November is one of the darkest months in the year, but also one of lit candles and bonfires (not to speak of fireworks....). Maybe it is part of human nature to find ways to celebrate the changing seasons and to seek comfort in light and warmth.
We were certainly warmed by our November kirtan, which you can tune into below.
Gopal, who'd just been 'under the weather', and inspired by the rain, spoke from the Bhagavad-gita how self never change - in contrast to the changing seasons.
Gopal chanted an invocation and continued with:
sri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu nityananda shri-advaita gadadhara shrivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
govinda jaya jaya gopala jaya jaya
radha-ramana-hari govinda jaya jaya
govinda govinda govinda govinda
gopala gopala gopala gopala
Damodarashtakam followed by the Hare Krishna mantra, by Gopal.
This song is chanted in this month of Damodar (Kartik). Damodar means 'he who has a rope around his belly' and refers to Krishna as very young boy. Once Krishna's mother tried to catch him when he had been very naughty, and after much running, she finally caught him. She then tried to bind him with a rope to a large mortar so that he wouldn't escape, but her rope was two fingers too short. She then got another rope to make it longer. The rope was still two fingers too short. Then she got a third rope, a fourth rope, and on it went, but the rope was still two fingers too short...
Finally, she paused (completely stunned by this illogical sequence) and looked at him with bewilderment and love. At that moment, the rope was suddenly long enough, and she could tie him up. This is not a tale of child-rearing techniques, but rather that it is not really possible to bind God. The moral of the story is that we can never 'tie him up' unless he allows us to, attracted by our love.
[We apologise to those who came to the kirtan but who were blown back by the Frankincense. It was just the last little puff of incense which soon disappeared. We'll be more careful next time.]