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Benefit of Sankirtan

by Swami Sivananda

Lord Hari says to Rishi Narada:

"I dwell not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the Yogins, but I dwell there where My devotee sings My name, O Narada! "

If one does Sankirtan from the bottom of his heart with full Bhava and Prem, even the trees, birds and animals will be deeply influenced. They will respond. Such is the powerful influence of Sankirtan. Rishis and Siddhas visit the place where Sankirtan is held. You can see brilliant lights all around the Pandal.

Melodious music soothes the nerves. In America doctors cure diseases by music. Shakespeare says: "The man who hath no music in himself nor is not moved by the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treason, stratagem and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music. "

Vedanta and Jnana can only be understood by the microscopic minority. Vast majority are fit for Sankirtan-Bhakti only. Even highly intellectual people will derive immense benefit by doing Sankirtan. Their minds will be elevated for practising Nididhyasana (meditation). The Vikshepa in their minds will also be removed.

There is no Yajna greater than Akhanda Kirtan. It does not cost you anything. Whenever you get holidays, start Akhanda Kirtan for twenty-four hours. Change the batch of people every two hours. Those who take an active part in it should wear clothes washed by their own hands and take milk and fruits or Phalahar that day. They should observe strictly the vow of celibacy (Brahmacharya) and walk bare-footed to the place where the Yajna is held. The Kirtan can be continued for a week also. The longer, the better.

In Jhusi there had been Akhanda Kirtan for full one year. In Lakhmipur-Kheri, Pandit Rama Dasji had Akhanda Kirtan for three months. You will also have to follow suit. Remember, Akhanda Kirtan produces tremendous purity of mind and other incalculable benefits. Utsavas for three days may not produce a lasting impression. To induce Samadhi and Divine ecstatic mood quickly, there is no other agent more powerful than Akhanda Kirtan. You should have Akhanda Kirtan, Prabhata Kirtan and also daily Kirtans at night in your own house.

We are often confronted with the puzzling question: Are Jnana and Bhakti conflicting with each other? My answer will be in the negative. There is, in fact, an inter-relation between the two, the one supplementing the other. Bhakti is not at all antagonistic to Jnana. There is doubtless a mutual dependence. Both lead to the same destination. Jnana intensifies Bhakti. A Jnani is truly a highest Samarasa Bhakta. He is a Saivite, Vaishnavaite and a Sakta. He has an all-inclusive, all-embracing heart.

How patiently and cautiously the fisherman watches the bait to catch a single fish! How energetically and untiringly a student works for passing his M. Sc. examination! How vigilant is the man who wants to catch the train at 2 a. m. ! How smart and careful is the surgeon in the operation-theatre when the patient is on the table! How alert is the lawyer when he argues a case in the court! How vigilant is the captain of a ship when there is a cyclone or an ice-berg! Even so, you will have to work hard in the practice of Sankirtan if you care to realise fully the fruits of Sankirtan Bhakti-Yoga.

Do Prabhata Kirtan in a common place and at home at 4 a. m. Do Prabhata Pheri Kirtan around Mohallas. Do Akhanda Sankirtan. Do Nagar Kirtan. Do daily Kirtan in a common place and at home. Establish Hari Kirtan Mandalis in every Mohalla.

Train your children in Kirtan. Do Utsava every year. Let ladies do vigorous Sankirtan. Ladies are the backbone of religion. Religion is maintained through the devotion of our women alone. If they are inspired, the whole world will be inspired. Disseminate Sankirtan Bhakti far and wide. Bring Vaikuntha on earth in every house.

Do actions for His sake only. Be intent on His service. Work with controlled Indriyas and disciplined mind. Be fully devoted to Him. Sacrifice everything to Him. Service of humanity (Desa-Seva) is only Padaseva of God. Prostrate before Him with Bhava and sincerity. Have Lord Krishna as your be-all and Supreme Goal. Take refuge under His Lotus Feet. Constantly think of Him. He will give you liberation. He will give you freedom and perfection.

Now then, stand up friend! Gird up the loins. Push on in your practice. Be true and sincere. Be not troubled; be not anxious if there is a little delay in your progress and advancement. You will have to thoroughly overhaul old Samskaras and fight with the Indriyas and mind. Have full trust in Isvara. Destroy all doubts and desires in the burning ground of mind by the fire of devotion.

March cautiously and boldly in the field of Sankirtan with Vairagya coat-of arms, with the band of Hari Bol, Hari Bol. Remove the five thorns viz. , Abhimana of caste, learning, position, beauty and youth, that lie in the path. That man who is humbler than the blade of grass, who has more endurance than the tree, who cares not for honour and yet honours all is only fit to sing Hari's Name always. Therefore acquire these four qualifications if you want to become real Sankirtanists and desire to get the grace of Hari and His Darshan quickly.

Ask the Lord when you fervently pray, "Tell me honestly, O Hari of compassion. I am sincere now. Will a day come to me in the near future, a day when tears will gush out from my eyes in silence out of sincere devotion unto Thee and drench my clothes as in the case of Lord Gouranga; when I will cry bitterly, 'O Hari! Hey Krishna! ' and roll about on earth in Divine ecstasy forgetting my body, relatives and surroundings and all differences and seeing everywhere Hari and Hari alone like the devotee of yore, Prahlada of happy memory? Withdraw me within, O Love! Take me into Thy sweet bosom that I may be lost in Thee for ever. " Now sing once more His Name:

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.

Sing His Name from the bottom of your heart. Merge in Him. Be established in Him. Be with Him. Be like Him. Become a Jivanmukta and Bhagavata in this very birth. Don't lose this golden opportunity. Weep not afterwards. Remember, delay in God-realisation is but death. Blessed is the place where Sankirtan Sammelan is held. Sacred is the land trodden by the feet of Bhagavatas. Twice blessed are those who daily do Sankirtan. Thrice blessed are those who organise Sankirtan Sammelan. Hail! Hail to the Name of the Lord, which bringeth infinite bliss, peace and immortality! May Joy, Bliss, Peace and Kaivalya abide in you for ever!

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