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Kirtan at the East Village Temple

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Kirtan at the East Village Temple


Published by <address class="vcard author">acyuta.gopi</address>

on <abbr class="published" title="2009-01-13T20:14:37-0500">January 13, 2009</abbr>



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All I knew was that Gaura was coming and there would be kirtan, and that was enough for me. Other people who were attending the kirtan program knew more than I did and had been asking me questions all along that I didn’t have the answers to, so finally I asked Ananta that Saturday morning. “The program this afternoon is at the sanctuary?” he nodded as we sat in our house temple room chanting our rounds and admiring a new set of Gaura Nitai deities that I had just received hours ago. I nodded back and turned my attention to the deities for a few seconds longer, concentrating on their beautiful faces and then turning back to him. “What are we doing?” He paused and chuckled which made me start to laugh as I thought about how odd it was that the kirtan was hours away and I still had no clue what was going on.

“We’re going to do kirtan.” He said simply as though that was all the answer in the world. That much I had known.

“Will there be talking?” Ananta simply shrugged. I took that to mean a maybe and was content to leave the issue as it was. I knew that there would be kirtan, and possibly some talking, everything else, I would find out as we did it. Sometimes that was the most exciting way to do things like this, just find out when you get there.





When we got to the sanctuary it was minutes to 4pm and the start of the program. I greeted the other side of my kirtan family, and gave long hugs to Vrinda, Revati and Kairava whom I hadn’t seen in months. Taking the time to share a few words with them, I realized at one point that somehow, the kirtan had started without me. I had never felt so out of it in my entire life. One minute, I thought that Gaura was going to say hello to a few people and the next thing I knew, I heard him singing the first few notes along with the harmonium and Ananta was playing softly on the mrdanga. Luckily the kirtan was just in the other room and it took 30 seconds for me to get from one place to the other. I sat down and looked at Radha Murlidhara and smiled, happy to be doing kirtan for these gorgeous deities.



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The deities on the side of the altar, Doyal Nitai Vijaya Gauranga are some of my favorite deities that I have ever seen. Neem deities, that come from the birthplace of Lord Nityananda, Ekachakra they are beautifully carved and have a wonderfully unique stance. Mahaprabhu stands with one arm in the air, receiving the mercy of the holy name and with the other hand, distributes it freely to everyone that he glances upon. My beautiful Nityananda stands with both arms outstretched giving love of god whole-heartedly, and giving the holy name away wholesale as he is described as doing in so many songs by our great acaryas. Those beautiful golden deities have the power to steal anyone’s heart and bring them to love of Krsna and to the chanting of this glorious kirtan. I could not have been happier that the first stop on this mini kirtan trip was at the sanctuary with those wonderful deities.

The kirtan was also attended by a special guest. One of my favorite kirtaniyas, a child by the name of Jaya Bala came to chant with us. This little boy is so devoted to kirtan and always looks so happy to be in the kirtan that it reminds me that the next generation of kirtaniyas is starting their lives in a place that we who are already here cannot even imagine. They are already so far advnaced on the path of devotion and kirtan that I can’t wait to see the things that they will be able to accomplish in their lives. I feel like I just want to be able to set a little of the groundwork for them so that they can change the world when they get here. Children like Jaya Bala give me full faith that the next generation of children will be able to change the world completely and will be able to touch people’s lives wherever they go, spreading the holy names and creating a kirtan revolution.



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Besides the kirtan that we did, Gaura spoke a little about some things that had been in his heart lately. He posed the question of how we can take Mahaprabhu’s movement and keep it relevant in our everyday lives. How can we take Kirtan and make it present with us everyday? We were able to get some feedback from those who attended the kirtan and I found that thought became my meditation not only just for the kirtan tour that we did for the next few days, but since that time. I find myself asking that question at different parts of the day: what have I done today to carry Mahaprabhu’s kirtan movement with me?

Before I knew it I looked and it was nearly 8pm. We had done kirtan for about four hours. We had not been able to do kirtan for that long in a while all together and even still it felt as though we were just getting started. Sometimes that saddens me about yoga studios. We aren’t able to do kirtan for as long as we would like to do. I remember the previous years when we would all attend the Festival of Inspiration in New Vrindavan Moundsville, West Virginia and while some devotees would go and obtain their inspiration in some of the different seminars held during the retreat weekend, crowds of the youth would sit in the grasses in the hills of West Virginia and do kirtan all day for hours. We would start in the morning, take a short break for lunch and then we would not stop until 7pm sometimes getting in as much as 10 hours of kirtan in a day. I had begun to miss those days and in the sanctuary I was able to go back to that time when after four hours of kirtan you could feel your soul just begin to stir and starting to dance and there were no other thoughts except engaging in more kirtan for at least the next three or four hours.








With this past experience I felt as though people not only got the feel-good kirtan that Gaura and As Kindred Spirits always tries to provide, but for the first time people were able to go a little deeper, and for the first time we were able to connect with those who attended the kirtan a little more, getting their thoughts on the different ideas that have come up in discussion and understanding the suggestions and advice that they were able to give.



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As the first day, I would say it went marvelously well. Jaya Bala certainly enjoyed it. I saw his face when his mother told him that it was time for them to go home and I wish I could have captured his sweetness in a bottle so that I would have been able to take a little of it on a rainy day. There are dualities that come with everything, and doing kirtan is no different. The planning that goes along with it and trying to maintain your every day job with the job of kirtan that we would prefer doing all the time is sometimes hard to manage, but when I see Jaya Bala I know that it’s completely worth it. Seeing the love for kirtan that he has and the way he is able to express himself, lets me know that we must pave the way for the next generation. We have to make the road for them to be able to come and brighten the future for the rest of us, I just can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish.

Happy Kirtan

Acyuta Gopi

Acyuta Gopi is a member of As Kindred Spirits and a powerhouse kirtan leader in her own right. Browse the Downloads page for some of her transforming kirtans.


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