The Spirit of Kirtan
Kirtan--Universal and Transcendental
There are no hard and fast rules for chanting
these names.-- Shikshastaka
Call for Help
Every living entity in this material world is
always full of
fear and anxiety, because he is absorbed in the material energy. He is
especially absorbed in this material body. The bodily concept is the
source of all
fears, doubts, anxieties and stress. There are so many treatments
to counteract stress, anxiety, disease and insanity. So many solutions
so many problems are being offered to people today. However, none of
problems can be solved by any of the multifarious solutions, because
problems are spiritual, not material. Our problem is that we have
godless. We have forgotten to chant the Lord's holy name--not
but as a genuine call for help.
Matter is only an expansion of a higher force. It is
by-product of the spirit. We have to find the solution to our material
problems not in material arrangements, but in a spiritual adjustment.
adjustment is made in Kirtan.
All religious communities originally practiced some
Kirtan. The prophets of the Old Testament were the spiritual masters of
Biblical times, and through them came instructions for conducting
in a progressive way. We find Kirtan everywhere in the Bible.
From the rising of the sun unto the
going down of
the same, the Lord's name is to be praised.--Psalms 113:3
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord
saved. --Acts 2:21
The early Christians practiced Kirtan. Before their meetings they would
sing and in this way purify their hearts as well as the atmosphere.
Then a holy spirit would descend, and certain persons would become
vehicles of expression for such holy spirits. Not only Christians, but
Jews, Muslims, Hindus and all other religious groups originally
Allah, who does not fit into heavens or
fits into the hearts of men. The process used to clean the heart is
dhikrullah (chanting the names of Allah). Dhikr is a key to the secrets
of life. --Ninety-nine Names of Allah
Praise God in His temple on earth,
In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, there is no
no other way, no other way to attain God consciousness than to chant
holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of the Lord.
Praise Him in His temple in heaven,
Praise Him for His mighty achievements,
Praise Him with blasts of the trumpet,
Praise Him with lyre and harp,
Praise Him with drums and dancing,
Praise Him with strings and reeds,
Praise Him with clashing cymbals,
Praise Him with clanging cymbals,
Let everything that breathes praise Yahweh!
--Jewish Old Testament
One must learn to call upon the name of God,
than breathing--at all times, in all places, in every kind of
occupation. --Eastern Orthodox Philokalia
Unfortunately, Christians, as well as practically all other once-strong
spiritual communities have lost the real meaning behind the singing of
hymns and chanting of prayers. They have minimised Kirtan. They
ritualistically attend church and ritualistically sing songs. Their
spiritual life has
become ritualistic, like reading the morning newspaper. Hymns and
are not recited with the ecstasy with which they were written. Hymns
prayers have lost their import for them.
It is the spirit and the consciousness in which we
that makes the difference. Spirit means consciousness. Where there is
spirit, there must be consciousness. Our consciousness should be
Kirtan is not ritualistic. It is the soul's awakening
with God--the song and dance of the soul. There are no rules or
for Kirtan. One can dance in any way one likes, one can sing God's
to any tune, one can dress any way one likes, one can perform Kirtan
Kirtan is universal and transcendental, and it should be re-established
world-wide, because Kirtan is the only means to counteract the fear,
anxiety and illusion of this age.
Primitive societies also utilise the principle of
in societies where they have no clear conception of God, there is some
kind of get-together in which congregation members appeal to spirits
music. Some societies worship lower spirits and appeal to them through
For example, in places like Fiji, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, people become
possessed by lower spirits. Spirits speak through them, and they are
to perform extraordinary mystical acts like walking on fire or putting
in their backs and swords through their tongues and cheeks without
Kirtan, in its broadest sense, is the process of
appealing by sound
vibration to the spirits beyond. Devotees appeal to the Supreme Spirit,
Krishna, and materialists appeal to the dead or to the demons; but the
principle of Kirtan is the same. The difference between the
materialist's Kirtan and the devotee's Kirtan is the object of the
Kirtan. The object of the devotee's Kirtan is Krishna, while the object
of the materialist's Kirtan is some mundane object or person.
Kirtan is also exhibited in a perverted way in the
soldiers march, one man calls out the cadence. Football rallies,
baseball games and soccer matches are all forms of Kirtan. When someone
hits the ball, the fans all jump up and cheer. Rock festivals are also
a perverted form of Kirtan. Many people assemble with great enthusiasm,
even though the Kirtan leader, the rock star, may be a demon. The
godless gather together to focus their energy on the person who is the
most godless, who has the most audacity, and thus they are drawn into a
whirlpool of illusion and godlessness.
In Mexico and Spain, people worship the matador, the
Actually, they don't really worship him; they want to see him get
killed. Spectators at the bullfight jump and yell, hoping to see the
matador get killed. In auto racing, spectators like to see the driver
get killed. When cars pile up, people shout, "It was great! You should
be been there! Five men got killed!" The materialists want to see
people suffer and die.
Everything rests on sound vibration. Devotees are
name of the Supreme Spirit, and materialists are vibrating the names
and qualities of evil, demoniac spirits. Presently, the world is
demoniac sound vibrations being broadcast through radio, television,
tapes, books and videos. This demoniac, godless vibration is
flourishing everywhere, and imperceptibly, people are being polluted.
We are Haunted
There are gross sounds which vibrate through radio
television. Besides these, there are also subtle sounds or spirits
which are unseen
and also vibrate. We cannot see these spirits, but they are vibrating.
Subtle sounds travel through the ether, through incarnate spirits and
thoughts. People are thinking, and their thoughts are vibrating
in the ether. All these vibrations are perverted reflections of the
principle of Kirtan.
Chanting Hare Krishna is the most important activity in
because it protects one from the influence of both gross and subtle
spirits. One should make Kirtan the root, the very essence and basis of
life. Otherwise, imperceptibly, we will be bewildered, deluded and
diverted from the original purpose of life: to become God conscious.
Unless we are firmly established in the original principle of
glorifying and serving God, we will eventually fall into the service of
those spirits who are against God. Their powerful, subtle influences
will overwhelm us.
The entire creation is nothing but spirit in different
evolution. Even rocks are spirits trapped in a lower form of life. The
trees, the sun, the moon, the stars, the air and the water are all
spirits. Unless we keep the Supreme Spirit, Krishna, always in the
foreground of our consciousness, we will be diverted by other spirits.
The Lord's Appearance
The material world is inhabited by the lower
spirits, or spirit
souls who have rejected Krishna. It is a godless society. Krishna
Himself came to this planet as Lord Chaitanya 500 years ago to
propagate this Sankirtan movement. Krishna says:
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in
practice and a predominant rise of irreligion, at that time I descend
Myself. In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants,
as well as to re-establish the principles of religion, I advent Myself
millennium after millennium.--Bhagavad-gita 4.7-8
Lord Chaitanya demonstrated how one can be
this godless atmosphere by chanting the holy name of Krishna. This
Krishna Kirtan is the most powerful force in the world today. In the
Lord Chaitanya, Krishna's devotees have undertaken the mission to
the Sankirtan movement to every town and village.
Presently we are travelling world-wide and introducing
Kirtan. We want everyone to experience Krishna Kirtan. Now people
experience the Kirtan of a football game, a baseball game or a
concert--the congregation of many people shouting, cheering and
singing. These mundane Kirtans are only for the body or mind, and
because they are material, their pleasure
is temporary and frustrating.
Kirtan in Every Sphere
Real Kirtan means to glorify Krishna, God. To chant
name of God with drums, cymbals and other instruments is called
Sankirtan. But the broader, more mature understanding is that anything
done in the association of others who glorify God is Sankirtan. A
doctor, a lawyer or even a businessman can be engaged in Sankirtan.
Sankirtan may be digging a well, building a
cottage, weeding a garden, earning money or begetting a child. Anyone,
any sphere of activity, can participate in Sankirtan. That is the real
of the Sankirtan movement.
Do Everything with
We cannot simply chant all day, but neither can we
day. All work and no pray and all pray and no work are both
undesirable. We cannot just sit and chant Hare Krishna. If some rare
individual can, that's good, but we haven't found anyone who can.
Therefore, everything should be done with feeling for Krishna, whether
it's working in the field, cooking in the kitchen, shopping or chanting
God is not concerned with how much you give or how much
you do for Him. He cares how much you keep, how much you do not do.
does not need service, but we need to serve Krishna, because that is
natural and eternal function. The natural function of the finger is to
service to the whole body. If the finger is separated from the body,
body will go on, but the finger alone has no value. A finger separated
the body is useless. When we work for Krishna, our activities become
Otherwise, the tendency is to become attached to the result or fruit of
work. When Krishna is firmly established in our heart through the holy
then our activities and the result of our activities become clear.
In this spirit, whatever you do as work--as long as it
connected with eating meat, fish or eggs, taking intoxicants, illicit
sex or gambling--can be considered Kirtan, glorification of God.
Broadly speaking, everything done in Krishna's service constitutes