Singing Bhajans in Temples.

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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ardhanariswar
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#1

Post by ardhanariswar »

I've been wondering about this for a long time. Is it ok to sing bhajans in temples by yourself?

I'm a coordinator in my university's Hindu Students Council and we're planning a trip to see the Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland, MA. Its a traditional South Indian Temple, that I've been to loads of times. And its always quiet and appropriate for meditation or internal reflection of sorts.
The issue is that the majority of everyone in my university's group is North Indian, and they're used to something a little different, more communal I guess. They were pretty adamant on singing their bhajans in the corner or something, which seemed kind of weird.

I'm wondering why there is such a difference between cultures and if there was a way to meld them together. I think I've heard people sing carnatic pieces or bhajans after certain pujas but I don't know if that's planned or anything. I'm just concerned, I don't want to disturb the fellow worshippers.

I definitly plan on calling the Temple and getting a clear answer. But in the meanwhile, I'd really like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for your help!

coolkarni
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Joined: 22 Nov 2007, 06:42

#2

Post by coolkarni »

...
Last edited by coolkarni on 28 Nov 2009, 08:18, edited 1 time in total.

ragam-talam
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#3

Post by ragam-talam »

Perhaps it's because HM trained bhajan singers sing with better shruti alignment?
On many occasions I've had to sit through horribly sounding bhajan 'singing' in SI temples I've been to.
;)

Ponbhairavi
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#4

Post by Ponbhairavi »

According to south indian tradition there are bhajanai Matams where devotees can sing themselves.In some cases bhajanai matams can be found adjacent to or even inside the large precincts of a temple.Matams have pictures of Gods and not consecrated granite idols.In temples during the morning or evening traditional puja schedule near the end of the traditional agama Manthras the priests will say Dravida stothrams avatharaya and then the Oduvars specially trained in Thevarams thiruvachagam and thirupugazh etc sing the hymns.Singing bhajans out of devotion can be musically horrible and nuisance to those who want to meditate. IThe recent events at the Chidambaram temple highlight this issue from a political angle rajagopalan

rshankar
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#5

Post by rshankar »

Ardhanariswar, the ashTalakshmi temple you're planning to visit has a very nice basement where people can sing bhajans in peace without disturbing the other devotees upstairs. That may be a compromise that would work for you.

Nick H
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#6

Post by Nick H »

ragam-talam wrote:Perhaps it's because HM trained bhajan singers sing with better shruti alignment?
On many occasions I've had to sit through horribly sounding bhajan 'singing' in SI temples I've been to.
;)
Reminds me of a church-choir story that, despite not being at all churchy, I enjoyed...



There was this church, and it had a choir. Lots of people from the village belonged to the choir, even those whose voices were on the rough side, and whose sense of pitch left something to be desired. They would not even get into, let alone win, any competition, but their trademark and their reason for continuing was the shear joy of singing, and singing to their god.

One day the old priest retired, and a new man came to the parish. He was horrified by the cacophany of the choir, and quite insensitive to their real quality.

He called the choirmaster, and said that he was sure that the parish was very, very grateful for all the years of service, but it really would not do, there were standards to be maintained when singing the praises of the Lord, and he would have to make other arrangements.

A man was called in, a trained, professional, choirmaster. He called the entire choir for audition, one by one, and weeded out many for whom he felt there was no hope. He worked hard with the remaining one third, drilling with them with military precision, let alone musical, in the correct pitch and timing of their different parts.

After three months hard work he felt able to present the choir for a Sunday service and, for this special event, invitations were sent out to surrounding parishes, even the to the bishop himself.

The moment came, and choir and choirmaster, full of pride, opened their mouths in perfect tune and perfect unison.

After two minutes, the church lights went off, the roof appeared to lift, and God was seen in the sky, booming...

Who has ruined my favourite choir?




Makes me smile; thought you might enjoy too.
Last edited by Guest on 04 Apr 2009, 18:52, edited 1 time in total.

vasanthakokilam
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#7

Post by vasanthakokilam »

:)

VK RAMAN
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#8

Post by VK RAMAN »

Ponbhairavi wrote:According to south indian tradition there are bhajanai Matams where devotees can sing themselves.In some cases bhajanai matams can be found adjacent to or even inside the large precincts of a temple.Matams have pictures of Gods and not consecrated granite idols.In temples during the morning or evening traditional puja schedule near the end of the traditional agama Manthras the priests will say Dravida stothrams avatharaya and then the Oduvars specially trained in Thevarams thiruvachagam and thirupugazh etc sing the hymns.Singing bhajans out of devotion can be musically horrible and nuisance to those who want to meditate. IThe recent events at the Chidambaram temple highlight this issue from a political angle rajagopalan
Everyone has their own way of praising the Lord. I have not heard of any place where singing the praise of Lord is a nuisance at temples. Bahai's practice silence in temples

arasi
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#9

Post by arasi »

Nick,
Great story!

ragam-talam
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Joined: 28 Sep 2006, 02:15

#10

Post by ragam-talam »

nick H wrote:After two minutes, the church lights went off, the roof appeared to lift, and God was seen in the sky, booming...

Who has ruined my favourite choir?
Favourite choir indeed.
Only hope mortal humans don't break open the roof first when being subjected to apaswaram bhajans.
;)

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