How Global Akhand Bhajans Came To Be, DC Area Centers
The Sathya Sai Baba Centers of Fairfax, Loudoun, Baltimore and South Bethesda jointly held Akhand Bhajans (24-hour continuous devotional singing) at the Hindu Temple in Hyattsville, MD on Nov 14th-15th 2016. The event celebrated the 70th year of 24-hour devotional singing held in Saytha Sai Centers around the globe for peace, harmony and bliss for all mankind.
This year, we were blessed to hear Mrs. Geetha Ram speak. Her family was one of eight families that started Akhanda Bhajans in 1946. A member of the South Bethesda Sai Center, she noted that “ My granduncle, Mr. Sheshagiri Rao, and my father, Dr. Padmanabhan, began hosting weekly devotional meetings (bhajans) in 1945 after meeting Sai Baba in 1944. They were one of eight families that would meet on Thursdays and sing devotional songs.They did it under difficult circumstances because India was then under British rule. There was a curfew and no electricity at night. Hence, the Sai families would have to walk 5 to 6 miles in the dark to meet in different homes.”
In 1946, the eight families decided to hold a 24-hour nonstop devotional singing to celebrate the 52 weeks of bhajans they had carried out. “A letter was written to my granduncle, Mr. Rao, who was by then living in Parthi as Sai Baba's personal attendent. We requested Sai Baba's blessings and permission to conduct the 24-hour bhajans. He was very happy and promised He would personally attend the event,” recounted Mrs. Ram.
For 25 years following, Sai Baba would come to their home and stayed with them, lighting the lamp every year at the start of the 24-hour continuous bhajans and blessing the devotional session with His divine physical presence. In 1974 Swami announced at the end of the session, "These 8 families have lit the lamp of devotion and have conducted this 24-hour Akhand Bhajans for 25 years. This lamp will be lit now all over the world and will be celebrated as Global Akhand Bhajans”.
And that is how the global Akhand bhajans came to be.