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Amma says "to gain concentration in this age of materialism, bhajan is easier than meditation. By loud singing, other distracting sounds will be overcome and concentration will be achieved. Bhajan, concentration and meditation, this is the progression. In fact, constant remembrance of God is meditation. Children, bhajan sung with one-pointedness will benefit the singer, the listener and also Mother Nature. Such songs will awaken the listeners minds in due course.
If bhajan is sung without concentration, it is a waste of energy. Bhajan is a spiritual discipline aimed at concentrating the mind on one's Beloved Deity. Through that one-pointedness, one can merge in the Divine Being and experience the Bliss of one's True Self. It does not matter whether one believes in Krishna or Christ, Mother Kali or Mother Mary; a formless God or even a flame, a mountain or an ideal such as world peace can be meditated upon while singing. By letting the mind expand in the sound of the divine chanting, each one can enjoy the peace born of one's inherent divinity."
If you live in the London area and would like to host one of the monthly Sahasranama chantings, preceded by bhajan practice, please contact Yamunah to arrange.
How We Can Improve Satsang Groups Very soon a new year will arrive, it is only a matter of days now. We thought, 'Isn’t it time to take stock of the Satsangs?', to see if we are happy with the way they are functioning, if there is something more we could do (perhaps a new charitable activity, for example) and how we could improve and increase access for new devotees of Amma.
When one of the visit organisers asked Amma how we could increase the number of volunteers that help at Amma's UK visit programme, Amma immediately said to increase and support the satsang groups. How simple and indeed obvious! With these thoughts in mind, we had a brainstorming session at the last Sunningdale Satsang to discuss plans for the coming year. We will have more informal group discussions with all members to explore how we can move forward. We want evolution and not revolution.
We had a very lively and interesting discussion and a number of exciting ideas were drawn out which we want to put forward to the rest of the group to think about. Wouldn’t it be nice for example to take part in a charitable activity as a group this year and can we help to encourage more volunteers?
Brainstorming, we came up with the following ideas which we would like all of you to think about and comment upon. Maybe you may have an exciting idea of your own?
One idea was to help Foodbanks by providing a collection point at each Satsang programme where anyone can bring suitable food items which can then be donated. It would be nice to have someone take a lead in coordinating this at each of the satsangs. Another idea was to put efforts to increase volunteer numbers by offering to start and support any new satsangs all over the UK. We can organise a van and make a tour as well as take part. Isn’t that a great idea for group development and empowerment!
Why not think about ways in which our local satsangs can grow and mature? We will be having a meeting at East Ham and Villa Devi to firm up our ideas, so keep an eye on the Enews for more information. — Vakees & Yamunah
Birmingham Satsang Makes Foodbank Contribution Devotees in Brimingham made a generous food donation following their last meeting. Here is an excerpt from the Sparkhill Foodbank Group's letter of thanks: "I am writing to say a big thank-you for your generous donation of 11kg of food to Sparkhill foodbank. This equates to about 26 meals! We are increasingly busy at the Sparkhill foodbank and are now distributing over 60 food parcels each week to clients referred to us. As such we are regularly running short of food and supplies so your donation is gratefully received. Your donations are much appreciated and will be used wisely to continue to support local people in crisis."
Sunningdale Delight I was so delighted with my first experience of being with the Sunningdale Amma satsang group in December. During the satsang we shared ideas of how we can support others around the country to hold a space for formal and informal satsangs. The idea grew that we could endeavour to embark on travelling satsangs around the country to support others to hold them.
There is an official format to hold Amma satsangs in accordance to Amma's instructions, and these could be advertised on the UK website. Also it was suggested that we encourage devotees to hold spaces for informal gatherings where people meet to talk of Amma's teachings and to sing devotional songs and bhajans. Speaking for myself I would be a little hesitant to invite people to a formal satsang but this should not stop me or others from inviting brothers and sisters to gather in Amma's Love.
We also discussed the idea of inviting devotees to come to satsangs with offerings of food for the Foodbanks that are dotted about the country. These foods can be placed at the altar during the ceremony and later can be delivered as prasad to a local food bank. This is not instead of bringing food to be shared at the satsang, it is in addition - even if it’s a tin of baked beans, this makes a positive difference to a hungry person.
After this stimulating and productive discussion we then sang some bhajans and concluded with a short meditation, followed by a delicious supper and entertaining conversation.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ganga and Balakrishna for their warm loving welcome and hospitality. It always has surprised me that thousands of lovely people turn up at Amma’s programme each year but so few by comparison go to Br Shubamrita’s discourses and even fewer to satsangs in London and around the country. To be in an Amma satsang brings me ever closer to Amma, as I see Her come through all our brothers and sisters. It is an arena where we can collectively offer ourselves in devotion and love via bhajans, prayer and spiritual talk, reminding ourselves of Amma’s teachings, enhancing our own spiritual and worldly lives and thereby potentially helping other people around us. — Ciara
Spiritual Book Clubs to Start There are plans to start two Amma Spiritual Book Clubs next month, in London and Shropshire. To participate or for further information, contact Kuldeep (London) firstname.lastname@example.org or Patricia (Much Wenlock/Shrewsbury) email@example.com. If you would like to start an Amma Book Club in your area, contact Shakti firstname.lastname@example.org for help getting started.
Amma's UK Embrace provides opportunities to request prayers for our loved ones and ourselves and to pray for the healing of our brother and sisters. This group prayer link up will be to ask Amma to hold people in her heart and embrace them. The group prayer will take place every Thursday night at 8:30pm for 10 minutes within your home. Everyone is welcome and people to pray for will be listed on the London Bhajans Eweekly. To subscribe to this please contact Kuldeep email@example.com. To request prayers for yourself or loved ones, please email Shakti firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to add someone other than yourself please ask their permission first.
If you would like to receive a weekly Bhajan Reminder for the London area by email , which includes weekly programme times and location address, along with potential carpooling locations/contacts, please contact Shakti email@example.com.
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