Bhajans


Most famous Indian Bhajan singers are, Tulsidas, Mira Bai, Kabir and Surdas. Bhajans sung by these eminent singers were of supreme quality and they are still quite popular. They used high quality words or chants in their bhajans. Bhajans are all about love, whether it is love for god, love of woman’s love for man most aptly represented by Mirabai’s songs. Most popular bhajans were love of Radha for lord Krishna. It comes as no surprise that this Radha and Krishna devotional songs have been used in other forms of Indian arts as well. Bhakti songs represent direct communication with god through bhajans used in songs format. Bhajans never advocated use of any medium for interacting with god. It’s more of a soulful language representing devotion and dedication towards the grandeur of God.  

 

All these famous bhajan singers made mockery of religious institutions. They did not believe in use of religions while expressing their love towards god. Kabir never believed in his religion but his bhajans are equally liked by both Hindus and Muslims. When we look closely at lyrics used in bhajan, we will find that languages used in lyrics are mostly vernacular. On one hand this helped in popularizing bhajans and on the other hand it resulted into decreasing dependency on established languages. Many modern day classical singers like Bhimsen Joshi sang bhajans and helped in making them popular. 

Bhajans hold a very important place in Indian culture. One of the traditional hallmarks of Indian devotion, bhajans are basically songs sung in the honor of God. Like Gospels, The bhajan has a special place in Indian society. Historically bhajans are said to be originated and popularized between 14th to 17th centuries. The lyrics used in the bhajans are quite simple to understand but profound in thought and philosophy. Bhajans can be heard from the common people like farmers and merchants. Most of these bhajans carry multifarious spiritual truths.

During the Mogul period, a Hindu revivalist movement was going on, called as Bhakti movement. Bhakti movement heavily relied on bhajans. This movement aimed at salvation of masses through spiritual attainment. This movement wanted to awaken love for god amongst all people. Bhakti movement also preached about just pure love of god which did not include any traditional rituals. Bhajan played a crucial part in spreading this movement. Technically, bhajans can not be explained because of its unique distinction from any particular musical characteristics. It has a huge range within, right from commonly heard ritual chant to most evolved versions of music. Bhajans have a sense of devotion which makes it very different from other genres of music.

Bhajan contains a very simple and traditional structure. It has numerous antara and single sthai. Typically, the last antara contains the pseudonym of the author.

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