In 1955, during general darshan, bhaktas sung traditional bhajans for Baba. Within a few years, some margiis also began composing their own songs. Those bhajans were primarily written in Bengali, Hindi, Bhojpuri, English etc. And for years and years, in every area, whether north or south or anywhere else, only those Hindi and Bengali bhajans were sung, along with various religious and traditional songs, including Ravindra Samgiita. This went on, but those songs were not up to the proper standard.
For instance one such song was, “O’ Lord, when You came as Ram or Narayan you graced xyz bhaktas so this time I will see if You grace sinners like me, then I will really think You are great.” And in other traditional songs, the request was made for money, material wealth, and name and fame etc. So time and again, these compositions could not capture the proper expression of bhakti.
Why Baba: “Stop the song”
When Baba heard this, then with His ever-loving kindness and grace, He pointed out that such lyrics should not be sung: “You are not shelterless! Stop this song.” Immediately, the song was stopped. Baba then sweetly explained how all reside under the loving shelter of Parama Purusa. In this manner, the situation was addressed and margiis started singing a different song.
Another incident I recall is when one margii was singing the song, “Baba toha’r chashma’ kama’l karela’…”.
The meaning of this Bhojpuri song is: “Your eyeglasses are wonderful; they are bringing charm on Your face…The sticks in Your hand and the white dhoti are all multiplying Your beauty…”
This song also was also far, far off the mark.
Baba ordered local songs
In 1980, Baba ordered that in all areas and regions, local songs should be sung. Baba instructed the various samaj leaders to ensure spiritual songs were composed and sung in one’s mother tongue. Naturally, margiis began trying to fulfil that demand. Then the bhajans were no longer limited to Bengali, English, and Hindi songs; rather in every place local language songs were used for singing. This continued up to August 1982.
With His love, Baba was encouraging all, but those songs also were not up to the mark. Baba was often displeased with many of these bhajans, as they did not reflect the true expression of bhakti. Certainly, no one was singing or writing those songs to displease Him; but, often the meaning of those songs was inconsistent with our spiritual cult. They did not reflect the approach of bhakti.
All along Baba had made everyone understand that Ananda Marga teachings should be exemplified in all the ways, including in our bhajans or songs of bhakti. So with full sincerity margiis, dadas, and didis were trying to write or find songs that were properly linking with Baba’s teachings.
Birth of Prabhat Samgiita
Bhaktas were trying hard to incorporate the spiritual bhavas of Ananda Marga sadhana into their songs. But they were unaware how they could proceed in expressing their bhakti for Baba. They were unsure how to express their feelings of closeness, affection, love, bhakti, proximity, grace, thoughts, and melancholic longing etc. They were unsure whether they should accuse Parama Purusa of being unkind – i.e. that He is not responding to their calling, or whether they should tell Him that, “O’ Parama Purusa, You are so gracious and merciful.” And in so many other ways they were not sure how to proceed.
This was going on for the months and years prior to September 1982. So Prabhat Samgiita did not just suddenly appear out of thin air. There was an ongoing period of trial and error in Ananda Marga dharma. Baba had graciously given sadhakas all sorts of opportunities until the stage was set. When the moment was right, Prabhat Samgiita compositions came into form. Finally bhaktas were ready for sublime compositions of Prabhat Samgiita.
by Anand Sharan
(shorten and edited by Editor)