This morning I had a beautiful conversation with Prakash from Boston Region in the U.S.A. Prakash has taken up his own kiirtan challenge and I asked hime to write about his experience. So here it is:
Wonderful to talk with you this morning about our inspiration from Kiirtan and spreading this more and more!
Here are my thoughts after 5 weeks of doing 1 hour a day of kiirtan.
On February 13th I began thinking about doing something to recognize my 40th year of meditation. I was initiated on June 19 1971 – so June 19 2011 will be my 40th anniversary of meditation!
I remember sharing your wife Nandini’s inspiration to do more and more Kaoshikii – 20 minutes a day – and decided I would like to do 1 hour of kiirtan a day up till June 19th (at least!)
As much as I love Kiirtan – especially at retreats and group meditation and in the past several years playing Kiirtan as a DJ at Dance Spirit and finding people inspired by the power and spirit of Baba Nam Kevalam – I often found myself doing short kiirtans or skipping kiirtans in order to have time for my meditation. On reflecting of my years of sadhana and hundreds of retreats – I realized that many of my most powerful spiritual experiences happened as part of kiirtan. The answer was to take an Oath do do an hour a day of BNK – singing and dancing! I have been very happy with the experience of this.
Here is what has helped me:
I have all of my kiirtan music (from innersong.com) in my Itunes – on my Ipod and Iphone – and I have created playlists of my favorite kiirtans.
In the first few days of this I would play a favorite kiirtan and sing along (I am not a musician). Sometimes I would use earphones but quickly found that it was much better to use only one earbud so I could hear myself sing! After I while I found it worked even better to play a kiirtan song for 1-2 minutes till I was confident with the melody – and then turn it off and sing on my own. When I got tired of that tune I would advance to a next song on my ipod or iphone .
I’ve also created a 30 minute alarm on my Iphone – but this can also be done on the Ipod or computer.
Kiirtan Selections –
By far my favorite kiirtans for dancing have turned out to be Prabhat Samgiita kiirtans – from Soja (Egan Amar, Diipavali) Jyosna (Sakal Maner – from Unity Hours II, Tiny Green Island) (Nayaneri Tara Tumi – Journey Within), PS Kiirtans from Down Under Three (Australia & Dada Nabhaniilananda), Anjali (Tumi Amar Kiirtan – Garland of Love Album)… and others
After several weeks I often don’t need to play music at all as I remember so many of these tunes – I still keep my Iphone/Ipod available so I can see the names of my favorite Prabhat Samgiita kiirtans – then start singing the first line of the PS song and switch to BNK. I’ve added more PS tunes on my own that I now – such as #1 Bandhu He.. #80 Svapane Eso
I’ve found my voice has gotten stronger – sweeter after singing more and more – I have even on a few so far invited people to join me doing kiirtan for 30 minutes (mostly acapella) – or maybe just for 15 minutes.
How do I find time – perhaps my meditation is a bit shorter as I don’t meditate until I’ve done 30 minutes of kiirtan But meditation is much better – more concentrated after 30 minutes of kiirtan.
I would love to have many more simple kiirtans – i.e. – solo kiirtans – voice/guitar voice/keyboard or drum or harmonium – recorded in 5 minute sections – simple MP3 files
Inviting our favorite (well known and lesser known) margii musicians to record 5 minute kiirtans – without all the complexity of studio recordings – multiple tracks, musical introductions/interludes – etc – that are wonderful for performances – recordings – but not as effective at teaching – inspiring margiis and friends how to sing kiirtan more and more – on our own and with others – even when we dont have musical instruments
We can call this Series – You Are Never Alone Kiirtans!!
I also invite margiis from all over the world to record kiirtans to their favorite Prabhat Samgiita kiirtans.
If everyone who can records 5 minute tracks of their favorite kiirtan tunes – sends to Brother Liilamaya of Soja Kiirtan – he would create a weekly podcast of favorite kiirtans that margiis can download and be inspired to do more and more kiirtan
These could also be sent for posting on Innersong – people could download their favorite solo kiirtans – perhaps paying 99 cents (or less?) to support the artists – or AMURT/EL projects around the world – and we could all create more and more playlists of kiirtans that are
to inspire us to do more and more kiirtan – individually and with others
In His Divine Dance
– Remembering – Dancing in Bliss is Seeing Everyone We Dance with as the Beloved!!