Comments Posted By burfi_lover
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Dear BKG and vaisnavas, dandavats!
Speaking only for myself as a Vaisnava youth, two big issues I see are:
1) “Desperation” on the part of organizers to get anyone to go on harinama because of various things including lack of spiritual enthusiasm/ISKCON social issues/”insert your local temple authority/GBC/money issues”. This desperation leads to a “at least they are out chanting, no matter what they look like” attitude, which DOES have great merit based on the power of kirtan (I do not wish to minimize this!), but with no long term thought about how the devotess are presenting themselves. Srila Prabhupada (from what I have heard from you older souls and seen on the movies…) always dressed impecabbly and showed that one can have style and grace even in clothes of a renunciate.
This “desperation” can also apply to using modern music to present Krsna. It’s the classic preaching conundrum from above: Is it a)better to preach a little and chant, no matter how it is present, or b) take a little more time and energy and present something really outstanding (Indradyumna Swami’s festival seems to be a good example). The spiritual maturity (which I am NOT at all) of the devotee presenting is also a major factor - both for the spiritual power and their overall presention. The more mature a devotee is, the better they seem to be able to present KC in a tasteful way.
Example: Compare Indradyumna Swami’s early harinamas in Paris (pre-sannyasa?) to his full blown and lavish Polish festival now. I obviously did not see those harinams (being still a twinkle in my parent’s 50 rounds), but I can guess that at least some of the devotees had different colored socks or non-matching dhotis or saris or whatever. Maybe they even used Balarama mrdungas instead of authentic Bengali-fired clay (oh no’s!). Now compare that with the polish of the Polish festival (sorry!). You get the point.
2) Parents not getting their kids to wear respectful attire (this goes for both girls AND boys - guys, no boxers showing in the temple for peat’s sakes! And girls, if you want me to see your latest and greatest belly button ring, please meet me at the beach with laddus) because of either :
- lack of caring, often because they, the parents, were not cared for by ISKCON…
- desperation again: “at least my kids are at the temple and not at home vegging or worse things…” or because of what I feel is actually the most important point:
- lack of parent/older devotee participation in harinamas/ratha yatras/kirtans in general. This is an issue I feel STRONGLY about.
Look around at the next kirtan or Ratha Yatra or Sunday Feast you attend. Where are the older devotees? No, seriously? When the kirtan dissolves into an almost mindless pursuit of the latest and greatest “cool chant” or the dancing is getting weird (creating tunnels with upraised hands for others to run through…), it’s almost always younger devotees doing it.
The next time you are at the Brooklyn temple for Ratha (for instance), notice that at a certain point the older Vaisnavas disappear - some are probably tired, but are some disgusted with the direction the kirtan is heading? I remember one such kirtan where the mrdungas were wailing and the sweat was flying. Boy, oh boy was I blissed out! Then a guest friend who was near me stopped dancing and asked, “Have you noticed that we’ve pushed the ladies off to the side?” We had. There were only gurukulis and new-ish devotees present and the kirtan and turned into the classic all-guys-turned-inwards-smashing-the-wompers-loudly-circle.I don’t know how to properly include girls in a kirtan and still keep the purity - this is not a topic for me to even approach. I just knew that in my enthusiasm to dance and “please” Krsna, here I had completely not even noticed other wonderful devotees around me. I was so ashamed that I left the kirtan.
I might be going out on the rant limb here, but there seems to be a generational gap in the handing down of proper kirtan procedure in terms of singing, tunes, dancing and overall behavior. I’m not saying be a prude or stick the women in the back again! There can be excitement and over flowing of emotions - just do it with grace for Radha and Krsna. Someone, EVERYONE, needs to help us youth translate the raw emotion and desire for the kirtan nectar into a more mature expression of love.
Comment Posted By burfi_lover On 12.12.2007 @ 20:11