Kīrtana is called saṅkīrtana when many people perform it together. But will it be worthy of the name saṅkīrtana if some worthless people, without any ardour for Śrī Bhagavān’s service, come together to shout in unison? It will be true hari-saṅkīrtana when we join the saṅkīrtana of true devotees who are serving Śrī Bhagavān according to the principles established in the Vedas and allied śāstras. Contrastingly, it is not hari-saṅkīrtana when it is conducted for the prevention of the epidemics of cholera or pox, for prosperity in trade, for gain or for respect and fame. This kīrtana is māyā-kīrtana – chanting within the jurisdiction of the illusory potency.

—Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

Mahāprabhu has come to shower His mercy upon one and all, not only human beings, but also upon birds, beasts, reptiles and even stones. This is kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. If you perform real kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, the whole world will be delivered. All inauspiciousness will be driven out and all auspiciousness will come into the whole world. However, it should be real kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, not māyā-kīrtana.

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favourably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.

Therefore, one should join kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, gaura-kīrtana and should not have any other desires.

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

[O Jagadīśa, I desire neither wealth, nor followers, nor the gorgeous promises of the Vedic hymns. My only prayer is that birth after birth I may have causeless devotion (ahaitukī-bhakti) to You, the Lord of My life.]

That is Mahāprabhu’s teaching. Do not cherish the desire of achieving material wealth or followers, to have a beautiful woman to enjoy, and do not cherish the desire of mukti, liberation, na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ. There are two witches; bhukti and mukti, material enjoyment and material liberation. Do not take their association. If you want to join gaura-kīrtana, kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, then give up all your desires for material enjoyment and all your desires for liberation. When you still have these desires and you are chanting or doing kīrtana, then that is not kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. It is māyā-kīrtana. If we think that this māyā-kīrtana is kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, then we commit a blunder. Nāma nāhi haya, the name is not uttered, but the word available in the dictionary is coming out. In the dictionary you will find that the name of Kṛṣṇa means ‘black’. That dictionary word is coming out, whereas, the pure name is non-different from Kṛṣṇa. If you think that this word which is available in the dictionary is Kṛṣṇa, then you commit a blunder and you will be cheated, vañcanā.
The real name of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s form and Kṛṣṇa Himself, are non-different. So when Mahāprabhu did kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, gaura-kīrtana, the name that was coming out was like a volcanic eruption from the lips of Gaura. It was the pure name. Kīrtana is not meant for one’s sense gratification. It is not meant for providing enjoyment for one’s senses. That is not kīrtana.
Nevertheless, if someone achieves the nāmābhāsa stage, then all his prārabdha-karma is destroyed, and all disease is cured. It is still current here in India in our villages that if there is an outbreak of cholera and many people of the village are attacked by it, the villagers come, and while they walk around the village they chant Hare Kṛṣṇa the whole night. “O villagers please come and chant hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare, hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.” The whole night they walk around the village and in this way the cholera is driven out.
But Gaura never speaks about this kīrtana. It is not gaura-kīrtana that will drive out cholera, or drive out our ill fate. Chanting the pure name, obtaining Kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-prema, that is gaura-kīrtana. It is not that you will aspire for mukti or aspire for material enjoyment. No! That will automatically be achieved, and that is the proof. When Gaura was performing kīrtana, sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam*, He was surrounded with His aṅga-upāṅga** – Advaita Ācārya, Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Gadādhara Paṇḍita, all gaura-bhaktas – while chanting hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare, hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.
The so-called Māyāvādīs of Kāśī headed by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī achieved mukti. They became Vaiṣṇavas because of gaura-karuṇā, gaura-kṛpā. Even materialistic persons like King Pratāparudra who was associating with kāminī and kāñcana – women and gold, developed complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the effect of gaura-kīrtana. A hard block of stone melted and the birds, bees, reptiles and ferocious animals all chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa and achieved liberation. This is the proof. When Srī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was passing through the Jhārikhaṇḍa jungle and had kīrtana there, even the trees and the creepers became enchanted. This is real gaura-kīrtana.
However, nowadays there is no real kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. There is a scarcity of it here. Therefore we are caught up in the laws of māyā or Kali, so we quarrel and fight. Mahāprabhu crushed and killed Kali. So why is quarrelling going on in Mahāprabhu’s movement? Why has Kali entered? We are quarrelling because we are not doing real kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. That is the only reason. Otherwise there is no place for Kali.

kali kukura-kadana ĵadi cāo (he)
kali-yuga pāvana, kali-bhaya-nāśana, śrī śacī-nandana gāo (he)

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

[If you wish to vanquish the dog-like personality of Kali, then sing the name of Śrī Śacīnandana, the saviour of the age of Kali who nullifies all fear of Kali.]

If you want to crush the dog-like personality of Kali completely into the dust, the kali-kukkura, then you should chant “Sacīnandana Gaurahari kī jaya!” He is the deliverer of people affected by Kali-yuga. Those who are very afraid of Kali-yuga should chant Gaurahari’s name and perform real kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, pure gaura-kīrtana, and then Kali will be completely destroyed. Kali the dog will be completely crushed into dust, and there will be no fear of Kali’s quarrelling and hypocrisy. But because you are not doing real kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, Kali has entered the movement.
Thus, Gaurasundara appeared here in the material world to shower His mercy upon one and all, even upon the dogs, hogs, stones, trees, creepers, birds and beasts, so what to speak of human beings. Follow in the footsteps of Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu and chant the pure name of Kṛṣṇa:

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

Then you will acquire everything: You will acquire Kṛṣṇa!

*sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam: sa-aṅga—along with associates; upa-aṅga—servitors; astra—
weapons; pārṣadam—confidential companions.
**āṅga-upāṅga: plenary parts and associates.

Śuddha-nāma Bhajana by Śrīla Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja (www.tvpbooks.com)
Image/Art made possible by Pixabay.com & Krishnapath.org

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