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The Chanters of the Kirtan of Lord Hari


by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada


A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

The sadhu helps the fallen jiva to regain his natural state of freedom from sin, by the constant service of bringing about the descent of transcendental sound in the form of words uttered by his lips and the mahaprasada in the shape of food that is offered by him to the Lord. The sound uttered by the sadhu and the mahaprasada are not things of this world. They are not identical with ordinary sound or ordinary food which are only means for the gratification of our sensuous appetites. The word of God and mahaprasada cannot be enjoyed, or in other words cannot be used for the gratification of the senses, because they are spiritual. Those who enjoy the kirtana, or any spiritual discourse, or eat the mahaprasada for appeasing hunger or for gratification of the palate are guilty of sacrilegious acts which serve only to prolong the state of sin and ignorance. This is the greatest possible calamity that can befall the human soul. The kirtana of Hari is the constant and natural function of all the faculties of the jiva soul in the state of itʼs freedom from all affinities with this changeable world. Because the absolute truth is identical with Hari, Hari has to be served exclusively, constantly, and by all the faculties of the soul. The only function of the voice is to chant the kirtana of Hari, which is identical with and inseparable from the simultaneous service of Hari by all the other senses. One who does not employ his voice constantly and exclusively in chanting the kirtana of Hari has no access to the service of Hari by any other faculty.

The kirtana of Hari has therefore to be chanted by being humbler than a blade of grass. There can be no trace of worldly vanity. There can be no seeking after any worldly advantage. The only object should be to please Lord Hari.

The absolute truth is a living person and not an abstract principle. He has the power of communicating His commands to us and expressing His approval and disapproval of our activities. No one can understand His command who does not fully submit to Him.

The absolute truth is not anything limited or partial; neither can it be divided. It is not dependent on any condition except itself. It is always one and the same. Listening to or chanting of it is always and necessarily beneficial, being the natural function of the soul. Any other view of its nature will stand in the way of that perfect humility, the outcome of absolute submission which is the indispensable condition of its realization.

A chanter of the kirtana of Hari is necessarily the uncompromising enemy of worldliness and hypocrisy. As a chanter of the kirtana of Hari, it is his constant function to dispel all misconceptions by the preaching of the truth in a most unambiguous form, without any influence of person, place or time. That form has to be adopted which is least likely to be misunderstood. It is his bounden duty to oppose any person who tries to deceive and harm himself or other people by misrepresenting the truth either due to malice or genuine misunderstanding. This will be possible if the chanter of kirtana is always prepared to submit to be trodden on by thoughtless people if any discomfort to himself will enable him to do good to his persecutors by chanting the truth in the most unambiguous manner. If he is unwilling to chant the kirtana under all circumstances due to consideration of self-respect or personal discomfort, then he is unfit to be a preacher of the absolute truth. Humility implies perfect submission to the truth and no sympathy for untruth. A person who entertains any partiality for untruth is unfit to chant the kirtana of Hari. Any clinging to untruth is opposed to the principle of humility born of absolute submission to the truth.

Those who serve the truth at all times, by means of all their faculties, and have no hankering for the trivialities of this world, are always necessarily free from malice born of competing worldliness; and are therefore fit to admonish those who are actively engaged in harming themselves and others by the method of opposing or misrepresenting the truth in order to attain the rewards of such a policy in the shape of a perpetuation of the state of misery and ignorance. The method which is employed by the servant of the good preceptor for preventing such misrepresentation of the truth is a part and parcel of the truth itself. It may not always be pleasing to the diseased susceptibilities of deluded minds, and may even be denounced by them as a malicious act with which they are only too familiar, but the words of truth from the lips of a loyal and humble servant of Hari possess such beneficent power that all effort to suppress or obstruct them only serves to vindicate to impartial minds the necessity of complete submission to the absolute truth as the only cure of the disease of worldliness. Humility that is employed in the unambiguous service of the truth is necessarily and qualitatively different from its perverted prototype, which is practiced by the cunning people of this world for gaining their worldly ends. The professors of pseudo- humility have reason to be afraid of the preachings of the servants of Hari (those whose duty it is to expose the enormous possibility of mischief possessed by the many forms of so-called spirituality), when they are taken to task for serving the untruth.

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