When Your flute resounds?!

When Your flute resounds,

mountains start trembling,

rivers start dancing,

rocks start crumbling,

and hearts start melting.

When Your flute resounds,

sages give up their bodies,

yogis give up their trance,

and transcendental milkmaids lose their minds.

When Your flute resounds,

souls lose control of their hands and legs,

they start jumping up and down

and their minds and senses,

know no bounds.

When Your Flute resounds,

it crushes our pride,

it destroys our envy,

and it puts out our lust.

Hey,  Flute Player Divine,

hey, dear Friend,

when will that day be mine,

when Your Flute Divine,

will resound in the corners of my heart?

When will that day be mine,

when Your Flute Divine,

will make me lose my mind?

Weeping and weeping

I curse all that wasted time,

when I can’t hear Your Flute Divine!

Teachers

For the ones that uplift us,

for the ones that support us,

for the ones that ignite us,

for them,

both past and present,

we unite our hands

and bow down our heads!

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Alone we were born,

and alone we’ll pass,

but on the journey between,

they will carry us,

they will inspire us,

and they will care for us!

For them,

both past and present,

we unite our hands

and bow down our heads!

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In the darkest of hours,

in the greatest of dangers,

and in the moments of despair,

when all seems lost,

they extend their hands,

for their mercy has no limits,

their affection no end,

and their love cannot be checked!

For them,

both past and present,

we unite our hands

and bow down our heads!

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Even when we are on top of the world,

even when we think we know it all,

even when we act like we are in control,

their mercy shines,

their wisdom is bright,

and they kindly put us right,

for humility is a weapon,

that does not tolerate any pride!

For them,

both past and present,

we unite our hands

and bow down our heads!

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For all our teachers,

both past and present,

we praise their names,

we sing their glories,

we unite our hands,

and bow down our heads!

Gift

Born in delusion,

bewildered with confusion,

always in illusion,

a broken record,

skips a beat

and echos in the chambers of my mind:

‘I am the doer, I am the master,

I deserve this, I deserve that!’

Pathetic condition, indeed!

The story goes on…

‘I am the greatest,

I am the smartest!’

slowly poisoning the heart,

constantly forgetting,

that it was all a Gift from the start.

This body, that mind, that voice,

these thoughts, these stories, these qualities,

all a Gift from the Divine.

Nothing is deserved,

neither gained,

nor achieved.

All is the Gift,

the Gift of mercy,

the Gift of Grace!

‘I am not the doer.

I am the vessel- the instrument of Grace!’

Let us be sincere,

let us be humble,

let us be the giver of Your matchless Gift,

let us always decorate the hearts of others,

with your loving playful Names!

Oh, dear mind!

Oh, dear mind,

are you not tired?!

Always lamenting,

always complaining,

always fault-finding!

I know that’s how you’re wired!

But, hey dear mind,

are you not tired!?-

Of singing the same old song,

of playing the same old tune,

of repeating the same old lyrics!?-

‘She is too much!

he is too much!

they are too much!’

I know that’s how you’re wired!

Oh, dear mind,

Are you not tired!?

Hey dear friend,

rise up above all dualities,

let go of all anxieties,

jump in serving all of humanity!

Hey brother,

let me teach you a song,

that will take you along,

the journey of your soul!

It goes like… ‘Hare, Krishna, and Rama

Rama, Krishna, and Hare!’

You won’t wait long

for the nectar to flow.

That same nectar that we’re all anxious to know.

Oh, dear mind,

the time has come

for you to dance,

for you to sing,

for you to Love!

Hey brother,

the time has come,

for you to serve,

the eternal servants of the Great Dance!

For they gave you a gift,

 that cannot be matched!

For they offered you a loving hand,

that cannot be ignored!

Oh, dear mind,

now is the time

for you to risk,

to risk being fearless

of giving this gift

that cannot be matched!

Hey brother,

go on the streets,

chant, sing and dance!

Go on the streets,

and serve the greats!

Go on the streets,

and ignite the spark,

in the hearts of others,

that will start a revolution-

so they may also know the flow of nectar,

so they may also receive the gift,

so they may also serve the greats!

Oh, dear mind,

I know you’re tired,

but hey, this is how you got rewired!

Where are You, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord?

Where are You, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord?

Are You in the forest-

mesmerising all the creatures?

Are You on the Hill-

playing with your Brother?

Are You hiding on a tree-

delighting on the distress of others?

Or, Are You, once more-

playing with the hearts of others?

Where are You, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord?

 

Alas, You are an expert of avoiding Her!

You are an expert in making Her cry!

Alas, You are the expert in wasting Her life!

‘Come, come…don’t waste any more time!

Come, come… show Yourself!’

Show Yourself, so She stops crying!

So She stops waning!

So She stops dying!

 

Show Yourself, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord!

‘Oh, dearest Sakhi, don’t You worry!

Oh, dearest Sakhi, don’t You cry!

Oh, dearest Sakhi, don’t You give up Your life!

He will show up any moment now!

Just one more call: Hari, Hari, Hari!

Keep calling Him, Keep calling Him!’

Show Yourself, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord!

 

Where are You, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord?

Are you in the grazing fields-

tending all Your beloved cows?

Are you with your friends-

playing sports with them?

Are you hiding in the dark-

torturing our hearts?

Where are You, Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord?

 

‘Give up all these,

for She desires to unite,

for She desires to ignite,

the spark of love, the spark of ecstasy,

that makes Her dance, that makes Her melt,

in Your lovingly embracing arms!

Give up all these!’

Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord, Show Yourself!

Don’t You dare make Her wait!

Where are You, alas…Where are You,

Oh, Lotus-eyed Lord?!

 

Photo Credits: @shymaramaniart

Radhadesh Mellows 2019- Every kirtan tells a story.

Every kirtan tells a story.

            Stories underpin the human condition at every step. Stories are the fundamental building blocks of our identities and relationships. We are who we are because we tell ourselves the stories of who we are. Over time, we start believing these stories and in turn, we start living them. Ultimately, the stories we expose ourselves to through culture, society, and art, create our sense of self and of ‘I-ness’ and ‘mine-ness.’ In this way, we get our sense of proprietorship and control. Then, all kinds of anxieties arise, as we delude ourselves that we are in control of anything. In reality, there is only one person in control- Sri Krishna.

Fortunately, kirtan (congregational chanting of the Holy Names) is rather a purifying process, reminding us, so to speak, of the Actual controller. Indeed, kirtan cleanses the heart of all the materially binding stories. Kirtan allows us to transcend the sense of ‘I-ness’ and ‘mine-ness.’ It allows us to open our hearts to the Divine and to embrace Him with our whole beings. Kirtan does not tolerate any petty criticisms and lamentations coming from our story conditioned minds. The way kirtan destroys all these conditionings is by telling a better story, a story of a higher taste, indeed. In reality, kirtan tells the real story of the relationship between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul-and of course, it is a story of mutual Love. Only in a loving divine union (the actual meaning of yoga), can the individual soul transcend the petty sense of proprietorship and control and simply experience the ecstasy of loving exchanges with Krishna.

Of course, for a good story we need good storytellers. In terms of kirtan, the kirtaniyas engage us in their loving stories and personal relationships with the Divine, Sri Krishna. At least that seems to be the case on the surface. In reality, kirtan is such a powerful and subtle act of worshipping the Divine that every single participant contributes to the telling of the kirtan love story, so to speak. This realisation came to my mind during this year’s kirtan festival- Radhadesh Mellows. Yes, there were incredibly talented kirtan leaders that we all love to hear and yes, all of them carry in their hearts the kirtan love story and share it with us. In this sense, they perform incredible service for the rest of us, for which we should be extremely grateful. However, being in the kirtan hall, with additional 300 people or so, made me start noticing aspects of the kirtan, I did not appreciate before that moment. I started realising how the mridanga and karatals were nicely illustrating the dynamic relationship between Krishna and the individual soul. The harmonium was dictating the movements of the kirtan leaders’ fingers. The violin and the flute were nicely inviting all of us to come to the transcendental platform. Then, the smiling faces of all around me, gave me a sense of Krishna’s presence in the hall. Indeed, He was present in the hearts of everyone. Jumping up and down of people was adding yet another layer of ecstatic expressions. Even the walls and the paintings on the walls were telling their kirtan love stories. In moments like these, one forgets all of one’s stories that conditioned his/her sense of identity. In moments like these, the mind quits lamenting and starts hearing the flute, or Krishna’s Divine Calling to join the eternal dance. In moments like these, the individual soul remembers that the Divine has always loved her/him. Ultimately, kirtan tells the story about our long forgotten lover, Sri Krishna, Bhagavan!