On the first Tuesday of every month, the Christchurch Sri Chinmoy Centre offer Bhajans and Kirtan evenings that are free of charge and open to anyone who would like to attend. These performances of devotional music run from 7—8pm and participants are welcome to join in with the kirtan (call and response style singing) or simply enjoy the meditative and joyful environment.
Bhajans (from the Sanskrit word bhaj, meaning 'to serve, to love, to share') are short devotional songs offered to and invoking various cosmic deities or aspects of the Divine.
The bhajans that we perform are all written by Sri Chinmoy who exemplified the eastern bhakti tradition (devotional love). His artwork, poetry, prose, songs, music, sporting endeavours, world service initiatives and teachings were underpinned by his love of God and his aspirations for a world infused with peace and joy.
Through his bhajans, which he wrote in his native Bengali language, Sri Chinmoy's love for the Divine was distilled into a simple yet rich and lyrical form. It is in these sweet and melodious songs that one can become immersed in the mantric cadence and pure vibration of devotion.
Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers
This is a sample of one of Sri Chinmoy's bhajans, Manas Purite Shudhu Banchana, being performed by the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers – an international all-female group of Sri Chinmoy's students who exclusively perform his bhajan music.
Mirabai – India's Bhakti Saint
From a historical perspective that stretches back through many centuries, one of the most renowned exponents of the bhajan tradition was India's Mirabai. A Hindu princess, mystic poet and devotee of Lord Krishna, she was born into a Rajput royal family in the 16th century and is now celebrated as a Bhakti saint. Of Mirabai Sri Chinmoy wrote,
Mirabai was a devotee of the high, higher, highest order. Among the saints of India, she is absolutely unparalleled. She composed many, many bhajans, which are prayerful songs to God. Each song Mirabai wrote expressed her inspiration, aspiration and sleepless self-giving.
The word kirtan also derives from Sanskrit and means 'the narrating, reciting, telling, describing, sharing of ideas or stories' through song and chant. Kirtan is simply a call-and-response style of singing or chanting in melodic form where one or more singers and musicians recite the lines of a song and the audience responds by repeating the phrase. It is also a style of aural learning that is quite common in the ancient traditions of the world. A Kirtan performance may also include the accompaniment of musical instruments such as guitar, harmonium, tabla, mridanga, flute and various types of cymbals and bells.
Where and When
As stared above, our bhajan evenings are free of charge but, as seating is limited, registration is required. Details of our Bhajans and Kirtan evenings are advertised in the Upcoming Special Events section of our homepage where you can also find links to a registration form. We look forward to seeing you at our monthly Bhajans and Kirtan evenings.