11 Apr 2015

Street Kirtan

It is our great joy to share publicly with you the new project we have been doing for several months now – the Street Kirtan!

Here's Chaturananda, the head of Shree Peetha Nilaya's music:

We started it in June of last year, inspired by the River Thames boat trip we had with Guruji in London (where we did the kirtan on the boat deck).

We played several times in different places in Germany throughout last June and July, but due to the many events we had at the centre, we did not continue. As it was getting cold, and many of you know how it can be cold here in Germany, we did not think we would start doing it again until Spring-Summer the following year.

When Guruji inquired about us going out to do street kirtan, he wasn't pleased to find out we had stopped.

He spoke with me and urged me to start it again on a weekly basis. So here we are. We have been going out every Sunday in different cities, like Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, Limburg, Mainz, Koblenz, Entville, Bad Schwalbach...no matter if it is freezing cold or icy (and we had once temperature of -7 C).

We always have different people included. Sometimes we have random guests. Once we had a person, for the first time in their lives, exposed to kirtan singing. Some people are not musical at all and they also want to come and every person is precious. We all carry the dynamo of Divine Love in our hearts and just by joining the singing group, everyone profits.

The atmosphere is very relaxed without much preparation: we take the cars and drive, sometimes even changing the destination the last moment, letting Guruji guide our actions and thoughts. Sometimes we have 4-5 people, and sometimes over 20. It does not matter how, what, where, and who. All that matters is that we go out in the streets, parks, metros, any public place, and do it with the love for God and Guru. We spiritualise the streets where we imprint forever the name of God. We meet people and sing the name of God, and we smile at them and with them, and they smile back. Sometimes they react by waiving at us, or moving their bodies to the rhythm of the song, or asking questions. We always give the flyers and pictures of our Guruji whenever we catch somebody's attention or they inquire sincerely.

I started to call this project 'Kirtanizing the Cities.' I see a great potential to what we have been doing. The name of God is the only safety we have in this world, and if we can get one person to sing the name of God, we are successful. Just by going out there and spreading the accumulated vibration of love and joy is enough.

I urge all devotees to go out as this is not a single-person project, but the project of Guruji and Bhakti Marga and that is our life. If you call yourself a devotee of Guruji and you feel that you are a part of Bhakti Marga family, then let a few of you come together, without much thinking and reasoning, go out and sing the name of God, bringing out the hidden God in all people you meet. Jai Gurudev!

What people are saying about their experiences with Street Kirtan:

“My first experience with street kirtan happened spontaneously. It was during the harmonium course which was lead by our wonderful teacher Chaturananda in Shree Peetha Nilaya, that the idea to join the kirtan came up. We did not think twice and we decided to go out and continue our harmonium course on another day. After the quick lunch break we went out to Mainz and we played in the busy city street. Many people joined in by clapping with kirtan. And some of the people inquired about us and wanted to come and visit us at the center. When I spoke with Swami Kuru, Tandav Krishna and Chaturananda, they later explained to me that bhajans bear very deep spiritual vibrations and whoever listens to them receives the benefits and their hearts are blessed.”

– Tara, Köln     

“It is really amazing how the vibration of the bhajans is effecting the people passing by; it is like a positive virus: smiling, eye contact, nodding, filming, even singing and dancing. The children responded in the most touching way: their eyes were as if they were looking at the Christmas tree full of lights and chocolates. Thank you Guruji for your blessing to do street kirtan! Hari Bol!” 

– Mataji Tusti

“Street kirtan is a wonderful way to get together and spread the joy of singing God's name. It is a way to touch people's hearts and give them a chance to experience a glimpse of Divine Love, maybe for the first time in their lives. Guruji says that, to hear the name of God, even once in your life, for some souls is enough, so we never know how our singing can affect someone's life and maybe change their directions, at least a little bit towards God. It is also so much fun to get together and go out in the streets with hearts filled with love for our Gurudev, and a strong wish to make this Love grow and grow throughout the streets in the worlds, until one day the whole planet dives into the ocean of His blissful name. So go out and sing for Him. Jai Gurudev!

– Veena

“After I heard that the Bhakti Marga group will go and play bhajans (hymns) in the streets, I thought to myself, 'I would like to go with them!' Chatur was very helpful and introduced me to the art of bhajans. The following day we went to Koblenz. We were a group of about 15 people and it was great. We just walked on while singing bhajans. The feedback from the people was almost identical. First, a surprised and curious look, interwoven with scepticism of the new. However, after a few seconds we always conjured a friendly smile in the face of the people. Particularly striking was the moment when children discovered us; they were very pleased with our music, and not infrequently, the parents had great effort to continue to move their children because they were magically attracted to our music. It was a very nice and inspiring afternoon and a great experience that I would invite everyone to participate in.”

– Marcus, Würzburg

“In the street kirtan it was nice when we all sang and danced together for God. The most wonderful experience was when I was shooting a video and then a group of people happened to pass by.
Without any expectation I was overwhelmed by a wave of love and I couldn't stop smiling from the joy and happiness. I felt as though I was in front of a river of love that was flowing through the streets and spreading love and joy everywhere and on everyone...The extraordinary thing was to realise that the people around, without knowing or understanding anything what was going on, were influenced by the same wave of love! It was really a great blessing.”

– Nallini

“Street Kirtan is a time when we can go and spread the love of God first hand. Since I live in the ashram, my contact with the outside world is limited, and though this seclusion helps to stay spiritually focused, it can also limit the opportunity to share the Divine Love that the world so desperately needs.

"It’s always fascinating seeing the curious faces pass by as we sing bhajans. Often I have noticed how children have an intuitive nature to the Divine names and it’s so wonderful to their faces light up with joy. To do kirtan on the streets with your brothers and sisters gives me a great sense of family. Just as a family supports each and other, every member participating adds strength to the rest of the group. I’m grateful to be able to see the devotees come together and spread the Divine Love that has transformed each one of us. I've found that street kirtan is one way of sharing this transformation, of sharing this Divine Love, so that we may not keep it for ourselves, but rather, to give it to those who are not aware of it.”

– Karan

I would like to share one interesting incident which happened in Frankfurt a couple of weeks ago. During our ecstatic kirtan we were approached by two police officers. In our minds we were thinking, 'Oh, now we are in trouble!' The policeman spoke with us first and he inquired what we had been up to. We answered him that we were just singing the name of God. He wanted to be re-assured and asked us again if we were, by any chance, promoting some political activities. We assured him that we were not political at all, but spiritual, and we had been just singing various Divine names.

While the policeman was speaking to few of us prabhus, his colleague, a policewoman, was speaking with few matajis. She questioned us about our intention. When we told her that we had been enjoying singing the name of God without any hidden motives, she said, "We don't want to stop you. When we cross your path again and we see you surrounded with a thousand people we have to assign it to something – that's why we have to know more about your purpose of singing." We replied, "Oh, we didn't think about something like that." And she said, "Well, why not. I would have been happy for you."

Hari Nam Sankirtan ki.....Jai!!!