Dedication: Srila Prabhupada

Meditation with Music Kirtan in Ireland                                           


Kirtan and 'Hinduism?'

Is Kirtan a 'Hindu' practise? Well, what is a Hindu? The term has only been in use for less than a thousand years and began more as a geographical term rather than referNorth Indiaring to a religious system. The invading Arabs referred to the peoples beyond the Sindhu river as being Hindus. The spiritual texts of ancient India themselves refer to the concept of Sanatana Dharma. This term refers to the eternal constitutional position or duty of the spiritual being.

The essential point is that kirtan is a non-sectarian practise and it does not matter what faith group, or none, one associates oneself with, or is born into.

It is common to designate people according to groups so we can put them 'into a box': he's a Nigerian, an aborigine, she's a traveller, they're Jews, he's a Hare Krishna. Sometimes there Indiamay be a motivation that in conversation with others we can group ourselves into a 'better' group or designation (I'm Irish, I'm from Dublin, I'm from Castleknock!). In this way the world will realise that I'm rich, happy, aristocratic, and above these lower persons. In Vedic philosophy, this is all seen as coming from ahankara, or false ego. Subtly (very subtly) Vedic philosophy sees these thought processes or ideas as a desire for the finite living being to usurp the position of the Supreme Being. But we can never do so!

In conclusion, kirtan should never be viewed as a sectarian practise.



"...I had bought the (kirtan) album Prabhupada did in New York, and John and I listened to it. I remember we sang it for days, John and I, with ukulele banjos, sailing through the Greek islands... like six hours we sang because we couldn't stop once we got going. As soon as we stopped it was like the lights went out. It went to a point where our jaws were aching, singing the mantra over and over...We felt exalted; it was a very happy time for us"

John Lennon and George Harrison
of the Beatles

(from a 1982 interview with George)