Sunday, 23 March 2008

Kirtans with a spring

It is easier to chant your heart out when you're surrounded by many enthusiasts. The March kirtan, which was quite a crowd, was thus especially sweet. Another great feature was that Claire, who now studies in 'that other place'* came to see us. She gave us her insights into how our spiritual practice connects to the rest of our lives.

(picture: Jonathan and Rasasthali at play)

Here are Claire's talks [Talk 1, Talk 2, Talk 3, Talk 4], Aja Govinda's invocation, and Rasatshali's wonderful kirtan, which got us going:

krishna govinda govinda,
gopala nanda lal

govinda govinda,
gopala ganda lal

he gopala nanda lal,
he gopala nanda lal,

he gopala nanda lal,
he gopala nanda lal,

gopala, gopala,
gopala, gopala

Meru used the accidental 'poetry' of the former US Secretary of Defense, Ronald Rumsfeld, to introduce the next kirtan, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. One way of thinking about this mantra is to see it as a recognition and homage to an energy that is greater than ourselves. There are many things we do not know (and here is where Rumsfeld comes in) and are outside of our control. Just think about the English weather (there you go!), or death (par example). Without getting into the details of this, by acknowledging a greater power, or the unknown, we can let go a bit of our control and feel some peace. This mantra, as well as other mantras, can thus be used as a way of letting go a bit, which is a very safe of letting go. We only need to listen and chant, and let the mantra do the work. Relaaaaax.

(picture: the 'unknown' side of Meru)

Back to Donald Rumsfeld: here is his defense news briefing of 12 February, 2002 (you can also have a look at it on You Tube):

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.


Here is Meru's om namo bhagavate vasudevaya kirtan. As a proof that many things are out of our control, Meru lost her voice during her kirtan. Teaching by example...

Rasathali ended our kirtan session in style with a great melody:

hare krishna
hare krishna
krishna krishna
hare hare
hare rama
hare rama
rama rama
hare hare

We hope to see you at our next kirtan on April 13. Until then, chant, chant, chant. The photos (except the one of Rumsfeld) are by Param Tomanec.

[the sound is not as great as it should be, but we hope you'll enjoy the recordings anyway]

* Cambridge is 'that other place' for someone from Oxford. But Claire is of course an Oxfordian at heart.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

February talks

The redeeming feature of our February recording was that Shaunaka's talks came out quite well.

In the first talk he speaks about kirtan, and how this simple process helps us clear the way for us to experience the love an happiness that is already within us.

In the second talk, he further elaborates on how we can take kirtan with us outside of the kirtan sessions - both by singing the mantras when we go about our daily life and also by chanting on beads (japa).

Saturday, 15 March 2008


Well, how to put this.

We had a very nice kirtan session in February. Unfortunately, the recording didn't go as well... Yes, again. It was recorded with the internal mike, which didn't cut the mustard in terms of quality. But hope springs eternal, and so we'll cut the rug (or sit and chant on it) again tomorrow (Sunday March 16th).

Enjoy a few photos, and please come and chant!

I'll leave you with a little meditation from the Upanishads:

"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart." (Chandogya 3.13.7)