I attended my first kirtan in 1993, a month before my 18th birthday. I wandered in off the street in Dublin to a
shop selling incense, Eastern trinkets and books. Picking up a leaflet there for some weekday evening event, I came
back after a few days. Sitting down cross-legged on floor cushions with a dozen others, a robed man came in and led the chant. The almost
delicate clash of the cymbals in the chant was soul awakening, as was the exotic music and
rhythm. I was deeply affected.
As the talk was all about philosophy, and the kirtan was a spiritual experience, it took
me 7 or 8 visits before it dawned on me that this place was a 'Hare Krishna' centre, as to equate what I was
experiencing with a supposed sectarian group (possibly controversial!) didn't seem to make sense in my mind.
Anyhow, after a few months I left my parents, brother and sister in Castleknock, Dublin to join the
temple. Within a year I was a monk based at Inish Rath Island on Upper Lough Erne.
I arose at 4.00am for 8 years to attend the early morning programme in the
temple, which consists of meditation, kirtan music and philosophy. My Mother was of course a little
worried about my lifestyle choice, but she visited and stayed overnight several times on the island herself, attending the temple service in
the early morning. Between this and talking with head monk Tribuvanatha Prabhu, she was relieved that I was
with decent folk.
Now I live in County Fermanagh on the banks of L. Erne, and I organise spiritual retreats:
image: Tim McEvitt, in 1996 as a Krishna monk