Before we lead the kirtana, when Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja was speaking, it made me think of the commentary, it is one of my favourite commentaries about kirtana. Maharaja said how in everything else there is very deep philosophy, how there must be something practical, and as soon as he said that, I thought of this commentary where Prabhupada is giving the philosophy of chanting kirtana and dancing.
Prabhupada is giving the commentary in the first verse of the Sad-gosvamy-astaka. He says they were practicing to teach us, he said that simply teaching will not do unless we practice. This is a very important
thing – practice. Practical life. Simply quoting verses like a parrot will not be very much beneficial. One must apply jnanam vijnanam samhitam. Jnanam means to know the thing. And vijnanam means to apply the thing in practice. Jnanam vijnanam samhitam. So we must develop the vijnanam. How to be practical. That is taught by the goswamis. Krsna kirtanam gana nartana – always chanting the glories of Krishna. Kirtana gana nartana. Nartana means dancing. The more you dance the more you become light. This means the burden of material contamination becomes reduced. Dancing is so nice. But even if you don’t feel it easy, if you dance by force, that will also help us. Krsna kirtana gana nartana parau premamrtambho nidhi. By
dancing we should develop our growing Krishna consciousness, love for Krishna. This is a nice verse. Krsna kirtana gana nartana parau premamrtambho nidhi. Then we’ll merge into the ocean of love for Krishna.
So this is a higher stage of ecstasy, Krishna consciousness. Always chanting Krishna’s name, dancing in ecstasy, dancing into the ocean of love for Krishna. This leads to perfection. Dhiradhira jana priyau. In this way we should become friendly to many people. So, there are two classes of men. Dhira sober, and the other class is not. So both of them will be pleased by Krishna kirtanam. We have practical experience. When there is Krishna kirtanam, people of all classes become very much pleased and enjoy. As soon as kirtana will be pure sankirtana, not artificial, not professional.
There are many professional dancers. But even if you do not know the art of dancing, if you simply dance in ecstasy, for Krishna’s love, that will be appreciated by the guru. . Krsna kirtana gana nartana parau. This is the art. One is not required to become a Vedantist. Simply if one chants Krishna’s name, feelingly and in ecstasy dances, he is more than the Vedantist. Actually vedanti means one who knows the ultimate knowledge. Veda. Veda means knowledge. And anta means ultimate. Vedanta. And what is that ultimate knowledge? Krishna. So one who has understood Krishna and Krishna’s love, is dancing. Then what more can Vedanta do? That is first class realization. Krsna kirtana gana nartana parau. So much to say. But
to summarise what Prabhupada is speaking about perfection of vedanta, of the goal of knowledge of the Vedas: He is saying actually that one who knows Krishna and chants Krishna’s name in love, what more can Vedanta do for you? Because that is the goal and it is the conclusion of all vedic scriptures, the goal of chanting the Holy Name of the Lord.
Prabhupada specifically states here what kind of sankirtana. He says as soon as kirtana will be pure sankirtana, not artificial, not professional. There are many professional dancers, but even if you don’t know the art of dancing and you simply dance in ecstasy, for Krishna’s love, that will be appreciated very much. So Srila Prabhupada is explaining how the goswamis in Vrndavan practically taught by their example. This is jnanam vijnanam samhitam. There is jnanam - theoretical knowledge, and vijnanam - realized knowledge. So one who simply chants, Prabhupada says that one who chants with Krishna’s love, is better than the best Vedantist.
The other day we were reading a commentary from Caitanya Bhagavata by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati thakur. He was giving a commentary of a verse of how i would chant and dance all night long, and would not sleep. And he was saying there were many people who could chant nicely, sing sweetly, recite Bhagavatam, but their motivation was not pure. But he said in the case of Haridas Thakura, he was chanting all night long. He was just chanting sincerely, feelingly, for the benefit of himself and for the benefit of the conditioned souls. He says that therefore there is a difference between heaven and hell for one who chants professionally and one who chants feelingly for Krishna’s love. There is a word that is used in the
commentary: feelingly. When the devotee who chants feelingly for his own benefit.
Of course we know in the case of Haridasa Thakura, he was certainly not thinking of his own benefit, for his own eternal benefit. He was not chanting so that he could become wealthy, so that he could become famous. He was feelingly chanting, calling out Krishna’s name with love. The only benefit that he wanted was of increasing his affection and his attachment to the Lord for the Holy Names. So he was chanting for his own benefit, and for the benefit of other conditioned souls, others who could hear his chanting. Of course there is a long story in that connection, and we were reading about it the other day, and how materialistic and unappreciative we are in not recognizing how i was chanting the holy name of the lord. Still we should understand what it means to chant the holy name with Krishna’s love, what Prabhupada is speaking about here.
The only attention we should be trying to attract is Krishna’s attention, by our pure chanting. Kirtana should be pure, not artificial, and not professional. And even if you do not know the art of dancing, but you simply
chant Krishna’s name with love, that will be appreciated by the guru. So I just hope, and I’m sure Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja does too, that its not just deep philosophy, but practical application. Practical application is the deepest philosophy. If you do not chant with Krishna’s love, then what will Vedanta do for you? If we don’t know how to chant with Krishna’s love, then we should feel the desire to know how to chant with Krishna’s love. The act of feelingly chanting is very purifying to the heart, because it is very attractive to Krishna. If Krishna is attracted, then He is very much inclined to appear in the heart.