Hari-katha Articles KIRTAN vs. CORONA - WHO WINS?


News teams from Mathura again came to Radhe Kunj, Bhakta Bandhav Vrindavan, to hear from us how we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. They came many times to witness our Prasadam distribution not only locally, but all around the different poor villages of Vraja. Now they wanted to know more about our activities, and especially wanted to know about our practice of kirtan, which is said to increase immunity. There have been in depth studies I will share for example, that show:

“The study shows that amateur group singing leads to increases in both positive affect and the production of salivary immunoglobulin A, a protein considered as the first line of defense against respiratory infections. It replicates previous work demonstrating an association between singing and immune function, and suggests a possible influence of musical behavior on well-being and health.”

When the news reporters came, they wanted to interview a Westerner who speaks Hindi, so I spoke with them. In our last news interviews with the Hindi TV channels, devotees were asking for English transcripts of the discussion, so it’s been put below:

Rasik Mohan:

Our Vedic culture teaches how we should dance while doing kirtana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught the devotees to dance in kirtana. By dancing in kirtan, the body will be healthy, and the soul will achieve spiritual strength and satisfaction. Suprasidati – how to be happy? Follow this process of bhakti. In your homes, you can do kirtan together, you can dance in kirtan. This kirtan, singing and dancing, has been discovered to be very good for increasing the immunity system (and protecting against respiratory infections).

Nittin Gautam:

Do you think we will be able to defeat corona by doing kirtan and dancing.

Rasik Mohan:

The coronavirus is a manifestation of global karma in this world. And we will have to accept and tolerate this karma. But our Srila Gurudeva would say, “If you look in the ocean, there are many waves coming one after the other. So in this world, there are so many problems, coming like waves, one after the other. If you want to conquer over all these problems, then there is one method. The Bhagavatam teaches (2.3.10):

akamah sarva-kamo va
moksa-kama udara-dhih
tivrena bhakti-yogena
yajeta purusam param

How to achieve the supreme destination? By intensely practicing the process of bhakti-yoga, such as kirtan, bhajana, japa, and dancing for the pleasure of God, then you will cross over this samsara, and be immersed in the ocean of bliss.

Nittin Gautam:

What is the difference between your previous daily activities and what you do now in the time of the coronavirus lockdown?

Rasik Mohan:

In whatever situation we are in this world, we will never give up the performance of bhakti such as kirtan. Our Haridas Thakura, who was a perfected soul, stated:

khanda khanda hai deha jadi jaya prana
tabu ami vadane na chadi hari nama

“I will never give up chanting the holy names. No matter how much I am attacked and disturbed.”

So in whatever situation we may be, we will not give up our observance of this Bhagavat dharma or Sanatana Dharma.

Nittin Gautam:

Do you think that by chanting harinama, bhagavad-nama, you will be able to be victorious over all obstacles and problems?

Rasik Mohan:

Kirtaniyah sada Harih. By always performing kirtana, then maya, Kali, and all inauspicious spirits will flee in fear. There is a verse in one of our kirtanas:

advaitadi bhakta vrnda nace ghate ghate
palaya duranta kali padiya vibhrate

By witnessing the devotees, headed by Sri Advaita Acarya, ecstatically dancing in kirtan from place to place, Kali, the personification of the darkness of the present age, flees in fear.

There is another important verse in the Bhagavatam (1.1.14):

āpannaḥ saṁsṛtiṁ ghorāṁ
yan-nāma vivaśo gṛṇan
tataḥ sadyo vimucyeta
yad bibheti svayaṁ bhayam

Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified.

Fear personified flees in fear seeing anyone performing nama-kirtana. So the fear that people are experiencing from the coronavirus pandemic, by doing kirtan together, this fear will leave you and you will be free of all tension.

We are amrtasya-putra—the children of immortal nectar. Amrta means that which is beyond death—mrta. When the soul is established in its transcendental nature, then all these other things are very small. We will have no tension whatsoever.

Nittin Gautam:

So by Krsna’s mercy, corona will go away?

Rasik Mohan:

Compared to Krsna’s karuna, mercy, corona is a very small thing. But it is one time now that has come in this world as a lesson to us. We can learn how to properly take care of the environment. How to follow certain basic rules and regulations, understanding that not everything in this world is meant for our own enjoyment. We are trying to enjoy everything, so now we can learn to respect Prthivi-devi, mother Earth. She is our mother. So we should not pollute the Earth, throw garbage here and there recklessly. The Earth is now giving us some lesson. We should learn this. And then going forward, after this lockdown opens, we should act in a better, more holistic manner.


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Damodara-lila – 14 June 1996

You should realize first that “I am not this body. I am the knower; I am the soul of the body.” The relationship of the atma with Krsna is called prema. In this world, prema is called bhakti. Bhakti is causeless. Just as the sun gives heat and light without any reason, and fire burns anything that it comes in contact with, and just as the rivers flow into the ocean—in the same way, the tendency of the mind to be absorbed in Krsna without any cause, is called bhakti. The word, “Bhakti,” can only be used in relation with Krsna, and not with anyone else. A person who engages in Krsna’s bhakti is called a bhakta. The services rendered by a bhakta to Bhagavan Krsna are called bhakti. One shouldn’t engage in rendering services to others and call it bhakti. But people forcibly try to use bhakti for their own purposes. They use bhakti to propagate their conceptions of this material world. “Rastra-bhakti, desh-bhakti, matri-bhakti, and pitri-bhakti,” are some of the terms they use. These terms mean devotion to one’s country and parents. But they use the term bhakti for their own purposes. Nowadays, the terms related to Krsna’s appearance are used for the birthday of any person. For instance, they say, “Jawahar-jayanti, and Gandhi-jayanti.” They use the term, “Jayanti,” for anyone of this world. But, the word—Jayanti is only used for the appearance of Krsna. If it is Wednesday, astami (the eighth day after the full moon), the month of Bhadra (August—September), and the constellation of Rohini (when the naksatra named Rohini is visible in the sky), then that day is called Jayanti. Or else, no other day can be called as such. But, this term is used in many ways. Therefore, bhakti is used for Bhagavan and especially for the Supreme Personality of Godhead—Krsna. Love for Krsna that is without any cause or reason is called bhakti. In this world, there are two forms of bhakti. If a man cannot tolerate suffering from miseries anymore and being unable to stop them, becomes frustrated, then he develops detachment to samsara and thinks on how to attain happiness. He is told, “Oh brother, chant Krsna’s names and engage in His bhakti.” He then offers everything and engages in Krsna’s bhajan. He chants Krsna’s names and listens to His pastimes and the pastimes explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Even though his mind is disturbed, he is convinced that his auspiciousness lies in following bhakti. Therefore, accepting the rules and regulations of bhakti, he engages in Krsna’s bhajan. There are some who have impressions from their previous lives; there are some who have impressions from their present life; and there are some who have the association of Krsna’s bhaktas. By their inherent nature, they will have the desire to follow in the footsteps of the Vrajavasis who have spontaneous love and affection for Krsna. Krsna would “drown,” in the love of the Vrajavasis. Yasoda loves Krsna without any cause. The sakhas love Krsna not because He is Bhagavan. They have spontaneous love and affection for Him. Krsna becomes bound and controlled by their love. He is easily attained by following in the footsteps of the Vrajavasis. Today, we will mention some of Krsna’s pastimes described in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

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