Today, I attended my first kirtan. For those who don’t know, a kirtan is when people come together to join in singing the Holy Names of Lord Krishna:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
I waited with eager excitement for the Hare Krishnas to arrive. I was really excited to be in a kirtan for the first time. One of them really inspired me. He was sitting there, and whenever he was not engaged in conversation with us, he was engaged in conversation with Krishna, by chanting his names. I was really amazed. Every time we fell silent, I would hear him chanting the mantra. He wasn’t embarrassed. He wasn’t afraid of what others would think. He just kept chanting. It was amazing.
All of us sat down to participate in the kirtan. I could absolutely not wipe the smile off my face! I was just so excited and so happy! I just kept smiling away! After I got a little comfortable with singing, I closed my eyes. I closed my eyes and tried to envision Krishna. I felt so much peace. I felt amazing. I noticed that when my eyes were open, I was more distracted. Thoughts were still running through my mind during the kirtan, but there was a sense of clarity. When my eyes were closed, I could focus more on the kirtana and the Holy Names. When my eyes were open, lots of things were catching my attention. Like someone getting up, someone moving around, someone doing something with their mobile phone, etc. I was concentrating on whether others were singing off-key or not. But when I closed my eyes, I entered a whole other world. I was just singing and I was filled with so much peace. I noticed I started tearing up. I didn’t know why. I was singing with my eyes closed until I thought I heard someone crying. No one was actually weeping, as I thought. That person was just singing. But I opened my eyes. That’s when I got distracted. I couldn’t get completely back into the mood I was in a moment earlier. It was still blissful nonetheless. I closed my eyes again. And when the kirtan ended, and I opened my eyes, I felt like I just woke up from a good night’s sleep. It felt like I had just had the best sleep ever. It was incredible. It was Krishna. He really is there in the form of His Name.
The singer was wonderful. She had such a beautiful voice and she played the kartalas so well. After the kirtan, she gave a lecture about how we are not this body. She told us that the purpose of our existence is to connect with God and to develop our love for God. Without this consciousness, we are “decorations on a dead body”. I really liked that. She gave an incredible lecture and we spoke a little afterwards. She is a wonderful person as well. It made me feel so nice to be around devotees. This is like the second time I’ve been around other Hare Krishna devotees and it really feels wonderful. It feels nice to be around people who are like me. I’m like, “Yeah, these guys get me. They know what I’m talking about. They have answers to the questions I ask. They inspire me.” It really is true. Association of devotees is very helpful and very important.
Haribol! Kirtaniyah sada hari 🙂
I just can’t wait for my next kirtan!