Archive for Kirtan

New York Kirtan @ Tompkins Square Park
→ KKSBlog

Picture an older Indian man, in his late sixties, who never travelled outside of his country before. Taking a boat trip on a rickety cargo liner where he suffered from sea sickness, dizziness and also had two heart-attacks. He arrived at the docks of New York City after 37 days with ian umbrella, several books and about 40 Rupees in his possession. He had no money, no friends, no followers, neither his youth nor good health, but he had a mission – A mission to present the spiritual knowledge of the Vedas to the Western world.

He tried preaching at Indian societies and held programs in local yoga studios but no one would take his message. Finally, he ended up in the Bowery, a rundown part of the city, in the midst of the hippy revolution. And one day he decided to visit a nearby park, sit under a tree and sing…

Now fast forward 54 years…

The crowds are gathering under the same tree. People who never met him in person, but who are inspired by his story, his legacy and his dedicated followers. On the eve of the annual festivals of Indian celebrations, a group of dedicated musicians are ready to honour and relive those moments from the past. To get a glimpse of those times in the park where it all started, Tompkins Square Park.

It won’t be long before you will be able to travel back in time, sitting under that very same tree as Srila Prabhupada once did, while listening to the soon to be released album with artists like Kadamba Kanana Swami, Jahnavi Harrison, Gauravani and others.

Stay tuned! 

The article " New York Kirtan @ Tompkins Square Park " was published on KKSBlog.

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Chant Up with Gaura in NYC Every Month in 2019
→ GauraVani.com

Join us for a monthly celebration of the ancient, mystical tradition of mantra music beginning Feb 17, 2019 and ending Feb 16, 2020. Elevate your spirit and cultivate community through the joyous, sacred sound of kirtan at the all-inclusive United Palace of Spiritual Arts.

Chant UP with Gaura Vani is a monthly world-music experience of kirtan. It is true spiritual artistry – it’s about connecting to the sacred – whatever that means for you – through participatory performance art and the ancient practice of communal singing. Kirtan is a musical form of storytelling, shared recitation and call-and-response that opens the heart and allows a glimpse of the beauty that lies in our human and spiritual connections.

Come experience a celebration of music, spirit and community led by Gaura Vani. Raise your voice and vibration!

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Stay on the bus!
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 09 July 2014, Serbia, Summer Camp, Lecture after kirtan)

In Mayapur, there is a bus that stops everyday in front of the gate of our Sri Caitanya Candrodaya Mandir. When one gets on the bus in Bengal, it is not uncommon that people are involved in a heated discussion because Bengali people are fiery people and they like politics. So often times, great discussions would be held on the bus and even when the original people who started the argument got off the bus, the argument stayed on the bus the entire day.

So in the same way, even when the people who started the kirtan have left, the kirtan just ‘stays on the bus’. So like that, may the kirtan stay with us even when we are no longer here together. The kirtan carries on – akhanda kirtan, endless kirtan. Kirtaniya sada harih, that ongoing chanting is our desire. In order to come to that point, one must become thoroughly honest. A sadhu is one who is sadhava, thoroughly honest, and when we become thoroughly honest, then automatically we must become humble – because everybody knows how many mistakes we make all the time. Everybody knows how limited we are really.

When there is a success, mostly it is good luck and has nothing to do with us! When there is a failure, it is normal because that is basically where we are at. Considering all that, when we are honest, then humility can finally develop in our heart and maybe then, maybe that day we will be able to always chant the holy name of the Lord.

I am praying for that and I thank you for your kind association upon me, for your enthusiasm. Thank you very much because it is together that we will go back to Godhead, and it is together that we are continuing our spiritual life: sometimes meeting and sometimes not meeting – being apart but we remain together. It is nothing between us, because our only interest is to together make spiritual advancement. So for that, I am grateful because I have been nourished in your association and I am leaving here carrying that with me, taking some energy of Serbia to Italy and will try to drown the devotees in some Serbian ecstasy. In that way, we wait for the Italians to become all ecstatic, and then from there we will drown again another part until the whole world is submerged in the chanting of the holy name!

The article " Stay on the bus! " was published on KKSBlog.

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Follow Gaura Vani’s Concert Schedule
→ GauraVani.com

Don’t miss Gaura when he comes to town. Follow him on Bandsintown and tell friends about it ?

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India Kirtan Adventure 2019 – You are Invited
→ GauraVani.com

We had the most amazing time during our trip in 2018 with my Mom, me and a fantastic group of people – we want to do it again. This time, we’ll head to the ancient land of Orissa (Odisha) and visit the most remarkable and sacred places in the Universe – Jagannath Puri, Konark, Bhubaneswar. We will then head to Mumbai for the annual flower festival and Govardhan Eco Village. Call or email for more info and to register 240-447-0245 vrindarani@gmail.com
Share with friends via Facebook or Bandsintown

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Follow the leader
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 15 September 2015, Durban, South Africa, Kirtan at NJP)

Kirtan means that we have to listen. Just like in chanting japa, in kirtan there is also inattentive chanting. Inattentive chanting means that we sing something else than what the leader is singing and that is what you are doing. Of course, it is very beautiful what you are singing but it is something else. So let us try again. There are some varieties in the tune, it is not just staying the same all the time which means that you have to really listen each time and not go on automatic pilot. There is no automatic pilot in kirtan.

The article " Follow the leader " was published on KKSBlog.

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Krishna Lounge 4/12/18
→ Krishna Lounge

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Krishna Lounge 3-22-18
→ Krishna Lounge

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Krishna Lounge 3-15-2018
→ Krishna Lounge

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Krishna Lounge 3/8/2018 Recording
→ Krishna Lounge

New Feature!

The Krishna Lounge will now be recorded each week and the audio made available online. You can find it hear on the Krishna Lounge website, on SoundCloud under the user “SukhiBhaktaDasa”, and on the Krishna Lounge FaceBook page. Here’s last week’s audio, with kirtans by Sukhi Bhakta and Karuna Mayi, and a talk on courage in spiritual life by Hasya Grami:

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Juggernauts in India this February
→ GauraVani.com

 

 

 

 

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Empowered
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 January 2018, Murwillumbah, Australia, House Programme)

It is said that the pastimes of Lord Caitanya are like the sky and different birds are flying on different levels in that sky. But some birds do not fly at all, for example, chickens; they do not fly. But I tell you, by this kirtan, we are becoming flying chickens!

Prabhupada said, “Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary.” That is a fact. Nothing is impossible. We think we know our limitations. We think we know how far we can take it but with the mercy of Lord Caitanya, it is no longer like that. We astound ourselves. We can do things that were impossible, that we could have never done.

So in this way, we can have faith that somehow or other we will do it. We will make it. That is empowerment. This whole principle of empowerment is just wonderful. We are not restricted by our limitations because we can be empowered to rise above. That is what this kirtan is actually doing: it is empowering us to go beyond anything we ever thought possible – to experience things that we never thought could be.

 

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Kirtan 101
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 13 January 2014, Mayapur, India, Lecture: Kirtan Academy 1)

I would like to say something about kirtan since I like kirtan. There are different sides to it. There is the essential side which is the service that we render by chanting the holy name; engaging our mind and senses in chanting; and then our heart eventually which of course takes some time because the heart is like stone and for stone-hearted persons, the heart doesn’t get so much involved.

Radharani_vrndavan_18 JanuaryThen, there is the musical side which is meant to enhance the transcendental side. It is secondary to the transcendental aspect of the name. In Bengal, there is a culture of singing that we have noticed; especially these long drawn out notes, “Haaaaaa…” that go on for a long time. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta didn’t have much enthusiasm about that and if someone was chanting like that for a long time, Bhaktisiddhanta would ask people who “couldn’t sing” to lead the kirtans just to get away from this mood of being professional singers.

It is just like decorating the deities. When you decorate the deities, you should bring out the deity with the decoration. You should not cover the deity with the decoration. If you put so much decoration and just cover the deity; it’s all far out but it doesn’t bring out Krsna then that kind of decoration or alankar, is not desired. One should decorate in such a way that the natural qualities of the deity are being emphasized and magnified!

In the same way, melodies and the voice are meant to support the holy name. Our focus remains on the holy name. So, although some long notes are very nice for musical embellishment but if everything just becomes like, “Haaaa reeee…” and it takes twenty minutes to get through one mantra then it’s a little over the top!

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India Kirtan Adventure – January 15 to 28, 2018
→ GauraVani.com

Join my Mother – Rukmini Devi dasi – and me for a pilgrimage to India in January 2018. It will be a time of sharing deep and profound experiences in Bhakti. To register and for more information contact
vrindarani@gmail.com or 240-447-0245

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Hanumen August-September 2017 Concerts and Retreats
→ GauraVani.com

Hi Friends! We’re keeping the annual tradition going and gearing up for another great summer on the road. New York, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California. We’ll be hosting our traditional Hanumania! retreat on Aug 25-27 in Northport Maine, as well as the Yoga Mandali retreat on Aug 11-13 in Rosendale, NY. We’ll also sing at the Omega Ecstatic Chant on Sept 1-4 and the BhaktiFest on Sept 6-11. Scroll down or click HERE for all tour dates. Come out to dance with us and bring friends ?

As always, our BIG thanks to Call And Response Foundation for organizing the tour and taking care of us so nicely!

2017 Tour Dates:
Thursday August 10, Kirtan, 7:30pm Yoga Mandali, Saratoga Springs, NY
https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/adm/main_enroll.asp?studioid=25097&tg&vt=7&lvl&stype=-8&view=day&trn=100000017&page&catid&prodid&date=08%2F10%2F17&classid=0&prodGroupId&sSU&optForwardingLink&qParam&tabID=8

Friday August 11-13, Yoga Mandali Retreat, Lifebridge Sanctuary Rosendale NY
http://www.callandresponsefoundation.org/retreats/17/yoga-mandali-hanumen-retreat

Wednesday August 16, Kirtan 7:30pm Kripalu, 57 Interlaken Rd Stockbridge MA www.kripalu.org

Friday August 18, Kirtan 7:30pm Raven’s Wing Yoga, 7:30pm, Branford CT
19 S Main St Branford CT 06405
www.ravenswingyoga.com

Saturday August 19, Kirtan 7:30pm Roots to Wings Yoga, 76 Newburyport Turnpike Newburyport MA 01951 www.rootstowings.com

Sunday August 20 Kirtan 7pm The Funky Om, 195 E Main St, Huntington, NY 11743 www.thefunkyom.com
https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/asp/main_enroll.asp?fl=true&tabID=8

Tuesday August 22 7:30 The Funky Om, 195 E. Main St, Huntington NY 11743

Thursday August 24 7:30 Kirtan Nobleboro ME

Friday August 25-27 Hanumania Northboro ME

Friday September 1-4 Omega Ecstatic Chant, Rhinebeck NY

Friday September 8-10 Bhaktifest, Joshua Tree CA

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Nityananda – New Single from The Mayapuris
→ GauraVani.com

Here’s one of the most Beautiful offerings I’ve heard in quite some time. The way The Mayapuris have layered the sounds and allowed the track to slowly bloom like a lotus, pulls us like a tractor beam into another dimension where Lord Nityananda reigns as the all worshipful Lord. Hearing this track reminded me again of how powerful sound is and how especially spiritual sound can be a gateway to spiritual world. This is a must listen!
The track is available here: http://lnk.to/nityananda
Link to video preview: https://youtu.be/Bbqg_ll6XU8

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“Which service is the best?”
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 08 July 2016, Villa Vrindavan, Italy, Sravanam Kirtanam Festival)

KKS_mayapur_20 Dec

kaler doanidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān gua
kīrtanād 
eva kṛṣṇasya
muktasaga para vrajet (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.3.51)

Kali yuga is an ocean of faults but there is ONE good quality of this age which is the chanting of the holy name and it is accompanied by the mercy of Lord Caitanya. The importance of the holy name can never be overestimated. We may sometimes ask, “Which service is the best?” and there are different answers.  All forms of pure devotional service are equally transcendental but for conditioned souls, it is difficult to get on the transcendental platform. The senses are merciless; they want more and more from us!

In Satya yuga the process of worship is by meditation on the Supreme Lord but now in Kali yuga, we got no power to concentrate! In Treta yuga, the process is sacrifice but now that is too difficult and too much trouble. In the Dvapara yuga, the process is through deity worship but now the standard is lowered.  

So what is higher… kirtanam (chanting) or smaranam (remembering)? The answer is, in the conditioned state it is KIRTANAM. Kirtanam is the higher service. In the transcendental state, it does not matter. Radharani remembered Krsna and then automatically chanted! So we hear and chant about Krsna, and then we remember. The more we hear about Krsna, the more we begin to understand how he is all attractive and we engage in service. Krsna covers himself from the conditioned souls with the curtain of illusion; devotional service opens the curtain.

Sravanam (hearing), kirtanam, smaranam are the three principal processes in this age! Through these processes, we become transformed. But there is another dimension still. Whatever fruits of love of God one receives, if one distributes that, one will find that he has more than before! It is not just about absorbing ourselves but about GIVING the holy name.

I am not just playing the harmonium, I am playing the people – sharing the holy name and taking people along. This is the meditation; this is the ecstasy, When will my hairs stand on end in ecstasy? Is there any hope?” Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to flood the whole world in ecstasy. The holy name is mystical. On one hand we try to chant nicely and concentrate, etc. and on the other hand, the holy name is Krsna and we get his darshan simultaneously. 

We could be humble if we would be honest and admit that we are full of faults. If only we were humble, we could take shelter of Krsna. Kirtan is also for purification. We are different from a church. We cannot really repent; we are not that sorry actually. We say that it is just human to err and instead of repenting, we celebrate the glories of Krsna and have a happy festival.

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Is “Preaching” Kīrtan
→ The Enquirer

Yes it can be.

But also it can be a big lie.

You can say that all your fundraising is for spreading kīrtan – and that’s nice, but at the end of the day how much kīrtan did you have? A half-hour? Two hours? Four hours? So, is that really a “return on investment”? You worked for 12 to have kīrtan for 4 hours, when actually kīrtan is something anyone can do, anytime, anywhere. Just sit down and do it, and save 12 hours.

OK, so yo are busy “spreading kīrtan.”

But, how do you spread fire without fire? People are using water to spread fire and then wondering why nothing burns. For example, they get completely wrapped up building and managing big temples. While building the thing, they have little time and peace of mind for genuine kīrtan. And after it’s done they run off to build a new one, or run around trying to figure out how to pay the bills.

How much kīrtan do they have?

Still just about as much as they would have had anyway, without the big temple, etc. This is because kīrtan isn’t dependent on anything except love. It’s not dependent on venues, performers, instruments, skills, etc.

If you really are a “pure devotee” whose one and only interest is to spread Krishna kīrtan, your best bet is to just sit under a tree and have kīrtan. Take all the time and energy you would put into “preaching” and “planning” and “managing” and spend it under the tree with Krishna. That’s what pure devotees do, satataṁ kīrtanyanto mām yatantaś ca dṛddhā vratā. 

If you are not really a “pure devotee,” that is fine so long as you don’t lie about it and mislead innocent people. Just say, “I can’t give up building things, running things, bossing people around, organizing things, etc.” That’s honest. Meanwhile do as much kīrtan as you can. Saṁkīrtan includes music, discussion and study of Krishna from śāstra.

Vraja Kishor das

www.vrajakishor.com


Tagged: Kirtan, Preaching

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Soul Passion
→ Seed of Devotion

The man's head was bowed and his hands held slender wooden drumsticks. His hands tapped out rhythm, his foot pounded the bass drum, the sound filled the crowded subway platform.

My eyes drew like magnets to the sticks that flew in blurs from one drum and cymbal to the next, to the next, to the next. Hypnotized, I watched the strange combination of sounds create a song of rhythm.

The A train was taking forever. So I just stared and stared at the drum player bowed over his little symphony, his hands flying in micro movements in perfect timing. I wondered what it must feel like to be so present in the creation of sound until nothing else exists. The man was one with his instrument.

Suddenly, unexpectedly, tears shone unshed in my eyes and I turned away. I stared across the train tracks, surprised. Emotion? At a man playing a drum set? How come?

I probed my heart.

Absorption. Connection. Passion.

To witness someone so absorbed in a passion felt intimate and so beautiful. I felt this longing in my own heart to be absorbed with such passion in a moment and in life.

Today at school for St. Patrick's Day, the music teacher showed my students a video of Irish step dancing. I sat at my desk, and my eyes were irresistibly drawn to the screen, mesmerized by the lightning quick taps. The dancers smiled and moved with grace and beauty. Once again, to my surprise, tears came to my eyes.

Even now, as I remember, the unshed tears are quick to sting my eyes.

Why?

Absorption. Connection. Passion.

I want to live my life with passion. Presence.

But now I ask a good, hard question: What happens when the man packs up his drums? What happens when the dancers step off the stage?

What happens if no one wants to hear? Watch?

What happens when the body starts to decay and the hands can no longer hold drumsticks? The feet can no longer tap?

At the end of the day, does all the absorption, connection, and passion even amount to anything?

I sit here at my desk in the after hours of school and gaze out my classroom windows towards Tomkins Square Park. The image of Srila Prabhupad standing beneath a tree within that park 50 years ago comes to my vision and suddenly tears come to my eyes.

He had such absorption. Such connection. Such passion.

For God. For the holy name. For giving love. He changed the lives of thousands, even millions, including my own life. Without Srila Prabhupad's passion to give love, I wouldn't even have my own name. He has given me purpose and passion in life.

This time, the tears fall.





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Bhakti Immersion Kirtan Festival May 18-21
→ GauraVani.com

It has become a wonderful annual tradition for me to take part in a Bhakti Yoga Retreat at Sivananda Ashram Bahamas with His Grace Radhanath Swami. Although Maharaj is unable to attend this year, we’re keeping the the tradition going. This year, we bring amazing kirtaniyas, who are very dear to my heart, together to this paradisal island for kirtan, storytelling, philosophy, and workshops. Who is coming: Vish, Vrinda, Ananta, Janaki, Acyuta Gopi, Puru, my daughter Revati, and yours truly. Click here to read more about the event and to register. You don’t want to miss it!

Pristine white sand, crystal blue waters, lush tropical gardens, daily yoga practice, excellent vegetarian food – all of that and much more is offered by Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas. It’s a combination of a traditional ashram with the feel of a Caribbean resort. An unforgettable experience.

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Hanumen to Headline Bali Spirit Festival
→ GauraVani.com

YOGA DANCE MUSIC
Ubud, Bali, March 19-26, 2017

Join the Hanumen at one of the world’s most inspiring celebrations of global community, world music, and well-being taking place on the idyllic island of Bali. The Bali Spirit Festival embodies the core mantra of Balinese Hinduism – Tri Hita Karana – to live in harmony with our spiritual, social, spiritual, social, and natural environments.

Through the traditions of yoga, dance, healing, and world music, the Bali Spirit Festival attracts over 7000 people from all over the world every year. The 5-day, 7-night Festival offers you a wide range of events to choose from between 8am – 11pm each day over 1 week, from March 19th – 26th 2017. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

On offer are: interactive workshops & seminars, a lively community market & healing center, a children’s activity zone, yoga classes and vibrant night time programs of live Bhakti and world music concerts, set among the picturesque rice-fields of Ubud, Bali.

Click HERE for tickets and more information.

 

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New Year’s Eve Kirtan Fest!
→ Mayapur.com

Mayapur Festival Committee invites everyone to join the New Year’s Eve Kirtan Festival on 31st December from 7 pm to 12 am at Sri Pancatattva Mandir. Devotees worldwide can take part in this kirtan evening, which will be broadcasted live at Mayapur.tv. Senior Kirtaniyas will lead the kirtan festival. Mayapur receives around three to five […]

The post New Year’s Eve Kirtan Fest! appeared first on Mayapur.com.

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Find The Beloved – Bhakti Pilgrimage to India 2017
→ GauraVani.com

india17Bhakti Pilgrimage January 21 – February 3, 2017
This is becoming a tradition for me to start a new year with a pilgrimage to India. This time, Vish and I – or the Juggernauts, as many of you know us – are joining the amazing Vallabhdas and Madan Mohan for the Bhakti Pilgrimage tour. Spaces are still available, and we invite YOU, our dear Friends, to join us. We will be visiting the splendid Govardhan Eco Village and hear from Radhanath Swami. Then, we’ll be off to Mumbai for the spectacular Flower Festival. Then we will visit Rajastan with its legendary lakes and palaces.

Click here for more details about the itinerary.

Pilgrimage dates are January 21 – February 3, 2017.
$2,700 covers all accommodations, domestic travel and meals. Please visit the Find the Beloved website for more information and to register.

This is a great way to start a new year, and let’s share this experience together.

 

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Kirtan by Coral (on Oct. 6)
→ Krishna Lounge

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His Holiness The Dalai Lama Sends His Blessings for CHANT 4 CHANGE
→ GauraVani.com

 

His Holiness The Dalai Lama has sent us a letter with his blessings for Chant 4 Change.

Click on the-dalai-lama-chant4change-letter to read it.

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Janmastami Kirtan
→ Krishna Lounge

Janmastami was the celebration that took place last Thursday, August 25th, at the temple next door to the lounge. Because of that festival, the program at the lounge was slightly different. Kirtan started at 8pm and went on till 11:30pm. Dinner was served outside of the lounge throughout the night. Here is a clip of a video recording of the kirtan that night.

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Holy Name Festival in Spain 2016
→ KKSBlog

Written by Nimai 

After the Pandava Sena Retreat in Goloka Dhama, Germany we flew to Madrid on Wednesday (10 August) to participate in the Holy Name Festival at New Vraja Mandala. This place is well-known to Kadamba Kanana Swami as he was in charge here from 2000-2008. When we arrived at the farm, Maharaj spoke to some old friends and gave a class in Spanish. However since he had not spoken the language for quite some time, he needed some help from the audience! In that lecture, Maharaj told the story of the bumblebee (abejórro in Spanish) that circumambulated the divine couple before it was chased away by Madhumangal. Radharani then thought Krsna had left and started crying so much that she could not see him anymore. Seeing her tears, Krsna also started crying and thus Kusum Sarovar came into being!

The next day, more people started to arrive however Maharaj took the whole day off to rest as he was very tired from the past few weeks of travel and events. In the afternoon, he did some yoga and only left the room at 7pm and then led a spirited kirtan. Afterward, Agnidev Prabhu, Ojasvi and others continued…

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The highlight of the first day of the festival (Friday) was the 12 hour kirtan where Maharaj sang really mellow as he was the first on the schedule at 11am. Saturday was greatly anticipated. In the morning, there was a program to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of ISKCON but Maharaj didn’t participate as he had to save his energy for the BIG harinama in Madrid which was scheduled to start at 6pm. We went into the city a little earlier by car to buy a few things that we needed. It was Saturday night and the streets were very crowded with all kinds of people and some were doing street performances.

Around 7pm, two buses full of devotees arrived at Plaza Callao, the starting point of the harinama. Yadunandana Swami sang first, followed by Kadamba Kanana Swami. Maharaj led a fired up kirtan for about an hour through the streets of Madrid with only a short bharat natyam dance pause in between. The Spanish people who were already in a festive mood were very favourable toward the devotees.

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When Maharaj got tired, Agnidev Prabhu took over the microphone and shortly thereafter, we travelled back to the farm. As we were passing through Brihuega, the last village before the farm, we saw a large crowd of people gathered in the street. We tried to drive through but eventually had to stop when a few young people were kneeling in front of our car paying their obeisances to us with beers in hand! Others started to shake our car. Also, there was a group of men in bunny costumes and women with beards! Later we found out that it was carnival day in Spain!

In the Caitanya Caritamrta class the next morning, Maharaj spoke about the glories of harinama. He mentioned how kirtan isn’t heard only in the material world but throughout all the universes and our activities are being witnessed by various demigods and personalities like the Sun and the Moon. Maharaj, always good at spontaneous ideas in his classes, gave the example of the carnival we had witnessed the previous night. He said that there is a natural inclination towards celebrating festivals since it is done in the spiritual world and this material world is the perverted reflection of it.

Maharaj also explained that the love of God experienced by Caitanya Mahaprabhu (called sudipdha or blazing fire) is the topmost and at that stage, there is no longer any self-control therefore Lord Nityananda had to always take care of Mahaprabhu. For example when he was jumping really high in ecstatic kirtan, Nityananda would catch him to protect the Lord from hurting himself.

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On Monday, there was another 12 hour kirtan. Again Maharaj sang in an early slot and as Maharaj explained, the mood is less passionate then so it was mellow. He had the second half of the day free for writing and resting. When the temperature had cooled down, Maharaj showed me around the farmland and told me about its history.

The next morning, we left at 6am for the airport to travel to Split in Croatia. We had a stopover in Zurich and during the second flight, we could see the famous Croatian islands on the way!

Visit Flickr to see more photos!

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Boat Festival in London, 31 July 2016
→ KKSBlog

Written by Nimai

In honour of ISKCON’s 50 year anniversary, ISKCON London organized a Boat Festival on the River Thames this past Sunday (31 July). Over 500 guests boarded the Dixie Queen at midday and for six hours we sailed up and down the Thames, with a nonstop kirtan taking place. 

The festival was advertised as a “Chant for Peace” campaign and it was covered in the media. While we travelled on the subway to the city centre to board the Dixie Queen, people recognised us as Hare Krsnas and greeted us very warm-heartedly! One of the touristic highlights of the cruise was when the Dixie Queen approached the famous London Tower Bridge, which then opened for the boat to pass through. Devotees were waving from the bridge with “Chant for Peace” signs in hand and many other people were watching.

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There were many senior devotees and famous kirtan leaders on board, making it a really wonderful event and more than just a public stunt. Radha Londonisvara Prabhu was first on the line-up, and he set the scene with a light melody while everybody got comfortable on the boat. As the main room of the boat had filled up, devotees were eagerly waiting to hear Kadamba Kanana Swami sing. He started his kirtan in a mellow fashion, building up to the high-pace style that many had hoped for. With Jahnavi on the violin, Varun on the mrdanga and Ravi as back-up singer, Maharaj had an excellent team of musicians on the stage with him. Towards the end, Maharaj engaged the crowd even more by making them chant loudly together for about ten minutes.

In reflecting thoughts about the event, Maharaj thanked the organisers and everyone who had participated and emphasised the importance of peace, represented by the Hare Krsna movement.

While lunch was starting to be served downstairs, Dina Bandhu Prabhu sang a beautiful Vrindavan styled kirtan ending with a long and loud, ‘Radheee Shyam!’ Then Mahatma Prabhu started his “reggae-dance” kirtan as he jokingly referred to the tune.

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Agnidev Prabhu was next on the stage. He sang gauranga bolite habe first, followed by different beautiful melodies of the maha-mantra. By his unique voice, he created an ecstatic atmosphere. He expressed his deep gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for everything that Prabhupada had gone through for his disciples and said that Prabhupada would have been proud to see devotees have a Boat Festival on the famous Thames in London!

Last but definitely not least, BB Govinda Maharaj started leading kirtan after a few introductory words. He started very slowly and beautifully but eventually speeded up and got everyone to stand up and dance. It was a wonderful finish to the successful 50 year anniversary festival of ISKCON in London!

*photos by Arjun Bhattacharyya

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Villa Vrindavan in Italy, 2016
→ KKSBlog

Written by Nimai

After leaving the Czech Summer Camp, Kadamba Kanana Swami stayed for one night (04 July) at the Prague temple. He needed this little recess to gain some strength after the busy days at the camp. It was just a quick stop though, as we were already thinking about the upcoming kirtan event in Italy which was happening over the weekend (08-10 July). En route to Florence, we did another stay-over in Berlin where Maharaj did an evening program at the temple.

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On Wednesday (06 July), as we stepped-off the plane in Florence, we knew that we were in for some hot weather. Since we arrived at Villa Vrindavan a few days before the start of the Sravanam Kirtanam Festival, Maharaj had time to settle in and prepare. He even led kirtan a few times before most of the guests arrived, to warm up for the weekend.

On the first day of the festival, Maharaj gave the morning lecture where he spoke from the 12th canto of Bhagavatam. The verse (12.3.51) described Kali yuga and the people in it as an ocean of faults, but Maharaj especially focused on a different aspect i.e. the chanting of the holy name. He elaborated on something he had already said a few times in the recent past which is: chanting is our saving grace! Maharaj explained that we are too weak to perform heavy austerities or to meditate, etc. like people used to do in other yugas, so the only thing that can save us is to chant the holy name and to rely on Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. Maharaj made the point that the importance of chanting can never be overestimated. The question of which service is the “best” came up, to which Maharaj responded by saying that pure devotional service in all its forms is always equally transcendental. However, in our conditioned state, we cannot always see this so in order to uplift ourselves, chanting is the way! He was also asked to say a few words to inaugurate the festival later that day, but in a way this was already done in the morning class!

In the afternoon, Maharaj led a wonderful kirtan in a slightly slower than usual fashion. Madhava Prabhu complimented Maharaj on the kirtan afterward and said that he would steal that tune! After leading kirtan, Maharaj didn’t leave the temple room straightaway but stayed-on to listen to some of the other kirtaniyas.

Since Villa Vrindavan is located on a hill, we struggled to find a suitable route for our daily walk. One day, we went down the hill but when we came back up soaking in sweat, we didn’t do that again!

The temple president showed us around their art museum which has paintings from all kinds of different pastimes. The paintings were really impressive and some took the space of a whole wall as they were that big.

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We stayed for almost week after the festival had ended and Maharaj was asked to give two more Bhagavatam classes so he did. The Bhagavatam verses were from the 6th canto where Prahlad Maharaj was instructing his demoniac friends about the dark well of household life. After speaking about enjoyment and entanglement, Maharaj gave a conclusion on the matter – there is nothing wrong with enjoying and Hare Krsna devotees don’t oppose enjoyment as long as we do not engage in sinful activities because this is how one gets entangled with the material energy again! Rather, we enjoy devotional service.

Maharaj also clarified the meaning of the words ksudratma (small minded person) and mahatma (broad-minded person). He explained how we should try to see the bigger picture of things, to see the long-term perspective and not to live in the moment only. The goal of life is to go back to Godhead after all!

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Since we were in Italy, Maharaj adapted his diet too. He started having salad and stayed true to one of his favourite sayings, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which he would always mention when putting some extra olive oil on his prasadam.

For the remainder of our time in Villa Vrindavan, Maharaj needed to recover from the intense period of events of the previous weeks, including all the travelling and meeting with lots of people! On 16 July, we flew to London next to attend the famous Ratha Yatra there!

Visit Flickr to see all the photos.

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The Holy Name Festival in Spain, 11-14 August
→ KKSBlog

holy_name_festival

The Holy Name Festival takes place in New Vraja Mandala, Spain from 11-14 August 2016. Kadamba Kanana Swami will be attending, as well as many other well-known kirtan leaders. For more information, please visit the festival website

Here is a video clip of an invitation to the festival from Kadamba Kanana Swami. Watch on YouTube

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“Which service is the best?”
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 08 July 2016, Villa Vrindavan, Italy, Sravanam Kirtanam Festival)

KKS_mayapur_20 Dec

kaler doanidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān gua
kīrtanād 
eva kṛṣṇasya
muktasaga para vrajet (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.3.51)

Kali yuga is an ocean of faults but there is ONE good quality of this age which is the chanting of holy name and it is accompanied by the mercy of Lord Caitanya. The importance of holy name can never be overestimated. We may sometimes ask, “Which service is the best?” and there are different answers.  All forms of pure devotional service are equally transcendental. But for conditioned the souls, it is difficult to get on the transcendental platform. The senses are merciless; they want more and more from us!

In Satya yuga the process of worship is by meditation on Supreme Lord but now in Kali yuga, we got no power to concentrate! In Treta yuga, the process is sacrifice but now that is too difficult and too much trouble. In the Dvapara yuga, the process is through deity worship but now the standard is lowered.  

So what is higher… kirtanam (chanting) or smaranam (remembering)? The answer is, in conditioned state it is KIRTANAM. Kirtanam is the higher service. In transcendental state, it does not matter. Radharani remembered Krsna and then automatically chanted! So we hear and chant about Krsna, and then we remember. The more we hear about Krsna, the more we begin to understand how he is all attractive and we engage in service. Krsna covers himself from the conditioned souls with the curtain of illusion; devotional service opens the curtain.

Sravanam (hearing), kirtanam, smaranam are the three principal processes in this age! Through these processes, we become transformed. But there is another dimension still. Whatever fruits of love of God one receives, if one distributes that, one will find that he has more than before! It is not just about absorbing ourselves but about GIVING the holy name.

I am not just playing the harmonium, I am playing the people – sharing the holy name and taking people along. This is the meditation; this is the ecstasy, When will my hairs stand on end in ecstasy? Is there any hope?” Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to flood the whole world in ecstasy. The holy name is mystical. On one hand we try to chant nicely and concentrate, etc. and on the other hand, the holy name is Krsna and we get his darshan simultaneously. 

We could be humble if we would be honest and admit that we are full of faults. If only we were humble, we could take shelter of Krsna. Kirtan is also for purification. We are different from a church. We cannot really repent; we are not that sorry actually. We say that it is just human to err and instead of repenting, we celebrate the glories of Krsna and have a happy festival.

Transcribed by Nimai

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Keshava Kirtan 2015 – Balaram Nityananda Dasa Jaya Radha Madhava
→ Oxford Kirtan

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Keshava Kirtan 2015 – Balaram Nityananda Dasa Jaya Radha Madhava
→ Oxford Kirtan

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Dancing and Chanting Hare Krishna
→ Nitaiprasada

Dancing and chanting Hare Krishna with H.H Kavicandra Swami, Mahavishnu Swami and Harinam Ruci at Sri Sri Jagannath Gauranga Ashram, Bali, Indonesia.

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Nityananda Trayodashi Abhishek at ISKCON Chowpatty on 2016-02-20
→ Gouranga TV – The Hare Krishna video collection

Nityananda Trayodashi Abhishek at ISKCON Chowpatty on 2016-02-20

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ISKCON50 Holy Name Series: HG Agnideva dasa – Part 2 – 04.02.2016
→ Gouranga TV – The Hare Krishna video collection

ISKCON50 Holy Name Series: HG Agnideva dasa – Part 2 – 04.02.2016

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Valentine Prayer
→ Seed of Devotion

"For the living, death is certain; for the dead, birth is certain." - Bhagavad Gita

Radhanath Swami wants his students to learn how to serve someone who is dying. So he asked Barbara Slaine and Henry Weiss to please allow those who serve at The Bhakti Center to participate in their "death doula" training program. Ghanashyam signed up.

For the past three days, Ghanashyam has shared with me stories and points of the training that have brought me to tears, all showing the power and beauty of death.

Today, Ghanashyam called me. "Bhakti," he said, "Today we were given an assignment,"

"Oh really?"

"Yes, we were put into groups and were given the assignment to choose someone in our lives whom we love and to design a way to facilitate their passing from this world. It's called an 'advance directive.' So... I chose you,"

"Really? How so?"

"Well, how we're planning our wedding, I'm discovering so much of what you love. So I said that I would put lots of beautiful draping cloth from the ceiling in warm colors. The bedspread would be in that Jaipur block print that you love.

"Then, when people enter the room they would all be required to approach deities of Radha and Krishna and to bow down and offer respects, no matter who they were. We've been told that when people know that when something pleases the person who is dying, everyone is happy to do what he or she wants. So religion doesn't matter. I was thinking how you love deities and would want everyone to offer their respects as the first thing that they do when they come into the room,"

Tears filled my eyes. I pictured Ragunath's deities, Radha Madan Mohan, in that room.

"Then I was thinking how you love to write, this is a part of your legacy. Maybe some of your writings of your choosing from your blog could be compiled and given to guests, and maybe on beautiful stationery,"

Tears flowed.

"Then I was thinking how when everyone comes out of the room they would all take prasad, and what's more they would serve each other. You love to take prasad and for everyone to serve each other. You would want that.

"And then in the room, there could be a point where we all surround you on the bed and share some words of appreciation, or a special story in honor of you. That's your style - you love these community type of events where everyone must do something, there's no slipping away, for everyone to bond.

"It was beautiful, because when I shared all of these ideas with the whole group, everyone was fascinated. People kept exclaiming how beautiful this all seemed, how special I must be, and 'wow, you really love your fiancee. I feel like I know her so well, I wish I could be there!'"

"Well, hopefully not yet," and we both laughed.

"The people in my group were fascinated by how you love saris," Ghanashyam continued, "and then one of them even suggested that maybe you wear your favorite sari,"

Immediately I thought of my initiation sari - the ivory one with the gold border.

"And there could be a corner where kirtan and bhajans are going on, so that people could go and sing the holy name,"

Tears flowed down my face and I had the most curious experience of being so deeply loved. Ghanashyam knows me on the soul level. He loves me on the soul level.

"Ghanashyam," I said, "This is the most beautiful Valentine's Day gift I could have ever received. Everything you said... this is exactly how I would want to leave this world. With your words and description, I feel unafraid of death, that I will be surrounded by love and my next destination is auspicious.

"Ghanashyam, I want to also meditate on how to facilitate your leaving this world,"

"Yes, it is a beautiful meditation," he said.

Several hours have passed and I realize that if I was to leave the world in such a loving way, the fear of being a nobody has faded away. The burning desire to be world famous or rich or accomplished has vanished. I don't need to be remembered for eons and put down in the annals of history.

All I want is to be surrounded by loved ones and the holy name, to leave a legacy of love. And soon those people who remembered me will pass from this world and no one will actually remember me or mark my space in history.

And that is okay.

Because my soul has moved onward in the journey of love. That is all that matters.

Whichever one of us leaves first, I only hope that I may journey with Ghanashyam towards Krishna even beyond this lifetime. That is my Valentine prayer.



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ISKCON50 Holy Name Series: HG Agnideva dasa – Part 1 – 04.02.2016
→ Gouranga TV – The Hare Krishna video collection

ISKCON50 Holy Name Series: HG Agnideva dasa – Part 1 – 04.02.2016

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24hr Kirtan Mandali_Govind Prabhu
→ Gouranga TV – The Hare Krishna video collection

24hr Kirtan Mandali_Govind Prabhu, Vrindavan

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24hr Kirtan Mandal_ Vrindavan Prabhu
→ Gouranga TV – The Hare Krishna video collection

24hr Kirtan Mandal_ Vrindavan Prabhu

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