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To Dance & Sing: Na'm, Pad & Pa'la'

Date: 29 Aug 2009 22:27:32 -0000 From: "Bhavanath Rajpal" To: Subject: To Dance & Sing: Na'm, Pad & Pa'la' Baba "Toma'ke peyeo pa'i na keno..." (P.S. #2056) Purport: Baba, I feel in my heart that You are along with me, but even then I do not feel satisfied. I want more and more of Your proximity and presence. So please come in my mind and heart. Please remain along with me in a very intimate way in all my works. Grace me so that I can feel your eternal presence always-- with more & more closeness and proximity. Baba You know that my existence is because of You. My life is proceeding on by Your grace; my everything is based on You. Day and night I am deeply engaged in the work which You have allotted me. I am divinely intoxicated in the ideation of the songs which I have made into a garland for You. So Baba please come closer and still more close. Indeed You know the language of my heart- my inner feeling & sentiments. O' Baba, how much love I have for You. Baba, please grace me and please do not play Your liila of hide and seek. Please do not remain inaccessible...
Namaskar, As many know, kiirtan essentially means to chant the divine glories of the Lord out loud, for all the world to hear, wherein all are benefited. Baba says, "Whenever you find time, do kiirtana loudly and you will never become degenerated because by chanting the Lord’s holy name the mind remains elevated." (AMIWL-11) Baba says, "At the place of kiirtana, not only the people who are themselves doing kiirtana will be benefited, but also those who are not participating – and even those who are not participating and who do not even like it – they will also be benefited!" (AV-22) By the above quotes Baba is highlighting the specialty of our AM kiirtan, Baba Nam Kevalam. In our A'nanda Ma'rga there are three recognised types of kiirtan: na'ma kiirtan, pad kiirtan and pa'la' kiirtan. Each have their own beauty and significance. We should be familiar with all three - understanding their unique and distinct qualities.
One time when Baba graciously declared that "kiirtan must be sung", then one margii began singing pad kiirtan. At the next general darshan, Baba announced, "When I say sing kiirtan, that means na'm kiirtan." Baba went on to explain that our na'm kiirtan is a siddha mantra and can lead one to the height of human glory - unto Him. So na'm kiirtan is the top most. As many may know, in AM our na'm kiirtan is: Ba'ba' Na'm Kevalam. This is the main kiirtan sung in our Marga - per Baba's mandate - and it is this kiirtan which can free us from so many trials and tribulations and also allow us to express our great love for Him. Baba says, " Here I want to tell you all very clearly that if under any circumstances any such sinful thoughts every enter your mental sphere and have not yet transformed themselves into physical action you should immediately start singing kiirtana at the top of your voice. I have made a rhyme:
Ba'ba' na'm kevalam yata pa'p hare Pa'piider sa'dhya nei tata pa'p kare.
The repetition of Ba'ba' na'm kevalam even once kills so many sins that the worst sinners could not accumulate them." (AV-6) Baba says, "You should remember that if you always sing “Ba'ba' Nam Kevalam,” you have a family relationship with Him. More than that, you have a relationship of love with Him." (SS-20) So our na'm kiirtan, Baba Nam Kevalam, is a deeply powerful and devotional form of expression that is quite different from pad kiirtan and pa'la' kiirtan.
Some may be wondering what is pad kiirtan. What is it that the above margii sang to Baba that day. Pad literally means poetry and pad kiirtan is a particular type of poetic song where certain lines are sung in a specialised manner with a specific type of chorus, or line of repetition or refrain. Students of music history can tell more about its distinct qualities, but suffice to say here that in the early days of AM, various margiis were writing and singing devotional bhajans for Baba in this manner. So many songs were lovingly sung to Baba using the specific verse types known as pad kiirtan. And not only that, but Baba Himself has composed various Prabhat Samgiita that are in accordance with the rules and style of pad kiirtan. For instance, many of the Prabhat Samgiita between #140 and #160 are examples of pad kiirtan. So pad kiirtan is very devotional and describes all the glories of the Lord. However, it is not in the same class as na'm kiirtan. Though quite beautiful and moving and certainly a veritable avenue for spiritual expression, pad kiirtan is of a lower grade than our na'm kiirtan, which as mentioned above is a siddha mantra, or perfect mantra that can lead one to liberation, savikalpa samadhi.
Pa'la' literally means turn. First one person sings then the audience responds. Thus pa'la' kiirtan is done in the style of call and response, where the main singer sings a line and the general public responds. But even then that is not all. In between the audience's participation, the main singer(s) perform at length, singing the glories of the Lord and recounting His tales and stories in the form of a dialog or prose that is often sung. So it is a devotional story or history about Parama Purusa that is led by trained sadhakas, who invite the audience to join in and sing. Because suddenly, on perfect cue, either by voice or by music, the audience is again invited to sing a particular line or lines. Pa'la' kiirtan can be a multi-hour engagement. Like the above two kiirtans, pa'la' is a very devotional and jovial scene. Everyone is involved in singing and dancing as well as listening to the main performers - all the while ideating on Parama Purusa. So it is quite, quite blissful. One thing to add here is that today, there are many types of folk and pseudo-culture music that are similar to pa'la' kiirtan. Rap music is one such type. But they are similar only in structure and style, not in meaning. Because no matter what, kiirtan is always aimed at highlighting the glories of the Lord whereas rap music is about all kinds of degenerating and worldly topics like gangbanging, girlfriends, drugs, life on the streets etc. That is why none of today's contemporary pop music is up to the standard of pa'la' kiirtan. Baba says, “The world of music today is like a person without a proper guru or proper training. People want to show they can play without having paid their dues. They are selling themselves for gold without realizing that the real value of music is being lost thereby. Gold is becoming even cheaper than glass." (SC-3, Disc: 12)
All three types of kiirtan - na'm, pad & pa'la' - were sung in Baba's presence and proof is that all three have been mentioned in described in places like our Seminar Notes etc. Plus in VSS camps and ERAWS camps there were times when all the three various kiirtans were done. So in AM we have long and well-documented history of kiirtan. Recently, some claimed to have performed the first ever pa'la' kiirtan in Ananda Marga, but this just is not so. Before na'm kiirtan came into existence in 1969-70, then pad kiirtan and pa'la' kiirtan were both performed in front of Baba, as a means of chanting His glory.
So we should always be eager to sing kiirtan, because by this way we become purified and move towards Him, by His grace. And we must always remember that music is for goading the mind toward Parama Purus and not for encouraging animal propensities. The former is the goal and the latter is deadly. With music, one may go toward either heaven or hell - or get stuck as negative microvita for ions and ions. It all depends. Music is both devotional and dangerous - it is a double-edged sword and can lead one to emancipation or destruction. All pop music falls in the latter construct, i.e. destruction. We must not entertain any type of crude music otherwise that will only lead to one's crude annihilation. Baba says, 'If music must descend to the ordinary level of life to conform to the slogan of naturalness, then preeminence will be given to doggerels, as the sweetness and charm of real music becomes extinct. Indeed, the music that is in vogue in the world today in the name of “popular music” is nothing but doggerels of this type." (AFPS-1) Baba says, "If someone makes a sound like “ra, ra, ra – cha, cha, cha,” or if someone sings, “Follow my song! Let us sing and dance our way to hell,” these are sound inferences, but they carry a very crude idea." (MVNS) Even then, we must not give up and think that from today onward all the music created by people will be poor and degrading. Baba guides us that the future of music is not totally doomed forever. Baba says, "It is a matter of great regret that people have forgotten this science of music, whose foundation was laid by the intense efforts of Shiva. Nowadays, instead of considering music as a valuable asset to spiritual practice, they take it as a hobby, a means of livelihood, or a mere pastime. The arduous effort which Shiva invested in this science is conspicuously absent today. Some people lament this... If the followers of Shiva make even one percent of the progress Shiva made, then India and indeed the world and the universe will surely regain that melodious voice and those charming notes. There is no reason for disillusionment. If people only develop their vigour, discipline and simplicity, and make intense effort, then success will come automatically. The lost treasure of the past will be fully restored to human society." (NSS, Disc: 2)
By Baba's grace He has blessed us with three types of kiirtan to goad the mind towards Him. All three are devotional tools for all sadhakas. Yet it is only na'm kiirtan - the chanting of Baba Nam Kevalam - that is our main type of kiirtan. And is is this kiirtan which allows us to quickly move in His proximity by calling Him closer and closer. Baba says, 'Thus if you have even only one minute’s time, do kiirtan for one minute. 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 in the mental sphere." ("The Bliss of Kiirtan) Baba says, "Moreover, those people doing kiirtana are the devotees of the Lord, and they have already placed a throne for Parama Purus'a in their hearts. So when there is kiirtana Parama Purus'a immediately comes to sit on the throne of their hearts. The divine seat, the universal hub of Parama Purus'a is shifted there. That spot becomes the capital of Parama Purus'a." (AV-22) Namaskar, Bhavanath
Recently the Tiljala team proclaimed that they were the first to perform pa'la' kiirtan in AM. Not only is this not true, but it also reveals their true motive in life - to brag about their group and not highlight the beauty and love of Parama Purusa. "The same story of Kalicarana becoming Kalikananda Avadhuta was beautifully composed and presented in* Pa'la' Kiirtan* by Ac. Nityasatyananda Avadhuta in a two hour presentation which vibrated the gathering on Shravani Purnima evening at Baba's memorial in Tiljala camp headquarters. This is the first Pala Kiirtan composed in Ananda Marga." (B Group PRS on 08/08/2009) So the above proclamation is just one sham as it is well known that pa'la' kiirtan has certainly been performed in our Marga on multiple occasions in those pre-Emergency days. But this certain people do not like to admit, for fear it will diminish their own stature. That is why it is clear that one faction is guided by their own group interest. Sadly this leads them far, far from the Goal - away from Baba. Baba says, 'In the great Cosmos, we are to be guided by the Cosmic rhythm, but in the human world, what do people do? They are not guided by the Cosmic rhythm, they are guided by group interest, individual interest; that is, there is a clash between the rhythm of group interest and the rhythm of Cosmic movement." (AFPS-5)

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