India - Bhajan Music

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)


The Bhajan is the heavenly music to human ears which is purely devotional. They are the simple songs in soulful language expressing many emotions of love for God and it is a complete submission to him through singing.

The fixed tunes, repetition of words and phrases create a kind of tonal mesmerism. The words, the tunes, the rhythms and the typical repetitive style of the bhajans give a certain sense of permanency that is known as shashwat which is freedom from the state of flux.

The themes of the bhajans have the anecdotes, the episodes from the lives of Gods, the preaching of saints, and the description of glory of gods.

The Keertan and the songs in the Haridas tradition are also another form of bhajan. The sects of bhajans include Nirguni, Gorakhanathi, Vallabhapanthi, Ashtachhap, and Madhura-bhakti with each sect having its own sets of bhajans and ways of singing.

The devotees of medieval age like Tulsidas, Surdas, Meera Bai, and Kabir have contributed a lot to the treasure house of bhajans.

There are many Bhajan mandalis, a gathering to sing the bhajans that have been in existence in the Indian villages since the beginning of the Bhakti Era. These prove to be great social levelers, where individuals unhesitatingly participate in the singing, relegating their petty differences to the background. This participatory action elicits recreation and consequently a kind of mental relaxation.

The traditional form of bhajan in south India is known as Sampradya Bhajans.


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