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Love and Light

Region 5 - Superb Seaside Satsang in Morecambe

Saturday 17th September

We felt very blessed to be sitting in the calm of the Wood Room at the Holistic Centre in Morecambe on a sunny but windy September Saturday. We had gathered for a mixture of a satsang and an English devotional singing workshop. The idea for the event came about from Ajit Patnaik's wish to share his vast collection of English devotional songs with us.

We were treated to 18 songs - most with their own story of how they were composed or when they were sung in front of Swami. The songs were brought alive by Ajit on his guitar, and many times I would look around and chuckle to myself as I could see everyone's feet tapping in time with the music. In between the singing, we had stories, lots of laughs, delicious food, and an opportunity to shop at the Holistic Centre (the ladies were happy!). We ended by sharing our experiences with Swami and also a Q&A session and mini study circle where we delved into the arguments for and against the idea of free will! The event overran by 2 hours because people just didn't want to leave, and when we eventually did leave, we were all buzzing. Swami also showed his presence as a flower fell whilst Ajit was sharing a time when Swami hugged/held him close during an interview....

Many of the songs for me were very moving - the words were so beautiful and the tunes very catchy. Ajit's devotion and emotion made it difficult for us to sing at times as we all had lumps in our throats. My favourite songs were 'When dark clouds fill your skies,' 'The way He walked,' and 'In the garden of my heart.' I was amazed at some of the bhajans that were direct translations of the Sanskrit versions but fitted into the same tune - a real gift to be able to compose those. And the English aarthi - I'd not heard that before... the New Zealanders did an amazing job!

As someone who doesn't understand much Hindi or Sanskrit, being able to express love and devotion in the English language opened up something new, something very special for me. I didn't have to worry about understanding the meaning or getting the pronunciation right. The event deepened my relationship with Swami, it made it easier to express love for God and it strengthened my faith. Sometimes I think we underestimate the power of devotional singing and how it can help strengthen our relationship with God - not outside - but God within.

I'm now waiting for the recording so I can remember all the tunes and practice the songs! We all asked (demanded more like!) a part 2 session later in the year where we can learn more...

Sanjay Vaja
Region 5 Spiritual Wing Coordinator