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sanAtana--universal, Sai Bhajans

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Bhajans on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba are usually nAmAvalis (string of a god's attributes) sung by Sai devotees at home and community worship, with the conviction that Bhagavan Baba as an avatar is sarva deva rUpa (form of all gods). So, most bhajans will identify him as Sai Shiva, Sai VishNu, Sai BrahmA, Sai GaNesha, Sai VaishNavi and so on. However, there are a good number of bhajans which are 'namAvalis' without the 'Sai' attribute or with that attribute in just one or two places. This thread is a collection of such bhajans.

Some distinguishing feature of Sai Bhajans are:

• they are very melodious--set to Hindu divine music that makes us forget our problems for the time being;

• they are very short, usually four or five lines;

• the lines are sung slowly at first and repeated at a much faster pace, and the bhajan ends with repeating slowly part of the first line;

• a lone singer leads the bhajan and a chorus repeats after him/her, often clapping hands for 'tAla';

• most words in a bhajan are Sanskrit/Sanskrit derived, although the bhajan itself might be in a vernacular language like Hindi;

• a collection of bhajan recorded in a cassette or audio CD typically starts with a bhajan to GaNesha, then to Guru and then to other gods.

The bhajans are presented here in DevanAgari (for only some bhajans), their Baraha transliteration scheme and with their meaning; audio links are provided where they can be found. Hindus who are not Sai devotees might mentally replace the 'Sai' attribute, if any, with the name of their 'iShTa devata' (preferred deity) and sing the bhajans.

Here are some Websites that host the bhajans:

Sai Bhajans Network:
Sai Bhajan Network - Sai Bhajans
(membership required--free--to download bhajans)

Prasanthi Mandir Bhajans
Prasanthi Mandir Bhajans

Bhajans for Sathya Sai Baba - Switzerland
Vighna Vinashaka Devadhi Deva
(with the western musical notations for texts)

Sai Darshan
SAI DARSHAN - Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sai Baba of India
Sai Baba of India -Bhajans-Mp3-Midi-videoclip-audio-mantra-prayers-discourses- download Sai Baba- Audio & Text

Sai Baba Links
Sai Baba Links & News
Sathya Sai Baba bhajans : sumanth krishna : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

In the namAvali texts, a comma (,) indicates a pause and a | mark indicates a longer pause in singing.

Let us start with a bhajan to GaNesha (my favourite)!


vighna vinAshaka, devAdhi devA |
Adi sanAtana devA |
prathama pUjya gaNa nAthA | prathama pUjya, gaNa nAthA |
bhava bhaya bha~jana nitya nira~jana, siddhi vinAyaka devA |
mangala nAyaka, shambhu manohara,
prathama pUjya gaNa nAthA |

Audio link:
Prasanthi Mandir Bhajans

"O DevA, who is above all Devas, and removes hurdles (vighna vinAshaka)!
DevA who exists from the beginning!
The leader of Shiva-GaNas (ShivA's army) with the honour of primary worship! (2)
Siddhi VinAyaka, the fulfiller of wishes, who dispels fear in our worldly existence!
The Lord of prosperity, the 'heart-stealer' of Shiva the Shambhu (god of bliss)!
The leader of Shiva-GaNas (ShivA's army) with the honour of primary worship!..."

विघ्न विनाशक देवाधि देवा ।
आदि सनातन देवा ।
प्रथम पूज्य गण नाथा । प्रथम पूज्य गण नाथा ।
भव भय भञन नित्य निरञन, सिद्धि विनायक देवा!
मन्गल नायक, शम्भु मनोहर,
प्रथम पूज्य गण नाथा ।


KRShNa MurAri

shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala, komala, kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala, komala, kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala, ghanshyAmala, meghashyAmala, komala kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala, ghanshyAmala, meghashyAmala, komala kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri | (2)
shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri | (2)

shrIdhara, yaduvara, kRShNA murAri | (2)
shrIdhara, yaduvara, kRShNA murAri | (2)
shrIdhara, nanda yaduvara, bhava bhayahara, giridhara, kRShNA murAri | (2)
shrIdhara yaduvara kRShNA murAri | (2)
shrIdhara yaduvara kRShNA murAri | (2)

shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri |

Meanings of the names:
shyAmala--dark-colored; komala--soft, sweet and charming;
murAri--enemy of the Daitya Mura who was slain by KRShNa;
ghanshyAmala--auspicious and dark-colored;
meghasyAmala--dark-colored as the rain clouds;
shrIdhara--one who has shrI--LakshmI on his chest;
yaduvara--born in the YAdava kulam;
nanda--son, happiness;
bhava bhayahara--dispels fear in our worldly existence;
giridhara--one who held the Govardhana hill as an umbrella;

Audio links:
Usha Sethuraman: Bhajan Sandhya Vol 08
Sai Bhajan Network - Sai Bhajans


PS: I urge members to download and listen to the KRShNA MurAri song. You would find it drilling into your mind and heart! What rAgam is it--punnAgavarALi?
More information on the 'shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri' bhajan

This bhajan is in the rAga called 'punnAgavarALi', which was born out of a traditional folk tune used by the snake charmers. The 'nAga' in the name of the rAga is a reference to a serpent. The composers of classical music such as sarvarshrI KShetrayya, Saint TyAgarAja, MuthusvAmi DIkShitar, ShyAmA ShAstri, SvAti TirunAL, GopAlakRShNa BhArati and others have expertly used the punnAgavarALi rAga in their compositions.

• There is a belief among many Hindus, that if songs in the snake-charming tunes such as the punnAgavarALi rAga are played around the dusk or late night could invite snakes to the place. A Tamil siddhar named 'PAmbATTi siddhar' has composed over 120 verses on the relationship of the snakes with God Shiva. (For details: Adu Pambe)

• The famous 'nAdar muDI mElirukkum'--adoring the NAtha--Shiva's head, snake song is popular, occasionally sung in karnAtik music concerts. The famous Tamizh film 'TiruvaruTselvar' on the Shaivite saint Appar SvAmigaL (staring SivAji GaNesan in his role) has a filmy version of this song that can be downloaded here:
Music: Title: Nadar Mudi Mel-Tiruvarut Selvar(1967)-TMS-by Daddyba

• Here is a vINA rendering of a snake song starting 'Atthi marattilE'--on the fig tree, which is amazing to listen to:
Music: Title: Atthimarathile - Snake song

• As everyone knows, snakes are sacred in the Hindu tradition. Spiritually they symbolize the kuNDalinI shakti. Listening repeatedly and with meditative concentration to songs set in the punnAgavaraLi rAga, like the 'shyAmala komala kRShNA murAri', might charm and stir the listener's kuNDalinI snake.

• Here is an interesting note on the snake charming instrument called 'maguDi' in Tamil and 'punji' in Hindi:

(MaguDi is) A musical instrument used by snake charmers. It is called Punji in North India. This instrument is polyphonous. A bottle gourd attached to a double cane pipe is cut in reeds. While one of the pipes gives the basic tonic, which it produces in a constant drone, the other pipe is able to play the tune. This pipe has finger holes that can be stopped just as in a flute. The wind that enters is blown out through the other end of the bottle gourd. Its sound is melancholy and is normally tuned to the scale of the South Indian Punnagavarali, a kind of Mishra Bilaskhani Todi of Hindustani music. This scale is said to attract serpents. The southern Magudi is unable to produce the Shadja of the higher octave. The North Indian Punji, being longer, is able to produce the upper Shadja. Ref: Music Handbook

An image of the punji instrument can be seen here:
Musical Instrument Collection
Shiva Parameshvara

shivAya parameshvarAya chandra-shekharAya nama AUM |
bhavAya guNa saMbhavAya shiva-tANDavAya nama AUM |
shivAya parameshvarAya chandra-shekharAya nama AUM |
bhavAya guNa sambhavAya shiva-tANDavAya nama AUM |

shivAya--in whom all things lie; one who is happiness;
one who is dear, friendly, benign and gracious.
parameshvarAya--one who is the Supreme God;
chandra-shekharAya--one who wears the crescent moon on the head as ornament;
bhavAya--one of the eleven Rudra forms of Shiva;
guNa sambhavAya--one in whom all the guNas merge;
shiva-tANDavAya--the dancing form of Shiva--NaTarAja;

Sathya Sai Baba Bhajans - Shivya Parameshvarya Candrashekharya Namah Om
Sai Bhajan Network - Sai Bhajans

01. The shiva-tANDava as the Cosmic Dance of Shiva is an incessant activity from Creation to Dissolution of the Universe. With that tANDava, Shiva performs sRShTi--creation, sthiti--support and preservation, saMhAra--dissolution, tirobhAva--concealment/illusion, and anugraha--divine favour.

02. While the dance of Shiva is called tANDavam, the dance of his consort Shakti is called lAsyam. Shiva's tANDavam is wild and vigorous, performed in the cremation grounds at night, while Shakti's lAsyam is soft and graceful, performed in the tranquility of the twilight.

03. In the NATya shAstra--scripture on Indian dance, authored by Bharata Maharshi, Shiva is considered to have started all the 108 types of dances, which are presented as karaNas in BharatanATyam. Most popular of them are: Ananda tANDava, Rudra tANDava, Urdhava tANDava, and Chatura tANDava. Check Articles - Dancing figures from the temple cars of South India - Dr. Susil Pani for more details.


hey Shiva Shankara namAmi Shankara Shiva Shankara shambo |
hey GirijApati BhavAnI Shankara |
Shiva Shankara shambo |
Shiva Shankara shambo |
Shiva Shankara shambo |

namAmi--I bow to thee; shambhu--once is happiness and causes happiness;
GirijApati--GirijA's husband; GirijA is a name for PArvatI, as she belongs
to the mountains.
BhavAnI--name for PArvatI, in her pacific and amiable form.

Audio link:


(jaya) Ganga-JaTAdhara GaurI-Shankara GirijA-mana-ramaNa |
MRtyuMjaya MahAdeva Maheshvara mangala shubha charaNa |
Nandi-vAhana NAga-bhUShaNa |
nirupama guNa-sadana |
naTana manohara NIlakanThahAri |
nIraja dala nayana |

Ganga-JaTAdhara--who wears the GangA on his jaTa--matted hair;
GaurI-Shankara--who is the husband of GaurI--PArvatI;
GirijA-mana-ramaNa--who is pleasing to the mind of GirijA;
MRtyuMjaya MahAdeva Maheshvara--the great Deva and Ishvara who has overcome death;
mangala shubha charaNa--with feet that are auspicious and beautiful;
Nandi vAhana--who rides on the bull;
NAga-bhUShaNa--who wears the snakes as ornament;
nirupama guNa-sadana--who is matchless as the settlement of all guNas;
naTana manohara--who is pleased with his dance;
NIlakanThahAri--who is charming with a blue neck;
nIraja dala nayana--who has eyes that resemble the nIraja--lotus, the flower that
unfolds itself in water.

Audio link:

Shri. Saidevo,

Wow. Great info. Never knew about the connection between Punnagavarali and naga. I have always been mesmerized listening to the magudi. In Western music there is a genre called Trance. I think our snake music is the original Trance.

Though I am not exactly a devotee of Bhagwan Baba in its strict sense, I consider him an exalted being and a Guru nevertheless. Me and my wife attend the weekly bhajans at the Sai Center here which we cherish greatly.

Thanks for all the information.
Hari bhajans

Hari Hari Hari Hari smaraNa karo |
Hari charaNa kamala dhyAna dharo |
muralI-MAdhava sevA karo |
hey Murahara GiridhAri bhajana karo |

Contemplate--smaraNa karo, the name of Hari.
Meditate and hold on to--dhyAna dharo, the lotus feet--charaNa kamala, of Hari.
Do the service--sevA karo, of MAdhava who plays the muralI--flute.
Hey, sing the praise--bhajan karo, of Murahara GiridhAri!

nAmAvali notes
Hari--one who does hara--seizes, of his devotee's pApa--sins;
MAdhava--dhava--husband of MA--LakShmI;
Murahara--who destroyed the demon Mura; destroys our mura--that which surrounds us;
GiridhAri--one who lifted the Govardhana hill in his avatar as KRShNa.

Audio link:


The two lines enclosed by square brackets below are rarely included in the bhajan.

Hari bhajana bina sukha shAnti nahin |
Hari nAma bina Ananada nahin |
[prema bhakti bina uddhara nahin |
guru seva bina nirvANa nahin |]
japa dhyAna bina saMyoga nahin |
prabhu darshan bina pragnan nahin |
daya-dharma bina satkarma nahin |
BhagavAn bina koi apna nahin |
BhagavAn bina koi apna nahin |
Hari nAm bina paramAtma nahin |
Hari nAm bina paramAtma nahin |

The meaning, which is easy to grasp, is:

Without a Hari-bhajan, there is no comfort or peace; (that is any comfort and peace would be meaningless).
Without (chanting) Hari's name, there is no bliss.
[Without beloved devotion there is no elevation.
Without serving the Guru, there is no liberation.]
Without litany and meditation, there is no union with God.
Without sympathy and dharma, there is no meritorious karma.
Except BhagavAn--God, there is no one who is our kith or kin.
Except BhagavAn--God, there is no one who is our kith or kin.
Without Hari's name, there is no ParamAtman--Brahman.
Without Hari's name, there is no ParamAtman--Brahman.

Audio link:
YouTube - Swami singing-Hari Bhajana Bina...
Hindu Devotional Blog: Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Shanti Nahi - Sathya Sai Baba Bhajan


ViTThala bhajans

jaya Ranga-ViTThala, PANDuranga ViTThalA |
jaya Ranga-ViTThala, PANDuranga ViTThalA |
shrI RamaNI hRdayAnd RangA |
mangalakara karuNAnda RangA |
Ashrita dIna janAvana RangA |
jagadoddhAra Hari ViTThalA |
jaya Ranga-ViTThala, PANDuranga ViTThala
jaya Ranga-ViTThala, PANDuranga ViTThala

O Victorious ViTThala, PANDuranga!
O Victorious ViTThala, PANDuranga!
RangA, who is the heart's joy--hRdayAnda, of shrI RamaNI--LakShmI, the beautiful.
RangA, who is auspicious--mangalakara, and compassion-bound--karuNAnda.
RangA, who is janAvana--protecting, and is the refuge--Ashrita, for the afflicted--dIna.
Hari ViTThalA, who does uddhAra of--maintains, the jagat--world.
O Victorious ViTThala, PANDuranga!
O Victorious ViTThala, PANDuranga!

nAmAvali notes
ViTThobA, also known as ViTThala, PANDuranga, and PaNDarinAtha is a form of ViShNu worshipped predominantly in the states MahArAShtra, KarnATaka and Andhra Pradesh. The literal meaning of the term 'pANDuranga' in Sanskrit is 'white color'. More details in:
Vithoba - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hari NArAyaNa

bhava-bhaya haraNa, vandita charaNa |
jaya rAdha jaya MAdhava chauri |
mangala charaNa, kali-mala dahana |
Hari NArAyaNa, Keshava | (2)
jaya rAdha jaya MAdhava chauri |

Remover--haraNa, of the fear of birth--bhava-bhaya;
who has feet--charaNa, that is extolled--vandita;
Victorious--jaya, bountiful--rAdha, victorious MAdhava,
who steals the hearts--chauri;
Of auspicious--mangala, feet-charaNa,
who burns away--dahana, of the bad karma--mala, of the Kali age;
O Hari NArAyaNa, Keshava (one with handsome hair)!
Victorious--jaya, bountiful--rAdha, victorious MAdhava,
who steals the hearts--chauri.

Audio link:

nAmAvali notes
keshava--from the term kesha--hair of the head; kesha also means--of ViShNu, of Durga (MWD); Keshava is a popular name for shrI KRShNa.

Adi ShankarAchArya, in his commentary on 'ViShNu SahasranAmam' gives the following three definitions of the term keshava:

1. va+kesha: va--beautiful/graceful; kesha--locks of hair.
Beautiful hair decorated with a peacock feather is a popular image of shrI KRShNa.

2. kesha+va: kesha--the demon Keshin; vaH--destroyer. Keshin was sent by KaMsa, KRShNa's uncle to kill the child-KRShNa, but the child destroyed the demon. (ViShNu PurANa 5.16.23, MahAbhArata and 'Hari VaMsha').

3. keshava is the owner of the kesha--rays, emanating from the Sun, the moon and all effulgent objects in the cosmos. Shankara quotes the MahAbhArata for this interpretation:

aMshavo ye prakAShante mamaite keSha sam~jnitAH |
sarvaj~nAh keShavam tasmAt mAm Ahuh dvija-sattamAH ||
(mahA. 12. 328. 43)

"The rays that are emanating from Me are called keSha-s, and so the learned Brahmins call me by the name keShava".


I have a thought on the name Keshava:

Why is it that MahAViShNu alone has a name based on his handsome kesha--hair, when the other trimUrtis also have abundant hair on their head?

BrahmA is generally portrayed as an old man with a beard and white hair. Although he is the Creator, he has a finite life of 1,000 divine years. His white hair is also a sign of his wisdom born out of the Vedas he embodies.

Shiva is jaTAdhara--with a dishevelled, ascetic hair of twisted locks, always drenched in the waters of the GangA. As NaTarAja, his hair is even more in disarray, flying as he dances.

MahAViShNu, on the other hand, has the best of both the worlds, as the ruler of the three worlds. Of the TrimUrti, ViShNu's images are sculpted to have the best and most beautiful proportions of a divine personality, so his hair is always well kept, fragrant and has given him the name Keshava. His avatAra shrI KRShNa inherits this divine kesham and the name.

For a VaiShNava interpretation of the name Keshava, check the nAmAs 23 and 654 of ViShNusahasranAma, translated here in 5 volumes:

AkAshAt patitam tOyam yathA gacchati sAgaram
sarva dEva namaskAraH kEshavam pratigachchati

As raindrops falling from the sky all ultmately meet their end in the ocean,
prayer to all gods ultimately goes to God Keshava.

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