Performed live on Fathers Day
at Seaside Church in Encinitas, California
With a twist -- a response to the prayer!
This powerful scriptural song by the great sage Shankaracharya and his disciples was originally composed out of the compassion they felt when, during a walk, they came upon a very old man, barely able to stand without a cane. The man was fervently studying the Sanskrit grammatical rules, thinking that was the only road to spiritual salvation.
In these verses - which are also read in English throughout the song - Shankaracharya and company lay out the road to liberation without mincing words!
Play a video of Bhaja Govindam
(click on the arrow to play)
This Urdu poem by the great sage Swami Ram Tirth, who lived in the late 19th century, captures his deep devotion and submission to God, as he laments his unfulfilled desire to have a vision of the Lord. You can almost feel Ram Tirth's tears flowing through these words, and in fact, the face of God is visible just through witnessing the intimate beauty of Ram Tirth's deep devotion and longing. Here are some of the verses translated into English:
Life without God is not life, but death.
There is no delight in my heart,
no freshness in my face.
I keep living just for the sake of living,
even without you O Lord.
How can I call this living?
There is no living like this!
My heart has been calling You for so long,
but nobody ever listens to me.
Here, I have no kin.
There is no one except You.
I regarded myself poor;
I regarded myself weak.
Please do not be so angry with me,
because there is no one else to call my own!
Even if you have been wounded repeatedly
by the sword of love, drink your own blood --
seal your lips, and don't even sigh.
This is divine love, not a joke!
Don't even be aware that your head
is bowed down in devotion for hours.
If you are still conscious of being devoted,
that devotion is not true devotion.
So what if your Beloved looks at you,
or away from you?
If you even experience this kind of separation,
then your love is not true love.
O Lord, by your Grace, one is freed from want.
Is there anything that cannot be obtained from You?
It is only my bag which is so small --
there is no lack at your place.
This is a hymn to honor and invoke Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, the arts, and eloquent speech. Here's what Gurumayi Chidvilasananda says about the blessing of Saraswati in her book Enthusiasm:
"To speak beautifully, sweetly, eloquently, kindly, lovingly, you invoke
the goddess of speech, Saraswati. She is the divine power that flows through
syllables, and she is also the embodiment of goodness. In fact, you always
see her in pictures wearing a white garment, the garment of light, purity,
and goodness. Words that flow as lucidly as clear water, words that sound
as sweet as the fragrance of flowers are her gifts. Sarawati is the embodiment
of knowledge, the inspirer of wisdom. Words that are uttered with her knowledge
create beauty in the hearts of speakers as well as listeners. For this reason,
in India every student is taught to offer obeisance to her before beginning
any kind of study, whether it is secular or religious.
"With the blessing of Saraswati , speech is pure, speech is true, speech is uplifting, speech opens the heart and warms the soul, speech brings people together and draws them closer to the Self. This is the true freedom of speech, the speech that brings us closer to God, that gives us the experience of God's bounty, that allows us to live in this beautiful universe while offering our gratitude to God."
This is a chant to Lord Shiva, the Transcendent Reality that exists in every soul. Shiva is beautiful and filled with compassion, reveling blissfully in truth and consciousness, and conquering even death.
Although Shiva is often depicted in this visual form, the true Shiva is formless and exists in every form -- including yours!
are the words so you can chant along:
Samba Sadaashiva, Samba Sadaashiva,
Samba Sadaashiva, Hara Shambho
He Girijaavara, He Girijaavara,
He Girijaavara, Hara Shambho
He Karunaakara, He Karunaakara,
He Karunaakara, Hara Shambho
He Mrityunjaya, Satchita-Sukhamaayaa,
He Karunaamaayaa Hara Shambho
You know this one!
This rendition ends with several Sanskrit verses of gratitude and devotion.
Play a video of Amazing Grace
sung at the Sun Valley Opera House
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