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Singing Songs and Doing Kirtan

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj,
23 December 2012


Question: What is the difference between pratistha and sahajiya?

Pratistha is different. "I want to be a guru. I want to be a big boss. I want to be a temple manager. I want to be a controller. Everybody must listen to me. I will kick them from the temple, I will manage everyone." That is called pratistha. But there is also another kind of pratistha: vaishnavi pratistha tate koro nistha (বৈষ্ণবী প্রতিষ্ঠা তাতে কর নিষ্ঠা, you must firmly establish yourself as a servant of the Lord).

If Gurudev gives some declaration and some pratistha comes, you should not become proud. Pratistha is always for Guru. For example, when a garland comes to you, you should think, "Jay Gurudev." If I get 10 rupees pranami, why do I get it? Because Gurudev gave me sannyas, Gurudev made me a Guru, that is why I am getting some donation, pranami. Somebody pays dandavat to me—because I took initiation from Gurudev, I am a disciple, a devotee of Gurudev, then they are giving obeisance to me. If you think that everything is for Guru, pratistha will not attack you so much—pratistha will not be able to disturb you.

If, however, you think, "I am a great Vaishnav. Everybody must pay obeisance to me," this is not right. You should think, "I became a disciple, that is why everybody pays obeisance to me. I am following my Gurudev, that is why everybody follows me. It is for my Guru. Whatever I am getting, I am getting it for my Guru." If you think in this way, then pratistha cannot disturb you.

Somebody may think, "Oh, I am the pujari. Without me, the temple cannot run," this kind of thinking is also pratistha—they do not know that Radha-Krishna, Nityananda Prabhu, Mahaprabhu do Their own service Themselves.

"সুখে দুঃখে সর্ব্বদাই সম, sukhe duhkhe sarvadai sama: whether happiness or unhappiness, it is all the same." A devotee should be like this. Any kind of position can come to me, be it a manager or anything else; somebody can also criticise me, say bad things about me behind my back, but we must think, "They can say many things about me—no problem, I am actually worse than that."

If you think like this in your mind, then you will always get happier and happier, you will always get energy for service and you will be happy to do the service. Everything will be peaceful every day—all problems will go away.

Where there is thesis, sometimes antithesis will come. When you do something big, if some opposition comes, that is not a problem. We must carry on, go forward.


Question: What should be the attitude when playing the mridanga?

What is the question? Playing mridanga means always thinking about your Guru. Always think of Krishna, think of the song. When you play the mridanga, you must sing the song at that time. "কীর্ত্তন-প্রভাবে স্মরণ হইবে, kirtana prabhave smarana haibe": when you are doing kirtan you can practise remembering. When you are singing a song about Nityananda, remembrance of Nityananda will come. That is necessary.


Question: When we are singing, should we remember the meaning of the song or just sing without thinking of the meaning?

Actually, if you understand the meaning of the song, you will get more pleasure, it will be then kirtan. And we do not really sing songs—we do kirtan. Singing a song and doing kirtan is not the same thing. Most of the people sing songs and do not know their meaning, but if you know the meaning of the song, you will actually get pleasure.

Kirtan means practising—practising Krishna consciousness. When you practise Krishna consciousness, you will get pleasure. If you just sing a song, you will not get pleasure. If you know the meaning of the song, you will always get energy to do kirtan; if you just sing a song, you will not get that energy.

When somebody does not understand the meaning of the song, they start playing, making naughty, disturbing when others are singing—I have seen this many times... But those who are doing the actual kirtan get pleasure and always do kirtan. When one does Krishna kirtan, chants the Holy Name of Krishna, Krishna's Name, Beauty, Pastimes are all there. Nityananda's kirtan is Nityananda's Pastimes, Krishna's kirtan is Krishna's Pastimes, Mahaprabhu's kirtan is Mahaprabhu's Pastimes. Remembering is also one kind of practice.


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Practise with Affection
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so much—pratistha will not be able to disturb you.