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Everything posted by Ananga

  1. Does anyone know if that album with Yamuna singing was ever released on CD? Also, where can one obtain a copy - vinyl, cassette or CD?
  2. Oh yeah, that famous kirtaniya, Bob Dylan! So you think name-dropping is symptomatic of an ego-trip, Tall-cool-one? I never thought of it that way, but perhaps you have a point. Anyways... Back to the subject of music. I think most people do not really understand what it is that attracts them to certain genres. Outside of the functionally tone deaf individuals, most are responding to a beat they can literally dance to (hence the current popularity of the sub-genres of gangsta rap and hip-hop here in the ol' US of A). Granted, kirton falls under a whole other category entirely, since we are discussing the aesthetics involved, it might be helpful to those in the audience that do not have formal training in music theory to examine the basic components in both Eastern and Western styles. There are basically two approaches to performance, irrespective of geographic regions: 1) Scripted (literally playing the notes as written on the page – or by ear if one does not read music) and 2) Improvisational. In both Eastern and Western music, these tend to be combined. In the case of the ragas, for example, it is virtually entirely improvisation within a framework or structure, without any modulation between keys. Western music has historically reached its pinnacle with respect to improvisation with the jazz artists of the 20th century, yet they still largely play around key changes that fit standard forms. Granted, Bach and Beethoven were famous for being improvisers in performance, aside for the occasional cadenzas found in concertos and other pieces, Western classical music is devoid of true improvisation (there are interpretive nuances, but the notes are played as written by the composers). In considering ensembles, whether those be symphony orchestras, swing bands or Vaishnavas assembled in kirton, the tempo, rhythm, volume, etc. should be controlled by whoever is directing the performance. If an orchestra did not understand the motions of their conductor's baton and other visual cues, it would result in cacophony. Then there are those that maintain that the aesthetics are secondary and that it is all one, as long as there is congregational bhajan. Sounds like mayavadi philosophy to me! [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 07-07-2001).]
  3. Now, back to the subject of artistic kirtons: I think fireworks (which are some of the most impressive visual displays that mankind has yet produced) would be a good adjunct to Vaishnava festivals. Just picture it: Multi-colored rockets spraying out patterns in the four symbols of Visnu and other important imagery.
  4. [begining of messages lost...] I would like to express a personal opinion: That the best hope for an evil empire like ISKCON at this juncture is for the women to take over and kick out all the men. After all, it was mostly men that were behaving badly over the years. [end of messages lost...] >>> This message accidentally got cut up and the beginning and end got lost. If you remember what you wrote please try to repost it. The above portion is all I could recover. - Jndas [This message has been edited by jndas (edited 07-05-2001).]
  5. I have to confess that I have been saving the best for last: Prabhupada's disciple Yamuna Devi. The voice of this queen of kirton is like some celestial strains falling like shimmering rain from Gokula. Govindam adi purusam - tam aham bhajami, govindam adi purusam - tam aham bhajami. I am in heaven just thinking about that recording. [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 07-03-2001).] [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 07-03-2001).]
  6. Welcome to the forums, Puru! I noticed that your postings are much, much shorter here than your ones on VNN.
  7. Good point, Gauracandra. I attended my 30 year high school reunion last night and had a great dialogue with a Christian preacher classmate about Paul Tillich’s book on hermenutics and Thomas Aquinas v.s. St. Augustine. Because we had this life long bond, having known each other since childhood, we were able to connect across a wide gulf in our disparate religions leanings. Satyaraj: I do not know what you mean by ‘hellish discipline’. Personally, I tend to vacillate between being a total recluse and craving loads of human contact with many different people. I feel there are merits to both and that, depending on the individual and different junctures in his/her life, there are many benefits to be derived from each extreme. One yogi friend of mine in Denver that has an Indian guru used to say back in 1972 that the group rituals are secondary to private sadhana such as meditation. I think he was only partially correct, given the power of group kirton, which we all have experienced directly. There is one thing that I never quite felt comfortable with and that is how family and friends react to a Roman Catholic cum Vaishnava. Even if it is not outright persecution, the incredulity alone I find difficult to deal with. Sometimes I sense a genuine feeling of betrayal on their part, as though I had sold military secrets to some enemy nation. There was a similar experience when I switched my affiliation from GM/ISKCON to the Hindu community outside of that institution. No doubt these are more a result of an internal conflict that I need to resolve (sort of a type of stage fright, if you will), but certainly the ‘not fitting in’ syndrome is a very real component of all modern societies. Perhaps it is just human nature to want everyone to assimilate to the geographic norms. The tragedy of that is that rich traditions tend to die out as a result. What is refreshing is that one large American corporate client of mine is taking great pains to promote internal diversity in their organization with annual cultural events and even going so far as to allow gay rights activists to display banners for their parades in their atrium concourse (not that there’s anything wrong with that! . [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 07-01-2001).]
  8. Oh, lotus-born one, it was actually 1974 (the RDTSKP era), but you were close. We had some great laughs at the Washington D.C. temple. Back then you knew me as bhakta Mark and I played the musette (a Chinese version of the Indian double reed instrument called a shanai). Anyways, back to kirtaniyas: Lata Mangeshkar - a true diva! I listen to her recording w/Bhimsen Joshi (Ram Shyam Gun Gaan) all the time while driving in my SUV. It tends to transport one to a higher place and is a sure fire stress buster. The quality of her unparalleled soprano voice is like a cyrstal clear white diamond of the highest grade. Another great bhajaniya was a little old sadhu that used to chant at the MahaLakshmi temple in Mumbai (Bombay). He was accompanied by harmonium and strings and I felt as though I was floating through Vaikuntha.
  9. My Dear 4-faced one: No need to apologize. You never offended me because you never caught up with me in the first place. Perhaps your intentions were to just have a casual conversation. It is just that I was not all that willing to find out at the time. We always had a friendly relationship as far as I can remember. We first me on Visnujana's bus in Pittsburgh, if memory serves me. As far as why I was gray-listed (as opposed to actually being black-listed) - that is anyone's guess. I never actually confronted the perpetrators.
  10. Hey Brahma Das! Here is a flash from the past, but you may not remember it. During the L.A. rathayatra of 1979 I was wearing a crazy duck mask (the temple authorities had me on a 'list' at the time) to hide my identity and you kept following me around in the crowd (apparently with the intention of unmasking me). I knew you were trying to get to me, so I kept dodging off into the masses and you never succeeded in catching up to me.
  11. Jagat Baba: I guess I was not clear in my posting. I did not intend to give anyone the impression that I feel that being 100% authentic was somehow superior from either an aesthetic standpoint or a spiritual one. I just thought it would be interesting to compare the western Vaishnava’s singing with that of the Indian born kirtaniyas. At any rate, some more analyses: Saccidananda Das – Hats off to his interpretation of the songs of Sri Bhaktivinode Thakur. I guess I have a particular empathy for him as a musician, since we both tend to speed up and slow down our tempos while performing, unless there is a rhythm section to keep us even. He definitely enhanced the ambience at Krsna Balarama Mandir on many occasions. His choice of studio musicians was to be applauded, particularly the flautist. Paban Das Baul – If you have not heard his CD yet, it is a must. Reminiscent of our own homegrown American blue grass styles. Pandit Ragunath Panigrahi – I would have to call him the Pavarotti (maybe even the Caruso) of modern raga performers. His 3 CD set of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda is hauntingly beautiful, to say the least. This is more of the classical north Indian genre than the Bengali kirton styles, which for a purist like myself makes it stand out. Hey Jagat Ji – who was that one old male alto Baba that used to lead the kirtons in Vrndavan after the lectures (I am thinking of the place where Ananta Das Baba used to give path)? That had to be some of the sweetest Bengali kirton I have ever heard.
  12. An excellent topic, Jagat! Since you brought it up, here is my humble analysis of various kirtaniyas. I do not consider myself a music critic, but do have a considerable amount of formal training as a composer of classical and jazz music, and know some of the fundamentals of improvisation in ragas. The late Visnujana Swami – a very strong keyboard backup to some ethereal vocals, but not very Indian sounding. In fact, his renderings were much more a form of rock n roll/raga fusion. His recordings with Acyutananda Das definitely shake down the house. Anyone know where one can obtain a copy of those? Baradvaja Das – extremely authentic (especially with his South Indian bhajans). The man is an artist in every sense of the word, both in the visual arts as well as musically. Visnujana Swami was an ardent admirer of his style and emotive approach. Vanamali Das Babaji – you had to be there! Hypnotic in the extreme, and that is about as good as it gets. Agnidev Das – has a strong R&B quality. Extremely polished as a performer, but as in the case of Visnujana Swami – not very Indian sounding. Jayasacinandan Das – very professional and relaxed. To be continued…
  13. Someone ought to sue the pants off the oafish lout. He probably does not even have the resources to mount any kind of legal defense, which means a court action would drive him and his ridiculous campaign into oblivion.
  14. That website raises some important issues. GM/ISKCON do try to get a lot of mileage with the purported connection with Madhvacaraya, despite the tenuous nature of such claims of that being an earlier branch that Gaudiya Vaishnavism is derived from.
  15. Good to see that you have picked up on this thread where you left off at VNN, Jagat Ji (what the heck is up with that site?). How is the Sanskrit repository going? I have not heard from Neal for awhile now.
  16. It is shocking to see the level of enmity towards various Vaishnava groups in India by many on this forum. Just one recommendation on this matter: Even if one knows that Vaishnavas are behaving badly, the injunctions are there regarding not calling attention to the sinful acts of others (what to speak of Radha-Govinda bhaktas that are stumbling). What is going to be accomplished by this activity, other than reaping some bad reaction as a result? Food for thought... Discuss as you please. I probably will not be reading any more of the material here, as I do not want to be affected by the Vaishnava ninda.
  17. I suggest Maitreya, Sevak and others stop parroting their guru's statements and indulging in this disgraceful mudslinging. They would be better off to actually study the persons they are slandering firsthand before posting those types of deprecatory remarks. It would serve them right if they were slapped with a libel suit. Their faction makes such a big deal about trnad api sunicena, but when it comes to applying it in practice, they seem to forget all about its meaning.
  18. That is sad news indeed. Truly a mahatma of the highest order that respected all Vaishnavas and was always a perfect gentleman. He used to introduce various Western candidates interested in initiation to various babajis from the Nitai Gaur Radhe Syam line. Hey, Jijaji, where have you been hiding? I left you a message by phone last night. [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 06-12-2001).]
  19. Whether or not a society is organized by caste or is casteless, the basic unit is still the nuclear family. When that unit is undermined, then there is a problem. Cults do damage by separating members from the community and the nuclear family. Boarding schools are inherently innocuous, but when they are mismanaged and consequently cause dysfuntion in families, then they are far from benign. Just because we are Vaishnavas, does not mean we are immune from falling prey to cultish traps. All the more reason we need to be vigilant in maintaining the integrity of families. Otherwise we do not stand out from typical western cultures. Like all interpersonal relationships, guru-sisya ties are complex and also not ordinary matters.
  20. You are entitled to your opinion of course, but then again what makes you so sure that you know anything about the knowledge of the author, that you are concluding that his points were so aptly refuted? Do you think you just might be mistaken about that?
  21. The tone is reactionary and offensive to many mainstream Vaishnavas that by implication are being lumped in with charlatans. Not something to be proud of JNDas. You disappoint.
  22. Gauracandra: Like the others you are just making excuses for yourself for not hitting the books. Why do you think the acaryas wrote so many treatises, and who do you think they were for? If you think the points in the article have been well-rebutted, then you just disappoint the rest of us that can clearly see that they have not. I am sorry if this offends you, but it is not a personal vendetta, just a matter of upholding longstanding traditions and teachings that many of us consider sacred.
  23. Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji would hardly be interested in any affiliation with such an organization, believe me! I think it is lucky enough that he is showing compassion by giving diksa to so many of the ex-ISKCON/GM members that have become disillusioned and feel cheated by the so-called bhagavata parampara. As far as Satyaraj, I think he suffers from severe xenophobia and needs psychiatric help to overcome that condition. Let us pray for him and not incite him further, as we do not want to see him go out and do something violent like those disturbed high school kids here in the U.S. that went on shooting sprees recently. Best that we do not discuss with him directly, just make some comments to try and steer him back to the path of righteousness.
  24. Who is this Satyaraj character? He is always making some derogatory remark about sadhus. Besides his claims that the great saints Dr. Kapoor has written about are not accepted by most Gaudiyas are totally ridiculous. Maybe not accepted by Satyaraja's little elitist clique, but certainly by the mainstream practitioners. Of course, Satyaji would not know that now would he, since he shuns all association with the orthodoxy. It is just laughable that he sits there walled up in some institution poking fun at the outside world. Perhaps some day he will come out into the sunlight from his dark self-imposed tomb and actually associate with the mainstream members of the tradition. Then he will come away with a totally difference perspective. In the meantime, we can wait. [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 05-15-2001).] [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 05-15-2001).]
  25. That was quite a nasty comment Mr. Satyaraj. Wasn't it Madras Krsnadas Baba that put up so many ISKCON/GM folks with nightly accommodations over the years at Radha Kund? [This message has been edited by Ananga (edited 05-15-2001).]
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