Significance of Global Akhanda Bhajans!
At a young and tender age of sixteen years, Our Beloved and Revered Swami started Akhanda Bhajans for the very first time ever in the City of Bangalore, Southern India in year 1944.
Bhajans have pride of place in Bhagavan Baba`s scheme of Spiritual sadhana. Devotional singing in groups serves not only to concentrate the minds of the devotees on the Divine but promotes also a sense of spiritual unity and harmony among the devotees.
The Akhanda Bhajans that are observed by Sai devotees all over the world for full twenty-four hours in November month is an annual event of global significance. It starts from 6 PM on a Saturday, the Akhanda Bhajans conclude at 6PM on Sunday. The bhajans start with the lighting of the Akhanda Jyothi [the sacred lamp] that is kept continuously burning for 24 hours.
What is significant about the Global Akhanda Bhajans are that while apparently the duration of the bhajan is identical, the time sequence varies from country to country. For instance, when Bhagvan, Sai Baba lits the Akhanda Jyothi in Prasanthi Mandir at precisely 6 PM on November 14th, the Akhand Bhajans had been going on for many hours in countries East of India from Japan to Singapore. This means that as the Earth revolves, lamps are lit at different Sai Centres according to the local time and by the time the Western most Centre in Vancouver, Canada or Honolulu in Hawaii lights the Akhanda Jyothi, Centres in the East would have completed all round the world, there would be a girdle of Akhanda Jyothis lit round the globe in Sai Centres as far apart as Fiji in the East and Hawaii in the West.
It was eminently appropriate that the first bhajan that was sung at Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir after the Omkara and the invocation to Vighneswara began with the words: ‘Akhanda Jyothi Jalaao Sayee Mana Mandirmey’ [‘Kindle in the shrine of my heart, Oh Sai, the eternal flame].
The second verse of the bhajan ran as follows: ‘Koti Surya Sama Teja Swaroopa! Divya Jyothi, Jnana Jyothi, Prema Jyothi Jalaao’ [‘Oh Lord, with the effulgence of a billion suns, Illumine us with the light of Wisdom and the flame of Love’].
It was a thrilling moment when this bhajan was sung, with Bhagvan Sri Sathya Sai Baba seated in the Prasanthi Mandir showering His benediction on everyone.
The prayer to the Lord to light the lamp of Wisdom and Love in the heart of every devotee, when it goes up from millions of devotees all over the world, must have an ennobling and unifying effect which cannot be produced by any other means.
The Akhanda Bhajans should make devotees feel their unity with the Divine and, at the emotional level, fill them with love for all mankind. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba`s supreme role in His present advent is to unify humanity by promoting recognition of the inherent divinity present in every one, transcending all divisions of creed, caste, language, nationality and sex. The Akhanda Bhajans are like a beacon and trumpet call to humanity to jettison the petty divisions of the past and rise to the heights of its divine destiny.