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 2 The Spirit of Kirtan (Cont'd.)

Kirtan--Greatest Blessing for Mankind

This Sankirtan movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large.--Shikshastaka

It's Too Simple
For those of us who are not very advanced in philosophical 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 the 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 unlocking 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 with Him.

If one has taken shelter of Krishna's name, then he cannot be 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 Krishna's desire.

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 to say "Krishna." They don't want to bow down to God. They are tactfully avoiding God. But to one who actually worships God, it is obvious that these persons are not really God conscious.

They are only self-conscious. They have made God consciousness a 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 I chanted and yet nothing has happened?" If you chant and nothing happens, this means the field in which the seed of the holy name is sown is not very fertile, just as if you sow a seed in the rocks or sand, nothing happens. As conditioned souls, the field of our existence is not very good. It is very contaminated, very fallen. We have no pious activity and no knowledge. But still, the seed is there, and we have to make the best of a bad bargain. Determination and patience are required.

Bogus Spiritualists
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 through some love and peace Kirtan, healing Kirtan, ghostly Kirtan, football Kirtan or baseball Kirtan.

Other pseudo spiritual groups get together and try to bare their 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. Other spiritual 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, vegetarianism, 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?

Self Discovery
Krishna consciousness is not a new concept. It is eternal. The knowledge of Krishna is already within our heart. Krishna consciousness is a process of uncovering what is already there. Gold is in the ground, but we require some process to uncover it and separate it from the unwanted portion. Similarly, we have to uncover our original God consciousness by performing Kirtan. We are by nature God conscious and everlastingly the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. We have unfortunately lost this relationship.

As long as we remain in ignorance of Krishna or separated from 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 ignorance.

The simplest spiritual process anyone can take up in any position 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 activities of sinful life (meat eating, intoxication, illicit sex and gambling), we will understand who God is, what our relationship is to God and in the end we will go back home, back to Godhead.

What is in My Best Interest?
Bhagavad-gita says [Arjuna speaking to Krishna]:

The whole world becomes joyful hearing Your name. Everyone becomes attached to You.--Bhagavad-gita

Even if someone has no interest in Krishna consciousness, if 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 existence. 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 can attain eternal life.

People are ignorantly searching after some benediction other than 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 West to introduce Kirtan. Srila Prabhupada published more than 160 books to elaborate the importance of performing Kirtan. His mission was to elevate the world to 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 freely distribute 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 mind; we are dealing with the soul. We cannot force anyone to be happy, but we can offer the opportunity: "Chant and be happy."

To be born in this material atmosphere is the greatest misfortune. 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."

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

©2004 - Hansadutta das
Chaitanya MahaprabhuChaitanya Mahaprabhu

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