Welcome to July 2017 Kirtan Newsletter.
During Kirtan Mela this year, there were requests from our authorities to tighten up guidelines of conduct and practice in our kirtan to avoid the development of a kirtan culture that would not be pleasing to Srila Prabhupada. as a direct result, Kirtan academy took on the challenge of trying to reach many within India with informational seminars on kirtan standards and at the same time introduced the Kirtan Village.
Read about it in this newsletter.
“Kirtan is essential in this age.”
I have not taught you anything magic. I simply request you, “Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra sixteen times, please.” But you… We are not even following that. This is the only remedy. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ (SB 11.5.32). (read more)
So Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Īśvara. He’s teaching us this yajña. He’s giving us the hint. Yajñād bhavati parjanyaḥ (BG 3.14). If you do not accept this Movement, then you’ll go on suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering. If you don’t accept this principle, then your future is simply suffering.
kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ
manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ
This is the symptoms of Kali-yuga. Manda-bhāgyāḥ, all unfortunate. All unfortunate. Everyone must suffer. This is the position. But if you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, perform the yajña… Because this is the instruction by the Supreme Person. Puruṣaṁ tvā ādyam. Ādyaṁ puruṣam, the original person. The origin of everything, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1), the Supreme Person, from whom everything has come down. That is the order. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us that harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam (CC Adi 17.21). We are certainly in difficult position, but the only remedy is that we must chant the holy name of the Lord repeatedly. And that will solve all the problems. You preach this cult all over the world.
One cannot execute any process of self-realization or perfection of life other than kirtan. Kirtan is essential in this age. (Mayapur, September 28, 1974)
Kirtan Village is the first world wide Kirtan Retreat Centre. The project spreads over 3.4 acres in a serene setting within 10 minutes from the Mayapur Chandradoya Mandir.
The facility will serve as a centre for Healing our material conditioning through Kirtan. It will also be a “chanting hospital”, a place where we can heal ineffective or offensive practices in our chanting through education and association. There are plans for many different seminars of different length to accommodate visitors’ schedules and availability, both for tattva, chanting immersion and music tuitions.
There are three areas being developed, residential area for students and staff, two different meditative areas reminiscent of Gaura Lila and Krishna Lila to trigger remembrances and invite Gauranga Mahaprabhu and our sampradaya to take over our minds while we endeavour to chant better, and open mandaps or gazebos of different sizes for hosting classes and musical practice areas.
We are building several small self contained cottages, accommodating around 100 students onsite at a time. We are convinced that immersion in study and chanting is most effective. Some teachers and staff will also reside there.
We are hoping to start construction of phase one this coming fall. Phase One includes residential facilities for 20 students and 2 teachers, open air classroom/prasadam hall combination, communal kitchen and more.
The illustration above shows the proposed centre of the village, the Haridas Thakur Square.
CALL FOR HELP
We have created a plan so that everyone of you can assist us. Simply become a member of the foundation. Memberships available from $10
(Rs 500) to $100 per month or anything in between, according to your means.
This project is for your benefit. Members get some free time at the centre and other preferential treatment. Gradually we may also have another 24 hour kirtan there, in the land of Mahaprabhu.
For more details or to become a member, go to kirtanvillage.com.
The Hare Krishna mahamantra, the pacifier and purifier of eternally afflicted hearts, has touched millions of people across hundreds of countries on the planet earth in last five decades. As the circumference of the sankirtan expands, the cultural and personal tones of the performers of kirtan, too, make a place for themselves in it. With the fast spreading sankirtan movement, the need to preserve the essential standards of sankirtan is also growing.
Yasomati Devi, a co-founder of Kirtan Academy in Mayapur, toured important states such as Delhi and Punjab, in North India to educate devotees about Gaudiya kirtan standards. She explained each standard and also engaged in kirtans with devotees. She gave suitable examples so that the devotees could internalize the knowledge with ease. During her talks in Delhi and Punjab, she introduced the upcoming International Kirtan Village in Mayapur wherein devotees can not only learn chanting standards, but also go deeper into their chanting, while reaping 10,000 times more benefits of the kirtan and chanting being in audharya dham of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
”My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting.” CC Antya 20.16
Yasomati stressed the importance of avoiding the offenses to the holy name if we are to reap the full benefit from chanting. Not that “namaksara bahir haya nama nahi haya – Simply the alphabets are coming, but that is not nama. Namaksara, Hare Krsna, the alphabets, are coming out, but it is not the holy name.” Even beyond the avoidance of offenses is the chanting with affection.
In regards to the growing mood of stardom or showing off, performing in kirtan she said: “It is the duty of the kirtaniya to present, offer, ornement the Holy Name to the best of his/her ability, skills, while he himself becomes invisible. The audience is Krishna Himself, no one else. We are the offerers and He is the recipient of the offering.” says Yasomati Devi.
A Soulful Kirtan is the Soul of Surrender
“When the saṅkīrtana resounded, it filled the three worlds. Indeed, no one could hear any sounds or musical instruments other than the saṅkīrtana.”
CC Madhya 13.50.
“When we see a person, let’s call her Khusbhoo, do we identify her with her clothes and accessories separately, or do we acknowledge her presence as a person? Things that Khushboo wears serve her. Similarly, kartal, harmonium, mridanga are there to serve the Holy Name, in this way there remains one sound, only the Name.” explained Yasomati Devi.
While in Delhi, Yasomati Devi shared the experiences of devotees including her own, on how the chanting and kirtan of mahamantra transform hearts. She herself, at the age of 16, was challenged by a new devotee she met to start chanting so that the maha mantra could answer her unending questions. She said with joy, “I’m happy to tell you that I lost the challenge. I’m still chanting and finding answers.” Everything is in the holy Name who is non different from Krishna Himself.
“Who is a kirtaniya?” Yasomati Devi quizzed the devotees. “All of you who participate in kirtan,” she revealed. Kirtan is everyone’s responsibility. Sanga-kirtan, everyone together, we use our musical skills for kirtan to serve Krishna, not to serve ourselves, not for money or fame. Kirtan done with ulterior motives is maya kirtan. Srila Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur says:
“Kirtan is called Sankirtan when many people perform it together.
But will it be worthy of the name sankirtan if some worthless people, without any ardour for Sri Bhagavan’s service, come together to shout in unison? It will be true Hari-Sankirtan when we join the Sankirtan of true devotees who are serving Sri Bhagavan according to the principles established in the vedas
and allied sastras.” –
Yasomati Devi enlightened the devotees that kirtan shouldn’t be used as a remedy for the prevention of epidemics or to bring rain. While the Hare Krishna kirtan can solve the adhidaivik problems, this type of kirtan is also chanting within the jurisdiction of the illusory potency. The mahamantra kirtan is not cheap. As we work hard for material achievements, with the same eagerness we should pursue the mahamantra.
The naam sankirtan is not just for humans. Animals, even though, they hear it passively, become transformed when the nectar of the holy names enters their ears. Srila Prabhupada makes this point in the introduction of Srimad Bhagavatam, “The wild tigers, elephants, bear and deer all together accompanied the Lord, and the Lord accompanied them in sankirtana. By this He proved that by the propagation of the sankirtana movement (congregational chanting and glorifying of the name of the Lord) even the wild animals can live in peace and friendship, and what to speak of men who are supposed to be civilized.”
Yasomati Devi appealed to the devotees to fan their sincerity, to make it grow from a spark into a fire burning all anarthas. She said, “All of you have some sincerity, otherwise you would not be here. Increase the magnitude of your sincerity. Bring your shraddha to a higher level. Introspect.” She encouraged us to face and accept our insignificance. One soul, in a room full of souls, in one city, in one country, on one planet, in one universe. So small we are, and unable to chant the pure holy name, being constantly victimized by the demands of the mind and body! What’s the solution? Take the shelter of guru, his guru, his guru, beg the whole sampradaya. So, during Japa or kirtan, when our mind wanders everywhere in the universe, we should pray helplessly, as Draupadi did, raising both hands without worrying about her saree, without reservation. Let’s also surrender fully to Harinaam and feel free to express the love for Krishna fledgling in our hardened hearts.
Harinam sankirtan ki jaya
Param vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam
– Promila Chitkara, ISKCON Dwarka
“In this age, the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the prescribed method for waking up. The ways and means are most scientifically presented by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and intelligent persons may take advantage of His teachings in order to bring about real peace and prosperity. – SB1.1.4-purport
Just as sages gathered in Naimasaranya for a thousand year yajna for the pleasure of the Lord, modern sages, vaisnava followers of Srila Prabhupada gather for a 5 day kirtan every year as part of the Gaur Purnima Mayapur Festival.
Thousands of devotees commit to maximum daily hours of chanting, thereby creating contagious spiritual intensity. An additional 15,000 to 20,000 viewers join in via Mayapur.TV, using the chat to express both their chanting and their joy. It is by far the largest international kirtan festival, involving both the international visitors to Gaur Purnima Festival and international participation via internet.
What happens at a Kirtan mela?
Special arrangements are made to facilitate the blossoming of our latent attachment to holy name mantra chanting. In Sridham Mayapur, all spiritual activities are enhanced thousands of times while offences are overlooked.
Witnessing is undoubtedly good but participation uncovers from marvellous changes to complete metamorphosis in your spiritual life.
How is Kirtan mela funded?
Kirtan Mela is funded entirely by participants and supporters. So far every year we have endeavoured to provide some memorabilia such as maha mrdangas, recordings of the event, either on CD’s or more recently on pendrives and official Kirtan Mela t-shirts, in exchange for donations. We can continue to do so however it is becoming more difficult to find volunteers to stay away from kirtan. We are hoping to be able to do without from now on and carry sales only from the website. This means we need you help more than ever, Those who cannot afford the time of work to attend kirtan mela should support the mela with their donations.
How can I help?
We welcome Air Miles donations to allow us to bring internationally appreciated kirtaniyas such as Madhava, Ojasvi, Jahnavi, Acyuta Gopi, Agnideva prabhu…. who otherwise cannot afford to attend the event yearly. Sponsoring of a specific kirtaniya or aspect of the festival such as sound, decoration, lighting… is also encouraged. Contact us for details or to make sure your favourite kirtaniya will be taking part in Kirtan Mela 2018.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare – Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Kirtan Events – Not to be missed
- September 6-13 2017, Nama Yajna in honour of Haridas Thakur and World Holy Name Week, at Prabhupada’s Bhajan Kutir in Mayapur
- November 23-January 30th, Kirtan Academy in Mayapur
- January 26-30 2018, Radhadesh Mellows Radhadesh Belgium
- January 25-30 2018, Ekachakra Kirtan Mela, Ekachakra Dham West Bengal India
- February 12-17, 2018, Mayapur Kirtan Mela, Mayapur West Bengal India
If you know of an upcoming Kirtan event of international nature, please let us know at email@example.com.
Other upcoming events can be found at:
Mayapur Seva Opportunity
As we move forward towards the manifestation of the Kirtan Village, we need a lot of assistance and support.
We are interviewing anyone interested in eco-friendly construction. We need to build a strong team of like minded servants, creators, managers…
Construction is scheduled to start November 2017.
We need help spreading the news worldwide, as we build a fund-raising team.
Many more specific services will open up, tell us what talent you have to offer. Chances are we need you!
kirtaniya sada harih
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