By Janananda Gosvami
Kirtana is our first duty. Letter to: Palika, 13 November, 1975
The Kirtan Standards Committee met in Vrndavana on the 12th November to discuss “Kirtan standards”.
We have a considerable amount of data (from different sources, primarily found in the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase) re kirtan and standards and will now be analyzing it specifically in different categories. We have enlisted some younger devotees outside of our committee to undertake this service. When this is completed we will definitely open up more to the general body of devotees for further discussion, feedback, clarification etc.
A website has been established to store all info, letters, etc. and to enable us to easily refer to the subjects.
We intend to produce a guidebook but only after sufficient research and discussion on many levels.
Our data will be seen in the light of the following:
1. Standards that are clearly to be followed having been established by Srila Prabhupada. e. g. - the tune to be sung at mangal arati. That the chanting of the maha mantra comprise the majority of any kirtan.
2. Those guidelines which are most preferable to Srila Prabhupada.
3. The many areas where there may not be any specific instruction from Srila Prabhupada in our evidences but are recommended standards in ISKCON. General points regarding Kirtan.
We are dealing not only with Kirtan and the appropriate songs and tunes, but also bhajans, instruments, dance, etiquette, mood, dress, amplification, related paraphernalia etc.
Our intention is to preserve the will and mood of Srila Prabhupada at the same time not to dampen the enthusiasm of the devotees for the performance of kirtan.
Remembering the goal of kirtan is to please the Lord and not just to enjoy musical sounds or let off steam etc. A good question is “Would we do it in front of Srila Prabhupada?”
We have also begun the process of interviewing notable kirtan leaders for their impressions and remembrances of Srila Prabhupada’s guidance re kirtan.
For those who don’t know the committee consists of the following: HH Lokanatha Swami, HH Bhakti Vikash Swami, HH Janananda Swami, HG Hari Sauri prabhu, HG Jagajeevan prabhu and HG Aniruddha prabhu.
Your servant on behalf of the Kirtan Standards Committee. Janananda Gosvami