dependent on the song books. We practiced some of the Natchintanai we all know well and started learning a new one “Nalluran Thiruvadi,” which is very popular among Yogaswami’s devotees. We also practicing some basic vocal exercises as recommended by Adi Sankara: taking deep breaths and then doing long SAAA, RIII, GAAA notes.
Swami pointed out that after radio came record players and then CD’s and now iPods and iTunes. This change in the our interaction with music has turned us all into “listeners of the professionals,” but in the old days, everyone would sing. You can see some videos from Jaffna where an elder is singing. He may not be in perfect tune, but he knows the songs! So we want to get back to the “old ways” where we all sing and we are not just “listeners.” This is one of the main cultural components of bhakti sadhana in Hinduism.
One Response to “Bhajan-Natchintanai Satsang Workshop”
"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta