A traditional form of musical devotion still popular in India today. A bhajan is a spiritual song as well as group worship through music and song. Bhajans are customarily performed in a soloist-group format.
For centuries, Hindu devotees have embraced the bhajan as a source of deep spiritual renewal. Today bhajans are performed on holy days, special occasions or with a gathering of relatives, friends and neighbors. An evening of bhajans can last for several hours, often lifting the participants to a state of religious exaltation. A soloist sings a verse and the group repeats it to the accompaniment of percussion and other instruments. Generally the recitation begins slowly and then speeds up.
A distinctive element of the bhajan is the repetition of the names of God. According to Hindu tradition, singing and meditating upon the names of a deity evoke his or her power and presence. To the Hindu, the bhajan is also a medium of divine grace, bringing salvation to those who have erred.
Shiva: Sacred Chants from the Heart of India (audio CD)