Kirtana or loud repetition of the Holy Names of the Lord is a magnificent way to revive the sleeping consciousness within oneself. Participating in a thunderous congregation of Kirtana rejuvenates the environment and the soul in general. It is called the Yuga Dharma and was most recommended by the Kaliyuga Avatara Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
After the popular movements of the world took off about fifty years ago, there are millions who participate in Kirtana parties and there is a continued trend of Kirtana that is going on in the world today. This is a very positive trend taking into account the growing onslaught of Kaliyuga on a simultaneous platform. When we look at the world condition with a studious eye we see that there is a larger “Holy Name chanting” society and then there are individuals who are part of that society. It is important to consider the end-goal in mind especially when it comes to Bhakti and see what is promised by the Bhakti-Shastras as the sea of individuals taking to Bhakti processes in heaps. One question as devotees we should put forth is, are we going towards the goals that have been set for the “surrendered” individuals who claim to be devotees or what the society claims them to be?
It is said in the Bhakti Shastras that when one loudly chants the Holy name the bird like worries and anarthas that occupy the tree of the soul fly away thus freeing the consciousness from the grip of worldly nature. There is no doubt that this feeling of euphoria does appear on the mirror of the soul but as soon as the Kirtana is over , when the individual resumes his worldly activity these destructive birds again make their appearance and perch on the tree of the soul and start pecking at the peace like fruits thereby creating untold disturbances. The only solution appears to be that one should be in Kirtana twenty four hours, three hundred and sixty five days. But this is far from being practical. This just means that the onslaught of Kaliyuga is too severe as compared to the time available for Kirtana. Inaudible chanting of the Holy name is also a wonderful way to keep the mind floating above the layer of worldly distractions and anarthas. Yet these processes will only allow one to float but a little loose handle will pull one’s consciousness back into the lurch of anarthas and worldly mess. The situations in the life of an individual have a relation with the karmic noose that grips his consciousness. The Holy name is a guide, it guides one to the higher agents who will provide the tools to be free of the world once and for all and enter into the mellows of divine love. However the world at the current moment seems to be completely ignorant of this possibility.The mood in which people take to Hari Nama has a lot to do with the results of such chanting. Many people take to chanting because this gives them happiness and chanting seems to alleviate problems. This type of chanting is offensive and considered to be Nama apradha. Such Nama apradha enmeshes the person who chants to money and fame. When a person commits Vaishnava Apradha, the chanting of the Holy Name only binds such an individual to worldly people and weakens the thought of the Lord. A person who does consistent offense less chanting is elevated to the position of an Ekanta Bhajananandi and the world for such a person stands dissolved. He is transported to a platform where there is only sadhana. Such a person through sadhana attains the transcendental position of a saint. There have been people who have been considered God-realized saints. Little does anyone realize that these saints, at a point in time were just ordinary individuals like any of us? However, people normally believe that these saints are sent by God, they are eternally free and hence we can never be like them. This statement is not entirely true. There are two types of God-realized saints. The first types are nitya siddhas, those saints who are eternally free and appear for the welfare of mankind. The second category of God-realized saints are the ones who have attained their status of eternal freedom in this life-time and hence regarded as sadhana-siddhas, those who have attained the status by using their limited free-will as guided by the Guru and then accepted by the Lord. These sadhana-siddhas start their lives like any other common individuals but at a point of time apply themselves single-pointedly towards the attainment of the Supreme. Both the Sadhguru and the Lord provide support to the sadhakas and slowly raise them in accordance to their sadhana to the position of siddha or attainment of the direct service of the Lord. Thus it should be understood by serious seekers of the divine that it is only one’s deep intention and greed that can take one to the cherished goal. Simply mindless chanting of the Holy name without a scientific goal cannot take you far.