Devotional Singing:
"The Focus Is On The Divine"

Antonina Randazzo


Antonina Randazzo has been a devotee since 1977. Her principal service has been sacred music. She has studied North Indian Classical music with Maestro Ali Akbar Khan in San Rafael, California, and with Nivedita Sen, from the Allahabad University in India.

Antonina Randazzo The first time I sang solo for Avatar Adi Da was on Naitauba Island in Fiji in 1985. It was during a period of time when Adi Da's Work included many occasions where He would gather together with His devotees for extended periods of instruction, conversation, and enjoyment of dance and music. These occasions were full of love and humor and would last for hours. It was a setting where we could speak and ask Him questions. After some period of time in the evening, we would listen to opera and other music and we would all sing together ecstatically.

One night, He invited me to sing for Him. I had written a song called Lost in Love that expressed my love and devotion to Him as His devotee. There were about thirty devotees in the room. As I stood up I felt uncharacteristically nervous and self-conscious and my voice was "small", constricted, and coming from my head. Adi Da was seated before me smiling and giving me His full attention. He could see that I was nervous.

Adi Da gracefully began to wave His arms in the air like an encouraging conductor and started to sing with me even though He had never heard this song before. Then He placed His hands on His heart, then His chest, and then on His belly. As he did so, I could feel Him instructing me to sing from the heart, from my navel, and all the way down to my toes. My entire body began to open and before I knew what happened, I was being sung. A great relaxation was occurring. I no longer felt concerned and fearful. I felt sheer joy. There was no longer an obstruction in the throat or chest or navel. There was a wide-open channel of song flowing out of me effortlessly and I felt bathed in His Love. I had never sung like this before. What I was singing about actually was physically demonstrated to me — I became "lost in love".

This was remarkable! Not only was it the most potent voice lesson I had ever had, but Adi Da also perfectly communicated the essence of His teaching to me — the choice to turn in on myself and feel shut down, contracted, as a separate self, like a clenched fist — or to be like an open hand and drawn beyond self into the ecstasy of Divine Love-Bliss and communion with Him. I was weeping with happiness at this revelation and I have never forgotten this lesson. At the end of the song everyone was clapping and cheering, and Adi Da exclaimed, "Bravo! Bravo!"

As you can imagine, after such an evening, I could feel the longing to repeat this incredible experience. I was on retreat for a month so there were many more evenings of such occasions with Bhagavan Adi Da. I felt the desire to sing to Him again and again. But an interesting lesson was shown to me. If I volunteered to sing, I could feel the search to "perform" and be the center of attention and Adi Da obviously felt it. So when I asked and was in that state, He would tell me to just sit down. The time was not right and that was immediately reflected back to me. I'd let it go and forget about singing and just participate by bringing my energy to the occasion in other ways. When I would least expect it, and my attention was fully given over to Him in love, then He would invite me up to sing. Night after night I would be given this lesson. Each time my heart would be broken in love. He would give me the sweetest regard and fully receive my devotion.

Over the years, musical occasions with Bhagavan Adi Da became what He referred to as "Sacred Offerings". Musicians were there to make an offering to Him that serves everyone's participation in the fact that He is there granting His Sublime Darshan. It creates occasion for people to give Him their attention. The attention was not on the musicians, we would be there simply to serve the occasion by providing contemplative music. I remember one occasion in 2004 in Samraj Mahal, an exquisite Temple on the island of Naitauba. It is a beautiful open-air Pavilion overlooking the ocean. Tropical breezes waft through the environment and it is wholly conducive and pleasurable to sit in such a pristine setting. This particular evening a lounge-type chair was set up for Bhagavan that allowed Him to sit either cross-legged in His accustomed manner, or to extend His legs and feet out down the length of the chair.

I was particularly appreciative of this change in His chair, as from where I was sitting, and with the chair angled off center a bit, His hands and feet would point directly at me. We sat to the side, but only about five feet away from Him. For a time he did sit cross-legged, but when He unfolded his legs, I felt a Transmission flowing from His Feet that was almost too much to conduct at times.[1] I felt His Divine Touch Infusing my entire being. It rested me in deep contemplation, and the music poured out of me from a much deeper place. It was that feeling again of having my throat and the entire frontal line wide open, and He drew everything out of me effortlessly.

I once talked to Him about what happens when I sing for Him and how I lose my mind, the body opens up to Him, and the voice just comes out. I don't even know where it comes from sometimes. His response was very sweet. He said:


It's a phenomenon to allow yourself to be lost in communion like that. Your mind actually is participating in Me and, yes, your mind is going through changes and it does have something to do with your mind. That's part of the means and that is the instrument to actually lose yourself in participating with Me in that way.

The sacred art of music has become my main form of service to Avatar Adi Da over these last thirty-two years. He has given hours of instruction on the true meaning of sacred art, where one is transformed and enters into communion with the Divine. He spoke about the need for the Sacred Domain, a place that is set apart for sacred activities, meditation, worship and chant, a holy place, a temple where we can contemplate, free of the need to interact socially. The occasions that I described earlier are examples of that Sacred Domain. An artist or musician in that circumstance serves the sacred occasion through music, not through drawing attention to him/herself. As Adi Da once instructed us:


In a secular situation, the focus is on the performance and on the ego. In the sacred situation, the focus is on the Divine, on the Realizer. The Realizer or the Divine is the subject of devotion. Therefore, this requires self-transcendence, not self-presentation. This is the most difficult aspect of the art to learn and it requires maturing in the process. These offerings are participatory occasions in devotion to Me. Part of the training is to be able to perform in these sacred occasions and this requires great skill in order to provoke participation on the part of everyone. These occasions are not just for the person making the devotional offering to express his or her own devotion.


Over the years, Bhagavan Adi Da has invited countless musicians to come and offer music at His Feet. His reception of music is always a joy to behold.


Antonina Randazzo


Antonina has released three albums of devotional music:

Fall Into My Heart Fall Into My Heart (2013)
listen to/buy tracks; buy CD.
   
Now and Forever Hereafter
Now and Forever Hereafter (2010)
listen to/buy tracks
; buy CD.
   
Come To Me Come To Me (2008)
listen to/buy tracks
; buy CD.



This article appears in two sections:

the Crazy Wisdom section and the Adidam and Music section


FOOTNOTES

[1] For more stories about the Spiritual Transmission that flows from Adi Da's feet, click here.


Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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