Qualifications for Kirtan

Apr 5 2019 - Video
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Ecstatic Kirtan or Maya Kirtan? The standard of kirtan, dancing and the use of musical instruments in performing Sankirtan of the Holy Name of Krishna according to our previous acharyas. Apologies - the audio cuts out between 29:37 to 35:00 due to a connection problem.

Srila Prabhupada

“If one chants the holy name of the Lord just to make a show, not knowing the secret of success, he may increase his bile secretion, but he will never attain perfection in chanting the holy name.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 7.95-96 purport)

Regarding your question about kirtana, practically we are not concerned with the instruments. They are used sometimes to make it sweeter, but if we divert our attention for using the instruments more, that is not good. We can accept everything for Krishna’s service, but not taking the risk of diverting attention to any other thing which will hinder our Krishna Consciousness. That should be our motto, or principle. (May 26th 1969)

Regarding dancing, our dancing is ecstatic. We need not waste time 5 hours daily instead of chanting, for practicing. We are not professional dancers, neither we require it. These things should not be encouraged. (19th April 1973)

Your business is not to, satisfy the crowd. Your business is satisfy Krishna, and then crowd will be automatically satisfied. We are not going to please the crowd. We are going to give them something, Krishna. So you should be very much careful whether you are delivering Krishna in the right way. (Bhagavad-gita 7.1, LA, Dec.2, 1968)

“So during the guru-puja, I remember some brahmacaris, they had developed a kind of boogying, doing rock dancing. This was going on during guru-puja and all of a sudden Prabhupada, like a conductor, like a maestro, he stopped the guru-puja cold in an instant and we were all frozen in place. Then Prabhupada gestures to the picture of the Panca-tattva in the distance and how their arms are upraised and he says, “Dance, dance like Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” So we were all corrected because we were all getting into disco dancing, twisting and boogaloo and shingaling and whatever. (Suresvara das)

“Srila Prabhupada gave a Sunday feast lecture about kirtan, and he said things that I never heard him say at other times, particularly not during a lecture. He remarked that melodic instruments, including the harmonium, are not meant for kirtan, and he explained why. He said that the ear will automatically follow musical strains, and then our attention will be diverted from the mantra. (Revatinandana Dasa)

"I agree that kirtan should be moderated and most importantly concentration on Krishna. However I do remember in CC, Adi 7, when Mahaprabhu speaks to Prakasananda S, He says that Isvara Puripada recited a verse, which is the essence of the SB, 11.2.40, unmada van nrtyati loka bahyah; A devotee sometimes sings and dances like a madman. Also I do remember some kirtans where Srila Prabhupada was present and devotees were pretty wild, but as long as they were concentrating on the Deity, he seemed pleased." [ISCON, GBC]

Srila Sridhara Maharaja

“Congregational chanting must be under the guidance of a man of a higher plane, otherwise that should be left. In the congregational chanting, it should be under the guidance of the suddha-bhakta. Others may join the congregational kirtana, but the guidance must be under a pure devotee. Otherwise we should not mix with that. Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes this. Suddha-bhakta anugati, kirtana haile sekhana yaya. Then we may attend that function, otherwise not. There will be nama-aparadhas – offences committed against the Holy Name. we should not participate there.”

Sarasvati Thakura

kirtane jahar, 'pratistha-sambhar,'
tahar sampatti kevala 'kaitava'

"One who performs kirtana but is full of pratistha, such a person is only rich with with the cheating propensity.” (Vaisnava Ke 13)

“By making a show of hari-nama, people are dancing their way to hell. ” (Srila Prabhupadera Goloka-vani)

Imperfect chanting of the name of Krsna is unable to cause the highest spiritual awakening within the jivas. (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s Siksastakam 1)

Kirtana that is shouted with the intention of pleasing the senses through melody, beat, and tempo is not kirtana; actually it is not kirtana for Krishna. (Srila Prabhupadera Goloka-vani)

As long as we do not join the perfect Krsna-kirtana conducted by genuine devotees, maya will delude us in various ways. And if we join the kirtana of the blinded self-deceivers who are not anxious for their true well-being then surely we will not attain our own true well-being. If we follow people who never receive instructions from the true Vaisnavas but just imitate them by decorating their bodies with tulasi beads and other marks, and who shout out what appears to be names of God in external sound alone, we will not find sri hari-nama-sankirtana. (The Gaudiya, 23. 10)