A reader has written to recommend listening to two recent releases of what he describes as remarkable Australian music.
“I have just heard a most incredible Australian CD, Cannot Buy My Soul – The Songs of Kev Carmody. The musician and songwriter, Paul Kelly, pulled together a stellar cast of the cream of the Australian music scene to host a concert playing the songs of Kev Carmody, an Aboriginal drover turned musician.
“Kev Carmody wrote his songs from the 1960s through to the 1980s. There is so much dignity and eloquence in these songs, expressing the story from the soul of the Australian Indigenous people. Sometimes music can express the inexpressible qualities of a country – such is this music.
“Also highly recommended when contemplating Australian indigenous music is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s widely acclaimed album, Gurrumul. There are many good reasons to recommend his music, which is mostly sung in various Indigenous languages, with scenes drawn from the Aboriginal “Dreaming”.
“Gurrumul, blind since birth and a former member of the internationally acclaimed band Yothu Yindi, has released an album of quiet beauty. His voice has been described as having being touched by angels. If you are interested in some really great Australian music perhaps take a chance to listen to these.”
The Sahaja Yoga Meditation Program first went to air in 1995 on Radio 2SER at an 11.00 – 12.00 timeslot and was the initiative of two Sahaja yogis. What a great initiative it has been! Thirteen years later we are still on air, offering a unique program where people can experience the state of meditation over the airwaves. To the best of our knowledge we conduct the only program of this type.
Each program always includes at least one substantial guided meditation to enable listeners to deepen their meditative experience in the comfort of their own homes. The content is at the discretion of each presenter. Included are diverse descriptions and discussions/interviews about the many aspects of Sahaja Yoga, including ancient traditions, the religions of the world and history’s great spiritual personalities. Also we make use of music conducive to the meditations, or to illustrate points being made. The music is varied and often original, sometimes performed live in the studio or from recordings made by Sahaja Yoga practitioners around the world. Occasionally, we have a delayed outside broadcast, wholly with live performances.
All programs to air have been paid for solely from contributions volunteered by Sahaja yogis, rather than by sponsorship.
The aim of Sahaja Yoga, in Australia and worldwide, is to offer the experience of Self-realisation to everyone regardless of race, creed, religion or age. This is something that has never happened before in the history of human evolution. Traditionally, achieving Self-realisation was very difficult and perhaps only one person in a hundred years would receive it. It was also always a one-on-one practice of guru and disciple. However, the guru who was able to give Self-realisation had disappeared in these modern times until the coming of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of Sahaja Yoga.
On Saturday 31st May 2008, we invited people who had been attending regular weekly meditation programs to come to the Sahaja Yoga Centre at Wamuran, 60 km north of Brisbane, for an advanced meditation workshop. We had emailed subscribers to the newsletter as well, but as it turned out, the weather had other ideas!
Heavy rain, storms and flooding hit the Sunshine Coast area that weekend and some people indicated they might not be able to attend. Preparations were well in hand, however, and plenty of food and refreshments had been organised.
Despite the conditions, ten guests braved the elements and the muddy driveway, to further their knowledge of Sahaja Yoga. After the introductions, some light refreshments were offered, and then it was into the meditation room to start the proceedings.
After a formal welcome to Wamuran, a brief introduction to Sahaja Yoga followed. After this we went through the Self-realisation, as some people had never attended a program. Then out came the footsoak bowls. Yogis helped in clearing chakras during the guided meditation and we could feel the vibrations increasing. A demonstration of working on one’s own chakras was then given and instructions for meditating at home.
A period of quiet meditation followed, accompanied by some sitar playing. The vibrations were strong during the meditation, and people’s faces seemed to take on a more serene appearance.
A talk by Shri Mataji called “Establishing Your Self-realisation” followed. We rounded off the workshop with some bhajans, ending with the Maha Mantras. Meditation then continued, accompanied by some quiet music.
The delightful smells from the kitchen soon brought our attention to our nabhi chakras, however, and then it was time to mingle around the dining table savouring the cuisine. Our guests were genuinely happy and at ease, and most didn’t want to leave, staying for cups of tea, laughing and chatting with the yogis. Some even helped with the washing up!
Amazingly, it was only after everyone had gone, that we realised that it hadn’t rained at all during the entire program, even though destructive winds and torrential rain had been forecast.
The feedback from the guests was extremely positive. We are planning to hold monthly workshops in the future on the last Saturday of each month.
On Sunday 25 May 2008, “Nirmala Devi – Freedom and Liberation” was shown at the Logan Entertainment Centre. Preceding the film, the Brisbane Sahaja Yoga music group, “Sahaj Sangeet”, performed for 40 minutes.
Even though the film had been shown previously during March this year, this was the Brisbane Sahaja yogis’ first event at a large venue. We had decided to go all out and the music group had been practising for weeks. More than 25,000 flyers were distributed in 13 suburbs and posters placed in most of the libraries. A broadcast email was sent out to all Queensland subscribers. The Entertainment Centre also promoted the event on their website and in their weekly newsletter. Glenda, Coralie and Robert did a radio interview and a newspaper article with photos appeared in the “Logan and Albert News”.
During the planning stage, it soon became apparent, as Glenda constantly reminded us, that the venue staff were extremely professional and their desire to give us the best chance of success was foremost. At 10.00am on the day of the event, the musicians arrived for sound checks which were thoroughly performed by the audio technicians. We rehearsed a few of our songs while adjustments were made. It certainly sounded impressive.
Dr Akshay was to be our “anchorman” and to finish our rehearsal, he went through his introduction after which we did our run-on behind closed curtains.
It soon became time to change into our kurtas and saris and get ready for the big event. Ten minutes before curtain time, we lined up in the order in which we would be sitting and silently raised our kundalinis, sitting in quiet meditation.
Then we heard Dr Akshay’s voice welcoming everyone and announcing the sequence of events. We had no way of knowing how many people were sitting behind that curtain but we hoped there were many.
Suddenly, Glenda waved us forward and we quickly took our places on stage. As the curtain drew back, we started singing the “Maha Mantras”.
We looked into the audience but saw only complete darkness! All the lights were on us! At first this was a little disconcerting, but then we forgot about the audience, and just gave it our all. The mood lights were constantly changing and sometimes we would get a glimpse of a few faces.
All too soon, we had finished our performance and the curtain drew back again. Now the audience was actually clapping!
We made our way backstage to the welcome lunch which the yoginis had provided. After the 20-minute interval we joined the audience on the balcony to watch the film.
Everyone seemed to be intently interested and at the conclusion of the film, Dr Akshay demonstrated where to place the hands. Then the screen faded to Shri Mataji giving Self-realisation. Only one couple left at this point and even the two audio technicians got their realisation.
We found out later that a little over one hundred people had attended. For Queensland this is probably our best result so far. We later mingled with the crowd in the foyer, handing out flyers and talking to interested people. All the comments we received were favourable and it certainly gives us encouragement to do more events of this kind in the future.