Friday, 28 April 2017

Bajaans; Saraswati and Hari Krishna

The Forge Yoga Monthly Kirtan Preview for May 2017
11.00 Monthly the Forge 231 Barkly st (Gardens side end) opp The fish shop
Come and join in a spiritual singing community for 2 hrs Free Chai Door Cost $5 entry
This Month we sing to Saraswati and Krishna
Saraswati (Sanskrit: सरस्वती, Sarasvatī) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning worshipped throughout Nepal and India.[3] She is a part of the trinity (Tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively.[4]
The earliest known mention of Saraswati as a goddess is in the Rigveda. She has remained significant as a goddess from the Vedic period through modern times of Hindu traditions.[5] Some Hindus celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami (the fifth day of spring) in her honour,[6] and mark the day by helping young children learn how to write alphabets on that day.[7] The Goddess is also revered by believers of the Jain religion of west and central India,[8] as well as some Buddhist sects.[9]
Saraswati who is revered as a goddess of knowledge, music and arts is also found outside Nepal and India, such as in Japan, Vietnam, Bali (Indonesia) and Myanmar.[10] (wikipedia)

Hari Krishna and George Harrison

George funded the first Krishna centre in London and was a huge follower of Krishna.
His autobiography tells it all.

Jagjit Singh does a nice Krishna version as always

Monday, 24 April 2017

Taoist Chi Qong for Lower back

Taoist Chi Qong for the lower back

full length 30 min

To see full video get the youtube link by emailing Gerard and paying Aus $15

For the full video contact Gerard
61 0407734479

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Bajaan to Ma Durga Kirtan Caravanserai April 2017

Bajaan to Ma Durga
"Sri Ma Jai Ma  Jai Ma Jai Jai Ma Jai Jai Ma"

Goddess of Mother nature 

Chrissy and Toby
Castlemaine Chanting@Facebook

The Forge First Sunday Month 
Kirtan Caravanserai 11.00

This, the second of 2017 Kirtan Caravanserai had many new faces and was a beautiful sharing of Shakti.  

Many soaked up the healing energy and walked smiling and relaxed thanks to the power of the mantra Ma Durga.

Chai Ma
Chrissy Heydon,  the best of Chai Wallahas brewed up the most rasa filled potion the world has ever tasted and it soothed the mouths of the masses on the day.

Toby's electric guitar was soothing to the soul and the echo of the blues drifted in on the back of her tiger that is ... Ma Durga.

Thanks to the new djembe drummers whose names have left me for the moment...apologies (Virginia???Maybe ) You know who I mean anyhow....It was a welcome inclusion we can all build on.

Lany is now initiated as our Keeper of Prasad and giver of Prasad. Her hands and humility and joy emancipated us all. Thank you Lany.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Mira Bai a story of a devotee and the Beloved

A story about Love and spiritual devotion.

The story of Mira Bai the Bhakti devotee of Krishna
followed by bajaan Radhe Radhe Govinda.

Chrissy singing and Toby on guitar from Castlemaine Chanting 
Tilopa – Bousouki         Gerard -Tabla

A Wild Lotus Arts Production 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Bhakti Love and the power of the realized

Sometimes you get a podcast or a conversation that stops you in your tracks and you think and think over and over what was said for days and months, not all the time but quietly at the back of your mind.

I was listening to Tapestry on CBC radio and heard Krishna Das a devotee of Neem Keroli Baba. Ram Das was his student too and wrote a very nice book of  stories from the followers  "The Miracle of Love'.

Miracle of Love; PDF

I had read this book whilst in Rishikesh in the 1990's in an ashram by the Ganges and was transfixed by the stories in it of how peoples lives were swept away and healed by the wizardry of Baba.

This podcast by Krishna Das is one such journey and all I can say is that I know how this magic works as it also shaped me and my amazing journey through life after I met my teacher 'Maharaj'.
Life will never be athe same again when one surrenders to the power of love.

Podcast of Krishna Dass


Monday, 13 March 2017

Monthly Kirtan 1st Sunday 'Ma Durga' Praise Supreme Earth Mother

Next Kirtan The Forge 2 April 2017

 Bajaan to Ma Durga

Jaya Jagat Ambe
Maa Durga
Om Narayani Om

Hail to Durga, the mother of the world.Praise Narayani, goddess of compassion

She is 'Prakriti' - living earthly consciousness Divine Earth Mother Goddess Supreme Compassion and love.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Radhe Govinda Bajaan ; Full @ Kirtan Caravanserai The Forge 3 2017

Mirabai a Rajput princess was a ecstatic bhakta, a  Krishna devotee and saint in Hinduism. She was bethrothed to a powerful Local Prince but refused her husband Rana Bhohjraj of Sisodia. She said she was married to Krishna already and despite attempts to assasinate her she remained loyal to Krishna until they finally banished her.  Finally after later living in her parents kingdom which was under seige she went to Vrindavan the home of Krishna where she passed away in the Dwarka temple.

Born1498, Kudki, India
Full nameMeera
SpouseBhoj Raj (m. 1516–1521)

This bajaan is devoted to Krishna.
Radha - krishna's consort 
Gopal- (gopi femminine) cow herder or follower of Krishna the supreme Gopala
A follower / Gopi of Krishna embodies unconditional love.

This is a longer version of the First Kirtan Caravanserai at the Forge.

Musicians Gerard Chrissy Tony and Toby

Monday, 6 March 2017

Kirtan Caravanserai The Forge No 1. 2017

The first Kirtan at the Forge Gerard with Chrissy and Toby from Castlemaine Chanting@ Facebook
was a modest success and a promising start.

We had guests Tony 'Tilopa' Hogan and Briani from Melbourne umbrella group Chant Cartel.

Thanks to all those who came and made it a great day of happiness and spiritual joy.

This is the Sikh mantra Ek onkar and the Hindu mantra Jaya Guru.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Kirtan Caravanserai The Forge March 2017

The Inaugural Kirtan Caravanserai

Thank you everyone to everyone who had a hand in the first Kirtan Caravanserai

Kirtan Caravanserai bursts into orbit with Chrissy, Toby from Castlemaine chanting and Gerard Wild Lotus Artsin the first kirtan Devotional chant of the year at the Forge Yoga Castlemaine. From the peaceful heart felt chanting to the divine exuberance of soaring ecstacy. Space limited book your spot First Sunday Monthly 1100 -1400

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Bajaan List

OM symbol

 1.    Invocation to Shiva
       Namah Parvate Pataye hara hara / Hara hara hara hara Maha deva /
Om Shiva Shankar Maha Deva

2.    Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Dev  / Om Guru Om Guru Om Gruru Dev (Kashmir Shaivism )

3.    Ek Onkar Sat Nam Sirre wahe Guru  (Sikh tradition)

4.    Once was lost, Now I’m found,
       In my darkness, You were the one,
       Now I’m here, to give your thanks, For what you done
       Gospel style
       Once was lost, Oh Lord                                         Now I’m found, Amen
       In my darkness, Oh Lord                                       You were the one, Amen
       Now I’m here to give your thanks, Oh Lord        For what you done, Amen  (lyrics, song Gerard)

5.    Radhe Radhe Govinda Govinda Radhe   
       Radhe Govinda  Govinda Radhe Gopala Radhe

6.     Om Bhuur-Bhuvah Svah  / Tat-Savitur-Varennyam           (Gayatri mantra)
         Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi / Dhiyo Yo Nah Pracodayaat

7.     Sri Krishna Govinda Hare Murare Hai Natanarayan Vasudeva
8.     Hari Krishana Hari Rama
9.     Ganesha   Sharanam   Sharanam   Ganesha

10.   Jai Jai Shiva shambho    Jai Shiva shambho                 
         Mahadeva Shambh        Mahadeva Shambho

        Shiva - name of the Creator & destroyer     Jai - exclamation of praise   shambho - abode of joy
        Maha - great  Deva- saint

12.  OM AH HUM  PADME GURU SIDDHE HUM     Tibetan Guru Rimpoche Padma Sambhava

13.  Om Mani Padme hum                                         The jewel in the lotus

14.  Gopala Gopala Devaki Nanda Gopala
        Devaki Nanda Gopala Devaki Nanda Gopala

15   Shri Krishna Jai Jai Shri Rama Jai Jai  Raja Ramana Hari Govinda Jai Jai                                              

16.    Jaya Jagatambe, Ma Durga!      Jaya Jagatambe, Ma Durga!                  Durga Ma mantra
          Om Narayani     Om Narayani 

17.    Ganapati Om Jaya Ganapati Om   
         Ganapati Om Jaya Ganapati Om                                                                  Ganesh mantra
          Ganapatai ye            Ganapatai ye

18.    Samba Sada Shiva x3       Hara Shambo                                                      Shiva mantra
         Hey Girijaavara  x3           Hara Shambo  

         Hey Shiva Shankara  x 3   Hara Shambo

                              Info: Gerard 0407734479 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bajaans Bhakti and Yoga

Bunjil's Cave Gadaichi man spirit of the 

Custodians of the Earth mother
Aboriginal Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people have been linked to this seasonal cycle, which includes Gwangal Moronn (the season of the honey bee), Chinnup (the season of cockatoos) and Petyan (the season of butterflies).

Devotional Bajaan
Hari Om
Govinda Jay Jay
Kavisha Mazella vocals harmonium
Gerard Menzel Vocals Tabla


We were jamming in the house one day and this is a take from a practice before a show some months later at a song and music festival in Kyneton.

Its garage band stuff but you will get the feel for bajaan here..

What are  bajaans? 
Bajaans are songs created for devotion. To whom you ask? It can be devotion to a deity if your a Hindu or it can be to the earth and nature itself which is a representation directly of the divine beauty of the universe.
Its devotional, its fun, its not superior, its warm n goosy at times and bubbles  happiness under your skin.. (but keep it a secret ok...) We cant have everyone buzzing happiness and joy.

Thank you Kavisha  for blessing us with you voice.

Picture of the bush
Bunjils Shelter Gariwerd Park (grampians)

Bunjil was a aboriginal Gadachi or spirit man. This area is buzzing with shakti. There is a cave painting there of a dog and that is associated with Bunjil.

Bajaans and Bhakti

Bajaans are devotional songs that are directed to s diety of holy person in order to evoke their spirit and shakti or energized prana for healing and to oen the pathways of the shashumna nadi (also known as Shiva's veena) 1. similar to the vagus nerve and the sympathetic parasympathetic nerve system in the spine.

Bajaans are a direct way of meditating. They open the voice and breathing so the throat chakra is activeated. The throat and voice is related to self expression and is the 5th Chakra or wheel of energy in the Yogic system which travels up and down the spine and has 7 wheels or chakras.

The spine is often called Shivas veena as the shashumna nadi or spine is the column for the prana or breath of shiva to travel up and down in.  This is similar to the vagus nerve in physiology.

Prana or Breath
When one sings the spinal nerves are activated with breath as we sit straight and open our chests (heart chakra and love ) to the universe.  By breathing as we sing with the intent of devotion and love the heart chakra and the mind are made peaceful. The mind and the heart are associated because if one is agitated or peaceful the other will be.  Therefore the calming of the mind in devotional prayer or singing to the divine quietens the mind and the heart is restful.

The singer approaches the singing similar to a meditation sitting, quietly and without distractions. It usually lasts some time in order for the body mind to quieten. If it is done regularly the person will become more earthed and steady of mind and emotion.

Like breathing, sound has an important role in opening of the chakras to prana or energy.
Each chakra is stimulated by some sounds like the word Ma Amma Mum is associated from birth with the love for mother. We do not have to learn this sound. It is practically gene encoded into us.
This activates the heart chakra and love.  The Indian ragas made use of these sounds and categorized them into 24 Shrutis or sound fragments There are natural scales for the musicality of sound and the west system is Do Ra Me Fa So La Ti Do and the indian system is Sa RA Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa. These sounds can be roughly connected to a chakra or more. Sa and Do work on the first 2 or 3 chakras. Some sounds start on one chakra and move to the next in completion like Pa. It starts on the throat and finishes in the throat and chest.

How to get awareness of sound 
Sit in a quiet place and say the mantra or bajaan then sing it being aware of where your breath is. In time you will become aware of the chakras and the sound it is activating.  First study where the chakras are and correlate the sounds as you sit and practice being. Note I said "being" for meditation is a state of being not something that can be learned or remembered. In time you will be able to feel the emotions and your chakras responding in unison.  For example fear or anger effects the stomach area often, but may not be limited to there. Fear effects the heart too and decision making.

Intrinsic sacred sound
Take the sound Aaaah, this is a natural sound that activates the heart and can be found in 95% of mantras and bajaans. The sounds AMEN, AUM also HUM are used in west Indian and Tibetan chanting and prayer. Look for these sounds in the mantras and witness their affects on your emotion self. They calm they stabilize and then centre. They allow one to turn inward away from the 5 senses to the inner spirtual world.

Forget yourself
So a reminder to sing to the sky, the heavens when you sing in order to lose yourself. That is the conscious identification with the body the ego, time and space. This will refresh your spirit and give you energy and peace.

So there is a little to work on as you chant and meditate on the sacred sounds.

Baba Virsah Singh ji Maharaj 

Bhakti; the heart and You
Bhakti yoga and kirtan, singing music are hand in hand. In fact singing devotional music and prayer is arguably the most direct way to open the heart and develop love, in your life, approach to work, life relationships and nature. Singing is a human condition and song is to life what water is to land. In singing we praise life and we express the fact that we can feel emotion be it joy, sadness, fear, anger, pathos, and express what we experience.  The path of love and bhakti is to open the human heart to embrace love and to drain out, cleanse oneself of  conditions that inhibit love,like.. fear, prejudice, anxiety, lethargy, anger, superiority, uncertainty, disconnectedness, etc...  

On the farm
I remember sitting in the garden of Gobind Sadan, (a spiritual working communal farm on the edge of Delhi in the 1990's a place where I spent on and off 17 years) with my teacher and there was the light of the stars, the flicker of home made candles and the dust in the air.  People all around me were crossed legged on the grass singing in ecstatic joy, sometimes quietly and at others with passion, singing the praises of life.  

The harmonium wafted through the air and the beat of the tabla drum constantly earthing the singers and musicians to the fixed recurrent rhythm of the 8 beat tala always returning to the Sum or Gur.  
The sum means ONE the beginning and infers all that links and joins together like the stuff of genes and cells and blood, breath, air, water the stuff that courses through all living things. In spiritual musician circles it can also be a reference to the ONE that brings together, the beginning of time, eternity's birth.

Maharaj my teacher was present and he sat like a historic Raja, a real Maharaja watching over his beloved followers with one pulse so close to your own thoughts (as close as a strand of one's own hair) and the other part of his spirit in a place, a world that none of us yet knew. A world so huge so loving it was as if the earth rumbled when one approached him. But a place he was guiding us too, a heaven, an abode of persistent truth, of compassion, where stars and space and continuous change was the norm, the stuff of love and joy. 

Just to be around Maharaj was transformational. One could not have a negative thought almost (yes and we all tried constantly to do that being mortal and unrealized) in his presence. The air breathed love around Baba, the flowers in the garden always looked and felt bigger, brighter and more amazing when he stepped into sight or even when he was away.  He was a larger than life human being in every aspect of the phrase, huge in stature being over 6 feet, a capacity for compassion and healing like Jesus, and a clarity and insight like the burning rays of the noon sun. 

As I was sitting there with a feeling of joy, simple joy I felt like I was in India in say 1300, the robust nature of the farm in the early days with cold water and wells for drinking from, its dusty paths, where workers often slept communally in a big room male and female separated, where prayer was practiced 3 times a day by most people, food shared communally, etc  It reflected an Indian Sikh traditional rural community, a world that probably had not changed in centuries. 

The earthyness of the Sikh way of life with its love of nature, growing abundant crops, working with your hands and simple devotion to the UNNAMED ONE. Sikhs dont have a name like GOD because they say he is not able to be put into words truthfully. So they leave the space empty and seek the feeling of that spiritual force. "Wah" and "Wahe Guru" are often said aloud at bajaan times and daily prayer to signify thanks to the UNNAMEABLE ONE.

All these blessings I felt bestowed on me like I was reborn and now sitting once again in front of my teacher after another rebirth, seeking the truth.  I felt an amazing sense of gratefulness, gratitude as I would be continually welcomed to this house of God (literally;Gobind Sadan Gods House) year after year and from the day I entered this house the warm of compassion's eyes and the soft hands of love prevailed. This wellspring of love persistently showered me and nurtured me year after year, through troughs and highs in my life.  I realized then that heaven is not a place outside ones own consciousness. It can be here and now in the Blissful state of ; sitting by a stream letting nature drift your mind into eternity, the joy of giving a smile to one in need, the unity of being there when someone is suffering beside you. 


Black range Gariwerd overlooking Halls'

World Music, Viet fusion

Bamboo Ochre 
Dhang Thao - zither
Cadre - Flute
Hung- keys mandolin
David- bass 
Adelaide Arts Centre outdoor stage circa 90's

Bamboo Ochre
worked in the 90's around state and national
folk festivals and S.A. venues playing a fusion of
Asian and western music. Most of the music was
created by Dang Thao a Vietnamese refugee
who was incarcerated by the communists
before fleeing for the fact that he was a popular
musician. Hung also contributed songs another

Thao is an extraordinary musician with a gift for conveying the soul of music to the audience.
Time and time again I witnessed him captivate an audience with his charm and unique Vietnamese joy and compassioin.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Bajaan Chanting Programe March 5 2017

Youtube link

Ek Onkar Sat Nam Sirre Wahe Guru

This mantra is from the Sikh tradition.  
Ek- one     Onkar - world     Sat truth     Nam - the name      Sirre wahe - praise      Guru - dispeller of darkness

Version 2 

Slightly different Version of Ek Onkar 5min clip
This is a lengthy 25min version to sing to.
Guru Gobind Singh the tenth and final Sikh Guru

Jaya Guru from the Kashmir Shaivite tradition
Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Dev Om Guru Om Guru Om Guru Dev
This mantra is from the Hindu tradition of Kashmir (Shiva followers) made famous by the Bhagwan Nityananda his shishya (disciple) Muktananda his shishya Gurumai Chiddhvilasananda tradition at GurudevSiddhaapeet  Guru means - dispeller of darkness  Jaya - praise  Dev - divine being  
Om- unity of sound

Radhe Radhe Govinda Govinda Radhe with Krishna Das

Gayatri Mantra with Deva Premal

 Mantra for Bajaan chanting

1)Namah Parvate Pataye hara hara / Hara hara hara hara Maha deva / Om Shiva Shankar Maha Deva

2) Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Dev  / Om Guru Om Guru Om Gruru Dev

Sikh tradition
3) Ek Onkar Sat Nam Sirre wahe Guru  
(one world truth is its name praise to the dispeller of darkness)

4) Once was lost, Now I’m found, In my darkness, You were the one,
Now I’m here to give your thanks, For what you done

5) Radhe Radhe Govinda Govinda Radhe  / Radhe Govinda  Govinda Radhe Gopala Radhe

Gayatri Mantra
6) Om Bhuur-Bhuvah Svah  / Tat-Savitur-Varennyam   

Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi / Dhiyo Yo Nah Pracodayaat

Meaning of Gayatri Mantra
1: Om, (that Divine Illumination which Pervades the) Bhu Loka (Physical Plane, Consciousness of the Physical Plane), Bhuvar Loka (Antariksha or Intermediate Space, Consciousness of the Prana) and Swar Loka (Swarga, Heaven, Consciousness of the Divine Mind),
2: On that Savitur (Divine Illumination) which is the Most Adorable (Varenyam), ...
3: ... and which is of the nature of Divine Effulgence (Bhargo Devasya), I meditate,
4: May that Divine Intelligence (Dhiyah) Awaken (Pracodyat) our (Spiritual Consciousness).

Chrissy and Toby from Castlemaine Chanting, Harmonium, guitar
Tony Hogan (Tilopa) - Melb. musician oud, bouzouki, guitar 
 Gerard Menzel - tabla, harmonium

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Devotional Bajaan 1st Sunday of Month 11.00 2hrs

1st of Month Sunday 11.00 - 13.00
Devotional Bajaan  1st Sunday of Month 11.00  2hrs

Where; The Forge Yoga 341 Barker st Castlemaine

 Bajaans; are devotional songs dedicated usually to a deity in Hinduism. They are based on the belief that sounds and words have the ability to transform energy. Bajaans are sung usually in a group setting or satsang. It is a tapas (training) or pursuit on the path to oneness (Samadhi)

The singer; or devotee seeks to open the heart to the feeling initiated by the devotional chant to a diety or saint.  It is a simple and direct way to open ones heart to love, compassion, generosity, and perfecting a relationship with oneself and the other. Paradoxically in bhakti Yoga the goal is to merge self with the other so all is one harmony of light, sound, movement and silence. In this stillness of mind the other is no more.

For whom and why ?
This is an open event and the aim is to meet share some food and sing together. To sing with thanks for the gift of life and the ability to love and feel joy.

Healing; Earth and heart
Chanting and prayer also have the ability to heal the soul, heal the emotional body and the physical and many have found amazing changes within after regular singing. Not only the healing is for oneself but for the myriad of suffering people around the world and planet earth.

Non sectarian non denominational non religious
Singing is a natural human attribute and love also.  We seek to build a gathering of unconditional relationships connected by the love of song, the desire to heal and to be open and free of anything that inhibits our ability to be in touch with the presence of joy. Although it is a tradition of yoga in many faiths and traditions song and dance have played a part in healing, uniting community and realizing the soul.

New musicians welcome contact Gerard 0407734479 

What to bring
Food to share $3 single $5 couple to cover hire, tea etc

Children are welcome but please realize it is the parents duty manage them at all times.
If a child is unsettled its better to take them out for a break so as not to disturb the peace.
But by all means introduce the children to the the space of song but remember their attention spans differ, so parents be aware and make adjustments.

Details of programme ;
A Wild Lotus Arts event; Gerard Menzel

Online     Click Register here 
or hit the General booking form on the right of this page
Thur before the event, spaces limited  call 
Phone Gerard 0407734479

How to get there.

Venue The Forge Yoga centre

MaPS link to address,+Castlemaine+VIC+3450/@-37.0566053,144.215919,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x6ad730d663537bff:0xf7a6cbda776ad35b!8m2!3d-37.0566096!4d144.2181077

Devotional songs and bajaans

song; Krishna Krishna Kahiye - Pt. Bhimsen Joshi 

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is one of the most talented Indian classical singers in our time.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Mantra bajaan ; Jai Guru

A devotional mantra to the guru.

Image of Anandamaya or Amma

I visited her beautiful ashram in Kerala in 2000 amongst the canals and coconut palms.  In the evenings her bajaan music wafted among the waves of the sea and the heat of the tropics.

Guru - dispeller of darkness

1806, gooroo, from Hindi guru "teacher, priest," from Sanskrit guru-s "one to be honored, teacher," from guru- "venerable, worthy of honor," literally "heavy, weighty," from PIE root *gwere- (2) "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). see translation

Mantra bajaan ; Ek Onkar Sat Nam

This is the principal mantra from Baba Virsah Singh to his followers.


One God whose name is truth , unspeakably wonderful Master of both light and darkness.  

See for more.

Music, tabla and harmonium by Gerard Menzel

The fire is called a 'haven' where the mantras and prayers are sung and recited by. The haven or agni in yoga is the sacred place of Lord Shiva place of (life and death smarshan) hence smarshan ghat ; a place on the Ganves R. where lord shivas sacred burning pyre is.  This represents the transformational process of life death and creation. See my other bajaans on Shiva.

This mantra used daily throughout your life will make ones soul peaceful.