Chapter 2 The Spirit of Kirtan
Kirtan--Greatest Blessing for Mankind
This Sankirtan movement is the prime
humanity at large.--Shikshastaka
It's Too Simple
For those of us who are not very advanced in
understanding, which is true of practically everyone in this age,
chanting Hare Krishna is the simplest process for elevating our present
consciousness. One may not
understand the words of the mantra, but if one is attracted to
Kirtan and loudly chants the holy name of the Lord, his consciousness
will become purified, and he can understand everything without any
extraneous endeavour. Chanting the holy name purifies the heart, the
mind and ultimately our entire existence, so much so that if we do
nothing but chant Hare Krishna, we will become perfect.
Kirtan is the simple secret of making life perfect, of
the door to all knowledge and joy, just as if we know the right credit
card number, we can telephone anywhere in the world. If we don't know
the number, we
cannot call anywhere. Krishna's holy name is the formula for communion
If one has taken shelter of Krishna's name, then he
disturbed by anything. No other experience, no other influence can
enter, just as when a person is in love, nothing disturbs him. He is
totally infatuated. Although everything may go wrong, if you ask him,
he will say, "No, everything is
great." If we come to the platform of love of Krishna, nothing will
disturb us. Although we may be in the most disturbing situation, we
will be indifferent to it. We will understand that everything is
Krishna's grace, Krishna's arrangement, Krishna's blessing and
Avoiding the Truth
Krishna is a person. This is the point which
separates us from
modern religious communities. Others say "God," "the One," "the Light,"
"the Truth," or "the Way." They never say God's name. They don't want
say "Krishna." They don't want to bow down to God. They are tactfully
God. But to one who actually worships God, it is obvious that these
are not really God conscious.
They are only self-conscious. They have made God
fashion. They say, "Yes, yes, I believe in God. I believe in
reincarnation. I'm a vegetarian." They talk of good vibrations and
pure, absolute truth, but they don't talk of Krishna. They won't chant
Hare Krishna, and if they do, then they take that chanting as some
ritual, an exercise. "Mantra meditation," they call it. They do some
breathing exercise and just chant Hare Krishna by the way. All this is
avoiding the real point: that God is a person and His name is Krishna.
Someone will ask, "If the name of Krishna is so
powerful, why have
chanted and yet nothing has happened?" If you chant and nothing
means the field in which the seed of the holy name is sown is not very
just as if you sow a seed in the rocks or sand, nothing happens. As
souls, the field of our existence is not very good. It is very
very fallen. We have no pious activity and no knowledge. But still, the
is there, and we have to make the best of a bad bargain. Determination
patience are required.
Whatever other spiritual communities are doing is
only a dim
reflection of Kirtan. Devotees went to one so-called spiritual
community in Oregon. Pseudo spiritualists formed a big circle, held
hands and chanted some mundane sounds. This is a perverted reflection
of Kirtan. These people are very far removed from the real Kirtan. In
some Christian communities, they sing and pray, and in some places they
hold seances. But the centre of the Kirtan must
be Krishna--Krishna Kirtan. One cannot make any spiritual advancement
some love and peace Kirtan, healing Kirtan, ghostly Kirtan, football
or baseball Kirtan.
Other pseudo spiritual groups get together and try to
souls. Lacking real direction, they release their sensual
impulses--they scream, have sex and eat voraciously. Being misdirected,
they simply indulge in the gross, sensual, material pleasure.
But the idea springs from that impulse to surrender
one's self to
Krishna. Of course, real Kirtan must be directed to Krishna. The
expression of freedom without restriction should be exhibited only in
relation to God; otherwise it is a perversion.
Kirtan is the only hope for liberation in this age.
practices present romantic, fashionable notions about God. There is so
much talk of God today. So many books are on the market about God.
Everywhere we find people capitalising on God. But we have to first
surrender to God, and the beginning of surrender is to enter into this
Kirtan, to chant and dance to the holy names of God.
It is useless to talk of peace and disarmament,
reincarnation, God, Jesus or Buddha. Talk is only a waste of time. If
you cannot surrender to God, if you cannot even chant or sing out the
name of God and dance in ecstasy, then all this talk is useless.
There are so many sociological and political movements,
such as the
Nuke movement, the Gay movement and the Communist movement. Unless we
recognise the root cause of all our problems, that we have become
godless, then all this clamouring for peace and love will not do any
good. Sociology and politics will not bring lasting peace.
Kirtan doesn't cost anything, and it is not illegal.
Try it. Have
Kirtan and see what happens. We have tried everything else. We have
tried the United Nations. We've tried the space programme---they sent
some ants in a shuttle up to space. Such useless programmes cost
taxpayers millions of dollars. Why not chant Hare Krishna? What have
you go to lose?
Krishna consciousness is not a new concept. It is
knowledge of Krishna is already within our heart. Krishna consciousness
is a process of uncovering what is already there. Gold is in the
but we require some process to uncover it and separate it from the
portion. Similarly, we have to uncover our original God consciousness
performing Kirtan. We are by nature God conscious and everlastingly the
servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. We have
lost this relationship.
As long as we remain in ignorance of Krishna or
Krishna, we can never be happy or joyful in life, no matter how much we
may struggle and adjust things by science, technology, economics,
politics, art, music or any other endeavour. No one can be happy
separated from God. If someone claims happiness, then he must be in
The simplest spiritual process anyone can take up in
of life--whether he is rich or poor, communist or capitalist, black man
or white man--anyone, anywhere, anytime, can sing and dance to the holy
name of Krishna: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare
Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare
Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If we chant and avoid the four
sinful life (meat eating, intoxication, illicit sex and gambling), we
understand who God is, what our relationship is to God and in the end
will go back home, back to Godhead.
What is in My Best
Bhagavad-gita says [Arjuna speaking to
The whole world becomes joyful hearing Your
becomes attached to You.--Bhagavad-gita
Even if someone has no interest in Krishna
he chants Hare Krishna and hears the Kirtan, he must take interest.
Chanting Hare Krishna is irresistible. When Kirtan is performed in
public, it is compared to a farmer sowing his seeds. Through the
Kirtan, devotees sow the seeds
of love of God. Whoever hears Kirtan is getting the opportunity for
spiritual life. People may hear the Kirtan only once, but Kirtan is so
potent it will take effect on them.
Only Kirtan can extinguish the blazing fire of material
In order to get out of the cycle of birth and death, one must get some
benediction or blessing. He must be favoured by the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, Krishna. When a criminal is arrested and confined to the
penitentiary, his life becomes very painful and unfortunate. But if he
gets some benediction from the governor, he may be relieved by pardon
or parole. The Sankirtan movement is the greatest blessing, the
greatest fortune that a human being can receive--it is the
benediction of God, because simply by performing Krishna Kirtan, one
attain eternal life.
People are ignorantly searching after some benediction
the Sankirtan movement. They go to the temple or the church and pray to
God, "Give me material prosperity, more money, fame, better health or a
better life." They are praying for something which is actually to their
disadvantage. In ignorance, they are praying for more entanglement in
material existence. The more one aspires for material benefits, the
longer one must continue
to rotate in the cycle of birth and death.
An Open Invitation
Our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, came to the
introduce Kirtan. Srila Prabhupada published more than 160 books to
importance of performing Kirtan. His mission was to elevate the world
the point of chanting the holy name of Krishna.
The Sankirtan movement is like a big ship which is
making its way
across the ocean of birth and death. If we fall off this ship, we are
certain to drown. As long as we are stuck in the material world, we
must keep Kirtan prominent in our life, under all circumstances. If we
take shelter of the Kirtan, whatever happens will not affect us. Kirtan
is so powerful that it can completely purify the whole universe, what
to speak of this world.
The sole purpose of this Sankirtan movement is to
the seeds of love of Krishna to everyone, everywhere. It is not a
private club or another "ism." It is an open secret: "Everyone take
Kirtan, everyone take the seed of love of God."
One should not try to discriminate on the basis of
whether a person
is smart, stupid, nice or if he likes or dislikes us. This is not to be
imposed while chanting, preaching or distributing prasadam (sanctified
food). Everyone should be welcomed. The body may be obnoxious, or the
mental and psychic
make-up may be unpleasant, but we are not dealing with the body or
we are dealing with the soul. We cannot force anyone to be happy, but
can offer the opportunity: "Chant and be happy."
To be born in this material atmosphere is the greatest
Therefore Krishna and the spiritual master are doing the highest
welfare work in the shape of Kirtan--"Quick! Take Kirtan and get
relief! Become joyful even now, even in this lifetime. At the end of
this life, go back home, back to Godhead, where life is eternal, full
of knowledge and full of bliss."