The choice of whom to write about first is a most difficult one, because all the names which come to my mind are so unique and commanding in their own respect, that it becomes virtually impossible to choose. However, I have to start somewhere so I decided to write on Swami Suryapada.
The first time I went for a Satsang conducted by Swami Suryapada (belovedly also called as Chayanna), the definition of Satsang was changed in my mind. It was about two years ago in Bangalore that I went for his first Satsang, till then I had myself some experience of Singing in Satsangs. But sitting there in the hot sun at 1 pm, singing Shiva-Shiva-Hara-Hara I forgot the world and experienced so deep a peek into my own inner self that when I came out of it, I realised that the Satsang was over. Then after that I have attended numerous Satsangs conducted by him. First a brief introduction:
|Swami Suryapaji (Chayanna) in one of his lively moods.|
Born in Karnataka in Southern India, Swami Suryapada ji completed his Master’s Degree in Physics from the Bangalore University in India. He served at the prestigious R.V College of Engineering in Bangalore, India as Head of the Department in Physics until 1995. After taking Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as his Guru he became full time teacher with the Art of Living Foundation.
An embodiment of Knowledge and Seva, Swamiji has a very deep understanding of the Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, Ashtavakra Gita, Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the like.
He has travelled extensively around the world, from USA to Taiwan, from New Zealand to Germany, taking the knowledge of spiritual values and sharing his expansive presence with sincere seekers. He takes the Advanced Meditation Course of the Art of Living Foundation.
Just as in the video above, He starts the Satsang with a powerful chanting which has an immediate calming effect for the mind and slowly leads the satsang to a pinnacle where even the most insensitive person will feel touched by the grace of his singing. Deep meditative experiences during his Satang is a regular phenomenon and people feel refreshed after attending his Satsangs.
Swami Suryapada's style is most unique as he does not sing the latest bhajan in vogue, but sticks to the simple tunes based on pure Ragas which will have the most powerful affect in an individual's consiousness. He has a very deep knowledge of the effect different sounds have on the mind of the listener, basically what effect a Raga has? Ragas are a collection of notes (ascending and descending) with a particular emphasis on some . Invented by ancient rishis and improvised by thousands of prolific musicians over thousand of years, different Ragas when used effectively, colours the mind with a particular emotion from which to slip into meditaion becomes very easy, and Swamiji through the years has mastered the Art of Satsang.
|Swami Suryapada Playing the Harmonium.|
|Leading through devotion.|
Also commendable is his efforts to make popular the old wiritings of various Kannada saints like Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa, Basavanna etc. Bhajans like Bhagya da Lakshmi Baramma, Dasanagu Visheshanagu, Uma Katyayani Gauri etc have again started to be heard even by non Kannadigas, all credit goes to Swami Suryapadji's efforts to popularise them and also explain the meanings and expose the deep wisdom hidden in these devotional songs. In the video below he sings Dasanagu Visheshanagu.
The meaning of this song is very beautiful, I will try to explain with my limited understanding of Kannada..
It speaks about how the Body takes birth again and again , eighty lakh lifetimes have u spent... come and gone .... now the only way out is to become a disciple. He says "Become a disciple, a servant and then you will become SPECIAL ! "
Kannadigas who can explain in detail plz do so in the comments, I will put it up here :)