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Kettle Drum and Kiirtan

To: AM-GLOBAL From: Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2008 23:51:25 Subject: Kettle Drum and Kiirtan Baba "Mandrita manomohan mama, mu'rtta mamata' tumi..." (PS 662) Purport: O' Manomohan, O' most attractive One of my mind, You are mine and Your voice is sweet and sonorous; O' most Compassionate One, You are the embodiment of love and affection. By Your grace please shower Your divine karuna on the afflicted person-- on me. Please wash away all my accumulated sufferings as well as my bundle of samskaras. Baba, I have come to You and am taking shelter at Your lotus feet. Please be gracious. O' Baba, You are beyond maya-- You are mayatiita; yet, You are also the Controller of maya-- You are mayadhiish [1]. Baba, with Your infinite compassion You are the destroyer of all dangers, threats, and terror. Fear itself is fearful of You. Baba, You are Kalus Ha'ri [2]; Baba, You are Manobiharii-- You move joyously around the mind and make it blissful. Baba, You are Marmarainjan and Manasrainjan [3]; You dye my heart and mind in Your divine colour. Baba, You are the object of my dhyana; You are the dearest One of my heart. Baba, You are the essence of all songs and melodies which are sung and chanted. Baba, with Your divine sword You pulverise the vanity of the demons (deva'ri) [4]. Please remove my stagnancy and make me disciplined for my all around enlightenment: physical, psychic and spiritual. O' merciful One, please pardon me by removing by samskaras. Please shower Your divine grace and make my whole existence vibrated and blissful. Baba, I am at Your shelter; I do sastaunga pranam to You infinite times... NOTES TO PRABHAT SAMGIITA #622: [1] Ma'ya'dhiish: In the above song Baba simultaneously both far beyond ma'ya' (ma'ya'tiita) as well as totally involved in controlling ma'ya'-- in which case He is Ma'ya'dhiish. Here below Baba is making a contrast between jiivas who are ruled by ma'ya' and Parama Purusa who lords over ma'ya'. Baba says, "Jiiva'tman is under the influence of Prakrti, it is Ma'ya'dhiina or controlled by Ma'ya', whereas Parama'tman, in whatever form He may manifest Himself is Ma'ya'dhiisha or Controller of Ma'ya'." (SS-1) [2] Kalus'ha'rii: This is one of the names of Parama Purusa that reflects one of His infinite qualities. In this role as Kalusha'rii, He removes the darkness from the mind of the jiivas. That is why in 2nd stanza of our Guru Purja mantra it is said that He removes the stains of mind and bundle of samskaras. By His grace He removes all the cimmerian darkness.
Ajina'natimira'ndhasya jina'na'injana shala'kaya'.
Baba says, "You know that an eye ointment is applied with a stick ("Shala´ka´" means stick). Now, all the microcosms are parts of that Noumenal Entity, all are actually parts and particles of that Supreme Entity, but due to ignorance, due to the darkness of ignorance, they cannot see what is what and which is which. That is why they require the ointment of spiritual knowledge. Guru (with a stick) applies the ointment of spiritual knowledge to their eyes." (AV-3) [3] Ma'nasrainjan: Baba has told us countless times and we all know that devotion is that unique ingredient which allows one to advance in the spiritual field. Without innate love for Parama Purusa one can never succeed. By Baba's divine grace, in His role as Ma'nasrainjan, He is that Divine Entity who colours and saturates the mind of sadhakas in the fountain of devotion. Baba says, "'rainjana', which means 'the One who colours' - that which colours the mind." (AV-1) So He is that Cosmic Being who graciously showers devotional love into the heart and mind of the bhakta. And by such overwhelming Cosmic grace, the devotee becomes immersed in Supreme bliss and comes in the closest proximity with that Love Personified Entity: Parama Purusa. [4] Deva'ri: (Deva literally means 'god'; ari literally means 'enemy'). So those anti-social beings who are enemies of the gods are known as demons. That is the why the colloquial meaning of the term deva'ri is 'demons'.
Namaskar, During our dharmacakras and retreats we all like to collectively chant kiirtan. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of any Marga gathering. And here below Baba describes the very special effect which happens when A'nanda Ma'rgiis gather and sincerely sing kiirtan. Baba says, "If even two or three people gather together, they can do kiirtan collectively; if one thousand people assemble together, then also they can do kiirtan. When you do kiirtan and move towards Parama Purus'a, the Supreme Father, then in Parama Purus'a's mind also there will be a flow of bliss, because so many minds are coming towards Him with love. He will feel very happy. Seeing the bliss of His devotees, Parama Purus'a will also become overwhelmed with joy, because of His enormous love for His devotees. 'How good these devotees are!' - He says. Parama Purus'a loves each and everyone, but He loves those who do kiirtan still more. He will say to them, 'Come, come, come, - come near to Me.' This is the proper way to serve Parama Purus'a." (17 May 1982, Kolkata) Thus by kiirtan there is a flow of bliss both in the bhaktas' minds and also in the Cosmic Mind of Parama Purusa. And it makes any dharmacakra or retreat into a deeply devotional and highly spiritual event. So kiirtan holds a very special place in the heart of all Ananda Margiis.
At the same time we have all seen how at some kiirtan sessions there are a few people who begin to beat the drum very loudly. But this heavy and strong banging on the drum is not conducive to the devotional flow of kiirtan. Baba says, "It is advisable to play some instrument during kiirtana. A mrdanga [a soft kind of drum] or some similar instrument should be used, but one should not play any heavy-sounding instrument like a dhak [a large kettle drum played with sticks], a dol [a loud drum] or a gong. The mind prefers to hear a sweet sound, like that of the mrdanga, than a harsh sound. Some time ago I mentioned that Bhola Mayra said that when the cawing of crows and the beating of drums stop, human ears get some relief. People do not like to hear such harsh, unpleasant sounds. The sound of the mrdanga may not be perfect, but it has one quality: it is very sweet. Thus, whenever a distracted mind hears the sweet music of a mrdanga, it returns to the proper place. A remarkable science lies in kiirtana." (AV-8, p.13-14) So by Baba's above guideline it is clear that loud drum playing is not helpful in our kiirtan programs-- rather those loud drums disturb the flow. Because loud drums irritate the mind in which case one cannot feel the sweet vibration of the kiirtan. And sure enough this is something we have all experienced at one retreat or another. Because we all like to attend our AM retreats and we all look forward to the devotional flow of the kiirtan; but when one or two people play a loud drum like the kettle drum then that ruins the devotional vibration. As Baba guides us it is far better to play a drum like the mrdanga which has a gentle and sweet type of sound. Then in that soothing atmosphere the mind can easily flow towards Parama Purusa and become immersed in His bliss. So it is ok to use certain types of drums in kiirtan, just we should ensure to play them softly. And side by side we should refrain from using big drums like the kettle drum. Even if someone is loudly banging on a congo drum then that too will be nothing more than a distraction. Hence those playing the drums in kiirtan should choose a softer type of drum that can be played in a sweet and gentle manner. In that way their drum playing will complement the chanting of kiirtan and allow everyone to move towards Him.
By the proper chanting of kiirtan we will always feel that He is being ever-gracious on us. Baba says, "It is imperative for every intelligent person, every wise person, every clever person, to always do kiirtana...And those who do kiirtana should always remember that the hands of Parama Purus'a bestowing blessing will always be with them." (16 May 1982, Kolkata) Namaskar, Parashram
Baba says, "While doing spiritual practice, spiritual sadhana, while singing Kiirtan and dancing, we should remember the fact that all our spiritual activities are just a dance around Parama Purusa, lessening the distance...there cannot be any peace, any happiness, or any beatitude till the aspirant comes in tactual contact with the Supreme Self." (AV-12, p.71)
****************************************** Capacity of A'tma
Baba says, "Till you have a human body go on doing great work. After death in absence of the brain the mind cannot function in which case one cannot do anything. But the unit consciousness (atma) can still work. It has the capacity to work in subtle form." (Delhi DMC 1984 Discourse)

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