Kirtan: Ancient Medicine for Modern Man
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das

Kirtan: Ancient Medicine for Modern Man

By Hansadutta das

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Chapter 3 Performing Kirtan (Cont'd.)

Kirtan--Where Thinking Stops

It is the life of all transcendental knowledge.--Shikshastaka

Anything Goes
Even if we don't have a drum or cymbals, even if we have nothing, we can perform Kirtan with our tongue. We can simply chant and clap our hands. In New York, during the early days when Srila Prabhupada first came to America, Prabhupada had only one or two pairs of cymbals, and there was no drum. There were no instruments. People would come to Kirtan with spoons, bass drums, trumpets and flutes. One guy brought an old piano--it wasn't standing. It was just the guts, the strings. Everything can be engaged in Kirtan.

One time a girl came to Kirtan and started gyrating. One devotee was going to grab her and throw her out, but Prabhupada said, "No, she is dancing in ecstasy." Prabhupada knew that after some time all her superfluous action would go away. One gets tired of artificially dancing, because it is exhibitionist. As Kirtan purifies the heart, one dances spontaneously and joyfully, without sophistication, without any practice. Surrender to the Kirtan, and Krishna will take over.

Genuine Renunciation
Everything should be used for Kirtan. We can take our entire family on Sankirtan. Vehicles can be used for Kirtan, telephones can be used to call persons for Kirtan.

When Krishna takes everything away, Kirtan remains. Kirtan must be the central pivot of our life. Start with one hour of Kirtan daily. One hour a day is not too much. Because Kirtan is ever expanding, from one hour it will grow to two, three, four, five. Kirtan should be expanded to twenty-four hours a day. There will come a point when we want to do nothing else but have Kirtan, because we see that we have actually become joyful. We'll see that we have no more problems.

Capture Krishna
During Kirtan, thinking stops. One simply chants and hears, and once thinking is stopped, Krishna will reveal Himself. Krishna cannot be captured by thinking. We cannot compress Krishna into our tiny brain. But Krishna can reveal Himself within our heart. One can only capture Krishna by chanting. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita:

I am in them, and they are in Me. For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost to him, nor is he ever lost to Me.--Bhagavad-gita 6.30

As long as we chant, we are in Krishna, and Krishna is there in us. There is nothing to think about. Krishna is all knowledge, all bliss and eternal life. Whatever one needs to know, if he chants Hare Krishna, the knowledge is imparted to him.

Devotees don't have to stockpile a head full of facts and figure like college students cramming for an exam. Students have to remember so many useless numbers and superfluous data. One who is expert at memorising irrelevant facts and figures is classified as materially intelligent. My experience is that such people have little common sense and are most foolish persons. Those who avoid filling their brains with mundane, irrelevant facts are the intelligent people. If they happen to come in touch with Kirtan, they can easily accept it. But for sophisticated, high-calibre thinking persons, Kirtan is too simple. It doesn't fit into their complex brains, and therefore they cannot perform it. Thus they miss the opportunity of reviving their spiritual life.

False Ego--Our Real Handicap
One cannot sing and dance in the Kirtan by imitating or being sophisticated. One must be simple. Then only will we experience bliss, happiness and abandon our false ego, our false bliss. Then suddenly, one discovers this very extraordinary, joyful happiness and finds himself singing and dancing. He becomes indifferent to all social considerations--"Is my wife watching? What are the people thinking about me?" This is the false ego dictating, "This is crazy, don't do this. Don't chant Hare Krishna. What will my girl friend think?" False ego is maya, illusion. False ego means identifying with the body and the mind. Maya is standing still when everyone is singing and dancing.

A young man will be watching the Kirtan with his girl friend, and she is watching him. He wants to enter into the Kirtan, because he is witnessing a blissful exhibition of Krishna consciousness, and he is being drawn into it, but his girl friend is looking, and he is afraid of her reaction. He thinks, "I won't get any bliss if I perform this strange singing and dancing." Bliss for him means sex tonight. "She won't speak with me. She'll think I'm not very sophisticated and hip." Although the poor fellow is right next to the Kirtan, he is not receiving any bliss. Watching Kirtan without participating is like licking the outside of a bottle of honey--no taste.

Those souls are fortunate who enter into the Kirtan and abandon all material considerations. Once having entered into the Kirtan, those persons will never again derive any satisfaction in any other thing, because they will never forget the happiness they experience during Kirtan. Nothing can be compared to the ecstasy of Kirtan, because Kirtan is real, not illusory. Kirtan, singing and dancing to the holy names of God, is a genuine sentiment, because it is based on communication with Krishna.--END

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Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

©2004 - Hansadutta das
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