Through his discourses, Sathya Sai Baba has provided guidance on how group devotional singing sessions should be conducted.

Sing familiar bhajans, so that all can share in the bliss (Ananda)

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 37

Pay attention to the tune, the meaning, the variety, the voice, the raga, the tune and the beat and other fine points of the bhajans. If your voice is not pleasant or sweet, keep quiet; that is the best service you can do.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 37

Do not cause discontent, discord and disharmony, insisting on singing, because you are an office-bearer, or something! The bhajans must be sweet to the ear, arousing pictures of the glory and grandeur of Godhead, in the mind of the singers and listeners; they must refer to various Names and Forms of God, so that the bhajan Sessions might fill everyone with ecstasy.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 37

You cannot insist that in the group devotional singing only songs on Sathya Sai should be sung! Fanaticism of that kind I very much dislike and condemn. For, all names and all forms denote Me only! You betray your ignorance of My truth when you stick to any one of My names and avoid the rest.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 35

You must sing the names aloud, full-throated, as far as the voice can reach. Only then the Divine will respond in full measure and shower His grace. No one will go to the rescue of a drowning man if his cries are feeble. Only when he cries aloud at the top of his voice will the cries be heard and people will rush to save him.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 25 Ch. 8

In whatever you do, either studies, or games, or singing or in the jobs you may take up, see that you invest them with sacredness and purity. In the songs you sing, if there is no joy for the listener, what is the use of your singing?

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 1

Group devotional singing calls for whole-hearted, soulful singing, which moves the hearts of the listeners. Bhajans should not be a routine ritual. You must put your heart and soul into the singing.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 10

When you recite the names thousands of devotees are listening. You must chant names which are familiar to all of them. You should not expect people to follow whatever you sing. You should see that they can easily respond to your song. The names you chant should be short and sweet. If you use big words and complicated terms, the devotees will not be able to follow you.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 10

In your group devotional singing (bhajans) use short names like Rama, Krishna, Allah, Yesu and so on. Then all would be able to follow you with ease. If you use high-sounding words, few can follow you.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 10

There is no use in singing bhajans if the singers’ hearts are filled with jealousy and hatred.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 10

When participating in group devotional singing (bhajans), you should enjoy the singing and share that joy with others. Do not be indifferent to the reactions of others to your singing. Leaders in group devotional singing (bhajans) should realize that many overseas devotees are deeply interested in bhajans and are eager to take part in them. The bhajans should be simple and easy for them to follow.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 10

Melodious music can move the Lord and move all the participants. Melodious music will move the Lord Himself. Hence, when you take part in bhajans sing with all your heart and soul. You must sing with such love for the Divine that you forger yourself. When you sing the praise of God with a pure heart, you will purify your environment, your country and the world.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 30 Ch. 10

Let those with a good voice and musical talent lead; the keertan (singing the name of God) must be pleasant, it should not jar on the ear. If your voice is grating or out of tune, do not disturb the melody, but, repeat the namavali (song reciting the name of God) in your mind.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 9 Ch. 34

Do not monopolize the time in bhajan, by singing one song for six or ten minutes, repeating the same line often. Repeat each line twice and no more. Have only two speeds: one slow and the other fast. In this way, you can have in the hour of bhajan, more songs on more Forms, more tunes and more variety, giving more people the chance.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 3

When a naamaavali (song reciting the name of God) extols Shiva, the next one will have to be on Krishna, the next on Rama and so on. A person whose favorite form is Rama or Shiva will feel neglected if out of inadvertence, you stick to only one form. Let the atmosphere of bhajan be free from competitive conceit and fanaticism, That is My advice.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 3

Some persons attending bhajans do not move their lips at all. They may say that they are singing the songs mentally within themselves. This is not proper. If you have devotional feeling, it should be expressed by the tongue joining in the bhajan. Only then can it be called singing in unison with others. You must sing the names aloud, full-throated, as far as the voice can reach. Only then the Divine will respond in full measure and shower His grace. No one will go to the rescue of a drowning man if his cries are feeble. Only when he cries aloud at the top of his voice will the cries be heard and people will rush to save him.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 25 Ch. 8

Together with melody and rhythm, you have to impart feeling to your singing to make the bhajan a sacred offering to the Divine. A tune (ragam) without feeling is an infliction (rogam). Giving up conceit and exhibitionism, you must sing the bhajans in a spirit of humility and devotion. That is the right way to perform bhajans.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 24 Ch. 4

Bhajan must be a felt experience. Do not sing with one eye on the song that makes the effect on the listeners, and the other, on the effect it makes on God. Let your heart pant for God; then, the musical tune (raga) and musical beat (thala) will automatically be pleasant and correct.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11 Ch. 32

Bhajans have to be sung and offered to God in an attitude of utter humility; they are not to be taken as exercises in an exhibition of talents or as competitions for mastery of musical skill. They have to please the Lord, not your fans.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 12 Ch. 54

I find that when any new-devotee sings, others leave him alone and do not sing lines after him! They ignore him and insult him in this manner. But, when one of themselves, one of the usual group leads with a song, they join enthusiastically. This kind of group politics has no place among Sai devotees and cannot be tolerated in Sai Bhajan groups.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 12 Ch. 54

Have bhajans (group singing of devotional songs) on as many days as you can, in your village or area. Have them in places where all can come and join, and not in the homes of some people, for in homes not all may be welcome.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 8 Ch. 21

Have them (group devotional singing sessions) as simple as you can, without competitive pomp or show; reduce expenses to a minimum, for God cares for the inner yearning and not the outer trappings.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 8 Ch. 21

Bhajans are best held on Thursday evenings and Sunday evenings—but, that is no unbreakable rule, for it is not the day of the week that counts. It is the heart that must be ready and eager to imbibe the joy and share it. As a matter of fact, bhajan is a constant exercise, it has to be as essential as breathing. Group bhajans must be arranged to suit the convenience of the locality and the people.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 8 Ch. 21