Chanting the holy name is a deep, mysterious science and secret. Kirtan is not meant to be a forum to show off our musical expertise or our beautiful voice. We are meant to deeply connect with the Lord by helplessly appealing to Him to accept us and allow us to serve Him and His devotees. Who are we to be so easily accepted by Him? It is not such a cheap thing!
with his special sense of humour:
"In the material world even an ass enjoys his sound vibration, but in the Vaikunthas such nice birds as the peacock, the chakravaka and the cuckoo prefer to hear the vibration of the glories of the Lord from the bees. The principles of devotional service, beginning with hearing and chanting, are very prominent in the Vaikuntha world."
In other words, in the spiritual world even the beautifully chirping birds such as the chakravaka, the peacocks and the cuckoos would rather hear the glories of the Lord chanted by the bees, thinking their glorifications to be so much more attractive and beautiful than their own. Those birds prefer to hear from the bees – even though, from a material point of view, their humming is not such an enlivening sound. In fact, the singing of those birds is so much more attractive!
In the material world, however, the mood is a very different one. Here, even a donkey enjoys his own sound vibrations. Although his braying is rather ugly, he thinks, “Everybody has to hear my voice. It is most beautiful!”
The atmosphere of the spiritual world is entirely pure – a place devoid of sense gratification. Everybody pushes the other entities to the forefront, happy to keep themselves in the background. There, we derive more pleasure assisting others in pleasing the Lord, rather than pleasing Him directly. This is the mood and aspiration in the spiritual world: becoming dasa-dasanudasa – servant of the servant.
Sometimes, when being introspective, we may detect a certain frustration or disappointment in our hearts when we are not given the chance to lead kirtan at an event. Or we may be very insistent to lead for longer than the time slot allotted to us. When we observe such tendencies within ourselves, an internal alarm bell should go off. It is a very clear sign that our pleasure and satisfaction are not coming from chanting the holy name.
If our joy comes from chanting the holy name, then it will no longer matter to us whether we lead a kirtan or somebody else does. We are simply joyfully chanting. But if we are only satisfied when we lead, we are undeniably running after satisfaction of the false ego. As long as we are attached to this gratification, we will not be able to relish the sweet taste of chanting the holy name. We taste the fruits of self-glorification instead.
with the same tune, and so forth. Consequently, we may decide to allow more advanced and experienced devotees to perform the service of leading kirtan, considering ourselves unqualified.
However, so often that little donkey in our hearts takes over. With burning eagerness we may try to take advantage of the opportunity to grab the microphone, thinking to ourselves, “Now I have an audience! This is my chance to be heard and noticed. Nobody else volunteers, so looks like I have to do it!” But no, we should not take to the microphone unless we are invited to do so. This is the Vaishnava etiquette.
Rather than allowing our false ego’s ass-like conditioning to use kirtan for braying, we should focus on praying! Instead of pushing ourselves to the front, we should cultivate the mood of encouraging others around us to step forward. This is the atmosphere in the spiritual world. If we want to enter Krishna’s abode one day, now is the time to develop such a mood, otherwise our presence will create a disturbance and we may not be allowed entrance.
On the 22nd of September I flew on to Brisbane....
Your servant, Devaki dd