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5 open secret techniques to improve your Naam Kirtan

Monday, 08 October 2018 / Published in Articles / 1,328 views

By Sacinandana Swami

Haribol! Haribol! Haribol! (chorus)…Hare Krishna. I’m Sacinandana Swami and am every excited to be here with all of you. Hare Krishna… yes now since Malika Mala has arrived, we all feel complete. Before Malika Mala arrived it felt as if one kidney was missing. Ha ha.. But now we are complete. Hare Krishna.

I wanted to ask you before I start:

Were you successful in practicing what you were discussing at the end of this morning program?

Yes? Was it working? 50 -50?

Please keep on trying. Some times when we try to practice the total or proper form of sadhu sanga, there are several questions that come up. Is it sure that every devotee we meet will reveal their minds to us, for instance? I encourage you to ask these questions to the senior leaders of our Psychology 3000 team. There’s also a nice book which I have read, which is out on the market, which believe, that Keshava Maharaja was also mentioned in the book. Sadhu Maharaj has written about colleague-al relationships especially in management. So, if you wish we can deal with some of the questions at the end of this session, but I want to… ha ha… I want to get started in the second powerful process which is able to bring out a transformation in our personality.

That is the naam kirtan.

Kirtan comes from the root — kirt, which means to glorify.

Who is to be glorified in kirtan and for what?

The Bhagavatam answers the first question:

Kaler dosha nidhe rajan, astihi eka mahan guna. Kirtanad eva krishnasya…

That this age is full of so many faults, but there’s simply one good quality left, that is simply by chanting you can become free from material bondage and attain the highest goal in life.

Sometimes there are Ganesh kirtans or Shiva kirtans… but the Bhagavatam says that certainly… eva… Krishna must be glorified.

For what should we glorify Krishna?

Jiva Goswami says because he is so beautiful that by His beauty He has set up a trap by which He has captured the whole world. One poet describes the beauty of Krishna, O Chowkidar of my eye, o Guard of my eye. Why were you not careful? I’m giving you first class but you are not doing your job. You have allowed the beautiful form of Krishna to enter into my heart. Now He has stolen everything including my very heart from me. O Guard of my eyes, you have allowed the greatest thief, the beautiful Krishna to enter into my heart and He has stolen everything

Krishna is also to be glorified because of His courage. I was thinking of this today. I went very far on the beach. Away from human civilization. Then I saw them. A gang of ten heavily guarded people coming towards me. They came very close. They showed me their weapons, their sharp teeth. And they did their war screams… attack screams… yes in front of me. These were ten powerful village dogs which their teeth and their barking. I’m not extremely courageous, so I sang very loudly the Narsingha mantra… and all of a sudden the dogs went away… they ran away. Krishna is very courageous. Yes, alone by His presence in the battle of Kurukshetra, the battle was won by the Pandavas. He is always asked to give courage to those who surrender to Him. Krishna is glorified because of His beauty, His courage, His Knowledge and because He is capable of the super most form of action. There’s no one as beautiful as Krishna, no one as courageous, no one as knowledgeable and no one can do such wonderful actions as He does.

At the end of this presentation I want to tell you a wonderful leela, pastime of Krishna.

How do you do kirtan?

There’s instruments, with your hands, with your singing, you dancing. At some point you should raise your hands… and when everything is done you should offer your obeisance. It’s said… Jiva Goswami says by doing such kirtan, this will magnify the deity. We all know a magnifying glass? Something small can become big in the magnifying glass. So maybe you think very little of Krishna, your memory of Krishna is very small. But by doing kirtan, you magnify the Lord, until you have the feeling you come directly in the presence of the Lord. The movement of sankirtan was started in all seriousness by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Nawadwip 500 years ago. He started his kirtan, the ecstatic glorification of Krishna in the house of Srivasa pandit. And from there it extended in concentric circles, first to the doorsteps of His devotees. Despite a lot of political resistance, it spread to the streets of Nawadwip. Then Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s kirtan spread all over India.

You find some villages in India, there’s no television, so every evening they sing kirtan. Then everything came together… and when millions of people did their pilgrimage in the annual rathayatra at Puri, there were millions. The kirtan of Tauranga Mahaprabhu developed such a force, that the singing of God’s names flooded over into other religions. Either directly or indirectly Christianity started singing the names of the Lord. The Sufis started singing the song Allah Ho, Allah Ho… Allah Ho. All religions developed some elements of kirtan which God came personally to bring to this world. In Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s kirtan there was an inner dimension and also an outer dimension.

The inner dimension which you need to adopt when you want to do proper kirtan, is expressed in a mood which facilitates kirtan. The devotee considers himself to be very insignificant despite all his achievements in this world. And he feels separated from the Lord. He feels so separated that he wants to overcome this separation and wants to again find his place at the lotus feet of the lord.

These two moods:

the mood of humility

and the mood of separation

were expressed by Mahaprabhu in his own words. Trnad api sunicena.. And the other is ‘Ayi Nanda Tanuja’. Two moods form the inner dimension of the kirtan of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. But there’s also an outer dimension, something which was visible. Ecstasy, tears, hairs standing on end, a broken voice. These were symptoms of the kirtan bhava, which were expressed in the kirtan of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As you know that when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did his kirtans, millions of people came together, almost like flies who come when a glass of honey is opened. Once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did a kirtan near the capital of the Muslim king. And it was strictly forbidden at that time to display public activities of Hinduism on the streets. Even now when you go into Dubai, you find a sign in the Arabic language that says, any Muslim who converts to another religion will receive capital punishment. But people who came together with Mahaprabhu ignored this. For instance, the Muslim tailor of Srivas Thakur started to dance and shout, while loudly calling out “I have seen, I have seen. Allah has come as Gauranga Mahaprabhu” And when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did his kirtan right before the capital of the kings, millions of people joined his kirtan. The king sent out spies to find out what this was. And the spies came back chanting! It’s very good… Hare Krishna! Ha ha-ha… The king could understand….. He must be God! Because whatever I wish to have done in my kingdom, I have to pay them, but here Mahaprabhu is inciting them to do the most dangerous thing and he doesn’t even give them one chapatti for it. I’m a king, I have to pay all my servants otherwise they won’t do anything for me. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu makes people do the most dangerous things, to sing the holy names in public! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s kirtan had an electrifying effect.

Have you ever been electrified?

It just takes you over, you can’t think of anything else but the electric shock which you have. Mahaprabhu described kirtan as the most effective means in order to reach Krishna. The Bengali word for ‘means’ is ‘upaya’. It means something by which something else which is usually thought to be unobtainable is obtained. To reach the lotus feet of Krishna is… so difficult even to be imagined. Great saints and sadhus have meditated for many years, sometimes for lifetimes and have not been successful. But by chanting kirtan, Mahaprabhu maintained that you can reach param gati, the highest goal of your spiritual life. To give you an example, of upaya, the Vedic scriptures give the example of archery. By the help of a bow, a piece of wood & iron can fly up to 500 meters. Usually iron and wood does not fly. But by an upaya powerful means, it can fly and reach a target. The Vedas mantras describe this. They say that the Vedic mantra is the bow, the pure living entity is the arrow and the target is from the Supreme Being. This is from Bhagavatam 7 Canto 15 Chapter verse 42. In my first holy name retreat in Russia, I talked about the kirtan arrow. And some of our devotees from Psychology 3000 were there, I remember… and we discussed at that time the power of the holy name to bring the living entity in the presence of the Lord. But, this will only work if you do samyak kirtan or proper kirtan. If you do not know the art of kirtan you will not reach the lotus feet of Krishna, but just become bored by so much singing. I want to go back to my archery example. Have some of you ever tried to shoot an arrow? Oh…It’s not so easy…Na? To hit a target? I tried when I was a child and later I tried again with a bow, the same type of bow which Robin Hood had used and I had to take archery lessons, but I was too lazy and I didn’t do it. But I remember it… I took 2 hours lessons… and oof, I was told that you need to use your body properly. The person who did it before me almost lost his ear, when the bow string went poof. Yes, you need to know how to work with these powerful bows. You need to know how to fix your mind. Somehow, I remember that the teacher always told me, ‘Bring your mind to the target.’ Then when you practice a little bit and you become stronger, your body will move in the right direction. And you have to use your will power. I remember, I did it… I couldn’t do it any longer… It was tiring. I remember it was not so easy to use the bow. In the same way, kirtan is not… it’s an art. You need to do it properly.

You need to use your body, sit properly or dance.

Then you need to pronounce the mahamantra.

You need to focus your mind.

No inattention.

Prabhupada said just try to listen to yourself chant sincerely. And you need to think of Krishna, whose name your chant. Yes, you need to bind, it’s called sambandha to Krishna. And you need to bring the mood of longing, O Krishna, I miss you! If you chant without thinking of Krishna, like most people do, you’ll only have shadow chanting. Shadow Kirtan! It does not nourish you. I always give this analogy to wake up my sleeping audience. I know this retreat you take heavy food and so you are heavily tired. (Laughter). Now let us imagine. Govardhan Gopal, Sudha and Mala have a secret meeting with Keshava Maharaj. And they decide to save some money on the food. And what they would do is. .they would request the cook to cook an excellent pizza with tomatoes and cheese and olive oil from Italy. And on top of it some herbs from Siberia. But there would be only ONE pizza. When you would come you would see that one pizza and a spotlight on that pizza. And Keshava Swami with an ascetic smile on his lips would say “Help yourself from the shadow! There is enough shadow from everyone. You can never finish the shadow. We have decided to save some money. Eat the shadow of the pizza.” I can guarantee you, you would not sleep any longer during the classes. (Laughter) It’s a very kharoshi? Idea! (Laughter) My point here… Listen listen. When you take the shadow of something which is a look alike but it will not serve the function of the original. You cannot talk to the shadow of a friend, you cannot enjoy the shadow of Krishna Consciousness. Just like you cannot enjoy the shadow of the Hare Krishna mantra. You have to learn to go to the substance. This means you must bring body, mind and also your heart to the chanting. You must long for Krishna. The Bhagavatam says just like the baby bird sits in the nest and longs for the mother, in the same way, we long for you my Lord, when we sing Your names.

Just like the calf longs for the mother cow to drink from her udder to become totally satisfied, in all regards we long for you, My Krishna.

In this way so many nice instructions are given when we sing the Hare Krishna mantra. When you want to end shadow kirtan, I always like to point out one verse from Chaitanya Charitamrita.

(Maharaj starts the tanpura machine and sings this verse)

‘krsna, tomara hanayadi bale ekabara

mayabandha haite krsna tare kare para

CC Madhya Lila 22 chapter verse 33

“One is immediately freed from the clutches of Maya if he seriously and sincerely says, ‘My dear Lord Krsna, although I have forgotten You for so many long years in the material world, today I am surrendering unto You. I am Your sincere and serious servant. Please engage me in Your service.’

When I was surrounded by the barking dogs and there was no Braja Renu and Viprakit around, I thought let me surrender to Krishna now. And I chanted with this mood: Krishna, if these dogs are biting me now, most probably I will not be able to continue with the lectures. I have just taken prasadam, so most probably they will eat the prasadam from my stomach. Please protect me. I’m your serious and sincere servant. I have forgotten you for so many years in the material world, but today I’m surrendering to you. Please engage me in your service.

I chanted like this. The dogs stopped barking. The leader became afraid. He ran and I continued to chant until I was tired because I have taken a wonderful massage from Keshava Maharajs servant Govinda Kunda. After 15 mins I hear a voice… moo moo moo… I woke and saw a little dog before me. Moo moo moo. I said to him that I don’t understand Russian and I’m a stranger here. I can’t understand you. (Laughter)… Maybe I should not say like this, but I meant to say I can’t understand. I can’t even understand human beings, what to speak of you. But he continued. Then I understood he was looking for the other dogs. I said, this way, this way, they went this way. And the dog was very happy with me and followed my directions. Yes, I showed him the way. He followed and I think he found them out. What I want to express is…we have to come and look for shelter from Krishna when we chant. When we continue our shadow chanting, it’s not very effective. I want to tell a little little pastime and then I want to engage in chanting with you. It’s a pastime in which we can learn how to look for Krishna. Last year, I went with some devotees through Brindavan, You know we always take some instruments with us, portable harmonium, mrdanga and then we sing the holy names and just walk through the forests of Vrindavan. We came to a beautiful area. There was a little lake and around it many many palm trees. And our guard, Gaura Hari explained to us that this is the area of Looki Luk Kunda. Now the lake is dried up, but there was once a beautiful lake. And he explained that Krishna and the Gopis once went into the lake to play a game. They wanted to find out who can stay the longest under water and the winner would get some prize. So Krishna went into the middle of the beautiful gopis and counted one, two, and three! And the swish, He went under the water. But the gopis had done some earlier communication. And they did not go under the water. Instead they waited… But Krishna’s peacock feather started to come out of the water. At this moment, the beautiful smiling gopis went under the water. When Krishna was up, no gopis were there. How is it possible? Then after sometime… with a splash, the first gopi came out. Krishna said, how have they defeated me? And all of them have defeated me. I don’t think it’s possible. They must have cheated me. Krishna said, first round you have won, but now comes the second round. One two three! And Krishna went inside the water but this time He kept his eyes open under the water. And He saw the gopis were standing above the water and He saw that some of them were covering their mouth in order to prevent themselves from laughing. So Krishna decided to teach them a lesson. Very swiftly, he went out from the circle of the gopis and under the water he swam to the bank of the Luki Luk kund. And went out of the lake! And was hiding behind some bush or tree to watch what would happen. First the gopis were very joyful. But then they noticed that Krishna has not come out for a long time. And then they waited for some more. Then they began to lament. Oh what have we done! This boy Krishna is so attached to winning that He’s prepared to kill Himself. Because of our trick, most probably He will drown. So the gopis started to say… let’s save Him. So they took their hands and they closed in the circle. But they couldn’t find Krishna. Maybe He’s gone directly to the kingdom of Yamaraja. They looked all over. Some even left the Luki Luk kund and started to look. Some fainted. For them Krishna was all and everything. He was more dear to them than their very lives. Finally, when almost of all the gopis were on the verge of death, Krishna… wrooopf, came out of the water smiling. In some ways, Krishna can… He always wants to increase our love for Him. He always draws our love out. When you chant, my dear devotees, you have to also look for Krishna. Krishna will only come to you, when you do kirtan, when you really chant in the mood of a humble servant. Trnada api sunicena…

And when you chant in the mood of longing… and the longing of someone who is in a strange element… the material world and wants to be saved and put to the lotus feet of the Lord.

One great devotee of Krishna, Jagadannanda Pandit, he was an associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He once gave something like a loizonk… something you say for the devotees of Krishna who have faith in the chanting the holy names. He said, if you wish to advance of pure bhakti, not many rules in spiritual practice are necessary. You must simply beg the complete shelter in Krishna’s holy name. And thus you must purify your heart and consciousness.

Haridas Thakur had similarly said, if you want to advance only two things are necessary. The blessings of devotees… Remember! You cannot become Krishna conscious by your own efforts. You cannot always become Krishna conscious by combined efforts with other people. You can only become Krishna conscious by the blessings of a great devotee and by taking shelter in the holy name.

I was a little while ago in Mauritius. We had a kirtan mela. And in the kirtan mela, one devotee… no no… I saw one Muslim man was coming. I only saw when he entered the circle of 5000 devotees. Then I did not see him any longer because I concentrated on the kirtan. But next morning I heard his story, from a devotee with whom this man had talked. He said to the devotee, I was on the way to the beach to kill myself. But when I passed your tent, I was hearing people singing joyfully and when I looked I saw them dancing. So I thought let this be my last party (laughter). Often, those who commit suicide have some romantic motive. Many friends of my father have killed themselves after fighting the Nazi wars under Hitler. After the war. One went for instance, to Spain and looked at a flamingo dance… and shot himself. So this man had also a similar motive. Let this be my last party. Then I will go to the beach and shoot myself in the mouth. But while he was here, he started to sing the kirtan. And he told one of the devotees, when I singing kirtan, I saw a door that was open and I saw through the open door, the light of Allah. Yes, and I saw a solution to my complicated situation.

My dear devotees… I want to request you that we should do a kirtan now. A kirtan where I guide you in some kirtan meditation which Bhakti Vinod Thakur has given to us.

(Harmonium plays)

Somehow the harmonium is too loud, can we make it a bit softer?

I request you to sit tall.

Please do a few deep breaths.

You have heard that you must end the shadow chanting. You can only get the shadow of the holy name, when you do not think of Krishna while you chant.

I request you to think now… Let the day with all the many things pass, let it go… Just breathe. (1.01.39). When you breathe in, you should say to yourself, I’m breathing in and I know I’m breathing in. When you breathe out, say to yourself I’m breathing out and I know I’m breathing out. Let us do a few deep breaths, where we let go everything that is around us. Please think, by nature I’m Krishna’s servant, but by the influence of Maya, I seem to have forgotten it and as a result my life has become very complicated. But today I’m turning again to Krishna. I’m his sincere and serious servant and He is my very very kind master. If I call out to Him, He will certainly hear. If I address Him through my singing, He will certainly acknowledge

Do you that Lord Jagannath is offered three big clay pots of lassi at the end of His parade? He is offered 3 clay pts. At the end of the procession, at the end of the parade, after He has accepted them they are broken on the street. Then the lassi which is the prasadam lassi is on the streets so that even the flies get some prasadam. And then even the spirits and ghosts who cannot move on to the next body get the Lords Prasad. So if you turn to the Lord, it’ll be very good for you. Turn to Him through kirtan. Glorify Krishna. He will hear you. He will take your case seriously. You may have given up on your spiritual advancement, but Krishna never lets you go. He’s infinitely merciful.

(Maharaj starts singing)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

(Audience repeats in chorus)

(Continues for 10 mins… In between the kirtan Maharaj says) 
 please meditate that proper kirtan means to glorify Krishna

To glorify Him because He’s the most beautiful

The most courageous

The most knowledgeable

And He always does such wonderful activities

So when you do kirtan, step in front of Krishna and glorify Him. Please sing now.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

………………………………… (Kirtan continues for another 10 mins)

Everybody please!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

One more time!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

One last time!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

Jaya Prabhupada, jaya Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada

Jaya Gaura Nitai Gaura Nitai Gaura Nitai Jaya Gaura Nitai

Jaya Giriraj Jaya Giriraj Jaya Giriraj

Jaya Radha Madan Mohan Radha Madan Mohan Sri Radhe!

Jaya Radha Madan Mohan Radha Madan Mohan Sri Radhe!

Gaur Premanandi ! (audience chants Haribol in chorus)

Gaur Premanandi ! (audience chants Haribol in chorus)

Gaur Premanandi ! (audience chants Haribol in chorus)

Hare Krishna!

Thank you very much for participating in this program of Naam Kirtan. We have a little time for Questions and Answers.

(one devotee from the audience asks)

Maharaj, you mentioned that the kirtan is beneficial only when chanted properly but sometimes we have some physical faculties or mental faculties who just like to sing….. so sometimes devotees are so much in love with kirtan that they just sing it without any engaging deeper into this mood.. So is such kind of kirtan still beneficial or should we change this?

Ans: Wherever you enter in Kirtan that’s good! I would like to tell you about a big big discussion in India. There’s always a conflict between — should we only do kirtan when we can properly please the Lord by playing proper instruments, doing everything properly. There’s a verse that says that when you sing for the Lord, you have to sing in the proper raga and tala, only then you should sing for the Lord. It’s in the Hari bhakti vilasa, our scripture. And some kirtan singers say that only if you know it right, then you should sing. Whereas other say, No Krishna is satisfied just like a father is satisfied just like the incoherent words of his child, who just learns to speak. So, what does Krishna think about this? Only experts should sing? On the one side. And those who have the feeling, even if they are imperfect should also sing. Sometime ago, there was a wonderful temple on the Govardhan hill where the Lord was worshipped as Gopal. And because at that time, there was some constant danger of intolerant Muslims and soldiers, they had a lance man, a soldier to guard the temple. This lance man was very strongly built. His face was very groovy and his voice was terrible. But in the night in order to keep himself awake, he sometimes moved left and right and then he sang songs for Gopal. Gopaaal (Maharaj sings purposely discordant) (laughter in the audience). So one evening, the famous Govinda Swami came with his musicians to the temple. He performed a beautiful kirtan concert with all the right ragas and all the right rhythms. People were appreciating so much. The deities stayed 10 mins longer open and only then went to bed. It was an unforgettable concert. When it was finished, Govinda Swami left the temple with his musicians and on his way out, he passed, the lance man, the guard, Pytha, who was singing. Govinda Swami went by… and Pytha was singing in his discordant voice Goppaaaall. Govinda Swami stopped and he looked at Pytha… and said “Stop immediately, you are braying like a donkey! You will disturb the Lord. He’s supposed to go to bed now. Look at these musicians. We have just finished a good night concert for the Lord. Don’t disturb the Lord with your sounds. Never sing again! It is stated in the scriptures that when you sing for the Lord, you must use the best melody, the best rhythms. If you would come before an ordinary king of this world and sang, he would behead you! So how can you sing like this for God?”

Pytha said “Ok, I understood” and he did not sing the whole night.

In the morning, he was very sad. He went home and put his lance in his house and be broke down in his bed crying. His wife asked what’s wrong, but he was so disturbed, he couldn’t even answer her. In the morning, the priest came to wake up the Deity. He was a very exalted priest. He could talk to the Lord, like Kanchipoorna. He looked at the Deity and he asked, “My Lord, why are your eyes so red?” “Oh” said Gopal, “I couldn’t sleep the whole night”

“Why not?”

“It’s alright”

“No… I can see in Your eyes, You were really disturbed, why couldn’t You sleep? There was no night music.”

“I’m so accustomed to Pytha’s singing. I know he sings out of tune, but he sings with love. I couldn’t sleep to his good night songs. But Govinda Swami, this idiot, he forbade him to sing. Now no music. I want that Pytha sings in the evening. He can sing Gopaaal. .I don’t mind. He sings with love”

So if you are a new devotee, or if you an eternally new devotee (laughter) just sing kirtan. If it is too complicated for you, try to at least sing for Krishna. Don’t put yourself in the center, put Krishna in the center. And you will please Him. The lord proved that… it’s a very well-known narration told in the Vallabha sampradaya.

I’m so sorry, I would love to take more questions and answers, but the subject is so wonderful that I can’t make it shorter. In Psychology 3000, we have to interact with the audience, but I’m only doing a duo-logue…Monologue…is a one person speaking… and duo-logue is two people speaking. It’s not dialogue.

(Interpreter asks “What is duologue?)

It’s a new word! Everyone invents, why can I not invent? (Laughter)

Very good translator. But sometimes he needs to sleep more.

Good… so what should we do now?

(Audience requests for one more story)

I’m just thinking…gimme a few seconds.

I want to tell you something personal. I know that much what I say is known to you. But, I feel there is one contribution where I speak about something which is not known to you.

In my lectures I always speak about one point which is not known to you. It is how to do things properly. Without this….. getting it right, your spiritual practice will not give you the result. Spiritual practice is something very deep. I sometimes feel that devotees go to lectures and want to be entertained. Or they want some information. But see the knowledge which we have is not for information and not for entertainment, it’s for transformation. Yes, in previous times there were alchemists who used to experiment and turn some ordinary metals into gold by some alchemistic process. Youtza in Russia had a few alchemist trying to produce gold. The powerful Swedish king Gustaff had another alchemist at his palace. But the alchemists were not after turning iron into Gold. That was not their purpose. They wanted to know the principles of transformation, so they could transform the ordinary character of a conditioned soul and make him in a wonderful devotee of Krishna… er… I mean, into an enlightened person. They didn’t speak of devotee of Krishna.

See, everyone can take a pair of kartals in their hands and do kirtan. Everyone can move in the society of devotees. But you need to know how to do this. Go to the devotees and make it work in such a way that you get love of God. You need to know how to do kirtan so that your heart will be transformed by Krishna Conscious power. You cannot remain a guest or a spectator of Krishna Consciousness. You need to be an alchemist. Sanatana Goswami uses this example of alchemistry how by proper process of initiation, an ordinary man can become a first-class Vaishnava Brahmana.

But you want to hear a story.

It’s easy after a whole day of non-digested food in the stomach to hear a story!

Hare Krishna.

But ok… I will tell you a story. Ha ha…

It’s a story which enlivens my spiritual life very much. And it’s a story which brings to life our spiritual practice. In Vrindavan, there’s a place called Shesha Van. It’s a forest of hope. There’s a beautiful lake in the forest and a wonderful temple with the deity of Lord Shiva. Last year, I went there with a few devotees. We had finished our big retreats in Varshana and we were one day in Ter Kadamba… and just next to Ter Kadamba is this temple. Govardhan Gopal was also in Ter kadamba… and he chanted more than 64 rounds. And next to this, where we go every year to have our japa workshop… is this beautiful forest of hope, with the deity of Lord Shiva. Please listen how this forest go this name.

It is very important for your spiritual life.

When Krishna appeared in this world, He performed the pastime of an ordinary child which was growing up. He was very very sweet and beautiful. Oh, his curly locks, and his soft feet with the different marks! And his laughter… Mother Yashoda, his mother was absolutely absorbed in His beauty. She could not think of anything else and anybody apart from her little Krishna.

One morning there was somebody at the door. He said he wanted to see Krishna. Mother Yashoda told the maidservant, Ask him who he is. And the maidservant came back totally excited, “It’s Lord Shiva!”

Wow, said Yashoda and she personally went to the palace gate. When she opened the gate, she was shocked to see Lord Shiva. There were two snakes around his neck.

He had very high tied topknots. His body was white from the ashes from the crematorium and he had a garland of skulls. Imagine one of the teachers of Psychology 3000 starts the lecture by wearing a garland of skulls. We would be afraid. We would think, maybe he needs some Psychology treatment. So mother Yashoda was shocked. “What do you want?”

“I want to see Krishna. I came from Mount Kailash. Please grant me Krishna’s darshan”

“NEVER! My little boy will be so shocked when he sees you. Look at those snakes! Shshh shhh… and your garlands… skulls!!! He will die from shock. Go somewhere else. Take this chapatti. Good bye!”

Shiva became extremely desperate.

Imagine the mother of God says, you can’t see Him. What’s your chance? There’s no chance.

So he went down the hill where the palace of Nanda Maharaj stood. He went into the forest and began to cry

“Oh Krishna, you have appeared to save the conditioned souls. But you don’t seem to show me any mercy”

He cried so much that a lake formed from his tears.

Meanwhile, Krishna began to scream in the palace. Before that He had only cried very softly. But on this day, He screamed ‘Aargh aargh”

Mother Yashoda was shocked. She tried everything to pacify, but it didn’t work. Finally, she gave her breast to Krishna, but Krishna say… no… And He didn’t drink. Do you know the future of the infant who doesn’t not drink and cannot drink the milk of his mother? He’s doomed to die. Finally Yashoda went to her husband, Nanda Maharaj. She said, in our old age, Lord Narayan has finally given us a child. But today something inauspicious has happened. A wild crazy man came and from that day on our house, our palace and our son are cursed!

O, said Nanda Maharaj, who was it?

It was Shiva with a garland of skulls and snakes. He wanted to see Krishna, but I know that Krishna is so sensitive, so tender. He would not be able to look at Shiva. It would be very bad for his mental stability. Nanda Maharaj said, we have to get Shiva. You can just show Krishna a little bit from the other opposite side. If it is still ok, you can come a little closer, and a little bit closer. But you must must fulfil Shiva’s desire otherwise Krishna will be dissatisfied. So Mother Yashoda sent her gopis out. They went all over Vrindavan to find Shiva. In the meantime the lake of tears was beginning to fill up. Shiva cried so much… and as he cried for Krishna, something strange happened. He felt how his desperation turned into hope. The hope to meet Krishna. That’s one of the mysteries of Krishna consciousness: when you feel separated from Krishna, you somehow feel that you may meet Him. When you stop forgetting Krishna, but feel separated and feel I need you Krishna, your life becomes excellent. So as Shiva began to long more and more for Krishna, his hope became more and more. Finally, it was already night time, he heard some gopis, “Mahadev, Mahadev, Shiva, where are you?”

“Here”

“Come along, Mother Yashoda has allowed you”

And they brought Shiva to the door of the palace. Mother Yashoda took little Krishna. He had been screaming all day long and as the door opened. From the opposite side the door was open… and she came from the other side. Krishna immediately looked at Shiva. And He laughed. She came a little closer. Everything was still alright. She came even more closer and Krishna threw His arms. And the Mother Yashoda gave Him in the arms of Shiva.

Shiva looked in the eyes of Krishna and cried. Krishna looked in the eyes of Krishna and laughed. And in this way their eyes locked. Sambandha! Deep connection.

Mother Yashoda immediately said, you are good for our house. You please stay here… and they build a little house next to their palace. Everyday Krishna had the darshan of Shiva and Shiva had the darshan of Krishna. And to this day Shiva stays there in the palace, it’s called Nanda Bhavan. I have seen last year and every offering is brought right after the offering to Shiva. He only gets mahaprasad and then it’s distributed to the devotees.

I liked this… because it’s the story of hope. Never give up hope. Hope will energize and enliven your kirtan. Without the hope, that Krishna is so merciful that He can show mercy to us…everything is so hopeless. I heard today from our devotee, this story about Lord Jagannath who breaks his lassi pots so that the flies of Puri can also have mahaprasad and be delivered. They have such big pots, Braja Renu… made of clay… Pfffffff… Everyone please get the mercy! Never give up hope. When you give up hope….Ahh… a man or a woman without hope is doomed. In kirtan, we can sing with the hope that Krishna will hear us.

Time is going so fast!

I thank you very much

Please excuse me if I sometimes….I mess up, but it’s with good intention.

See you all tomorrow

Hare Krishna

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai

Sri Sri Gaura nitai ki Jai

Gaur Premamandi — Haribol

My dear godbrother: Vaisesika prabhu!
Mastering the Art of Unplugging and Managing Stress

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