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East Village Temple Kirtan

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March 1st, 2009

Sri Sri Radha Muralidhara L to R: Acyuta Gopi, Gaura Vani and Ray Ippolito

We’ve been making monthly visits to the East Village Temple and whenever we listen to the kirtans from there and talk to the devotees I’m always reminded of why. The devotees are doing so much to spread Krishna Kirtan within every nook and cranny of New York and to try and uplift the vibe of this city of enjoyment.

The program that took place there began at 4pm and one of the first questions asked was who had attended kirtan for the first time. A few hands raised but most people were kirtan regulars. The discussion for this visit centered on what makes kirtan so special. What is it about kirtan that makes people happy to do it? What would make us want to spread kirtan? A lot of the answers focused on the fact that kirtan is able to take the soul and the consciousness to another place. One person commented that kirtan is able to completely engulf the soul and cancel out all of the other waves that people are dealing with in their daily lives.

Listen to the entire Kirtan!

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Acyuta Gopi Gaura Vani Ray Ippolito vibrating the cosmos.

For me, kirtan is special because it is always joyfully performed. I don’t know anywhere else where I can sing one song with the same words for four hours and never tire of it. Once a kirtan is over, I always feel like it just wasn’t long enough and that I want to do another one. I feel enlivened and recharged, however these are the same words that I have been singing for years. The happiness that I feel even just from seeing other people chant Hare Krishna inspires me and gives me such tremendous joy that I always feel as though there is no where else in the universe I would rather be than in that particular kirtan.

Kirtan at the East Village Temple Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Jayate

As we sang in the company of our friends and kirtan enthusiasts, I saw that many people were smiling and clapping along with their eyes closed, feeling the melody and the driving beats that Ananta is so expert at playing on mrdanga. Others were crying, but still singing at the top of their voices. The sight was breathtaking and amazing. Radha Murlidhara were behind us giving everyone their blessings and I took a few steadying breaths to commit the scene to memory.

Kirtan RasChant, Dance and Be Happy

Once the kirtan was over, we were able to talk with some of those who attended about the way that kirtan made them feel. Some expressed that it was the best thing in their week, and some of the new people who said that they had never attended a kirtan before spoke of how it was out of this world. Kirtan truly is out of this world, but somehow we’ve all been given the wonderful benediction that we are able to experience it and to participate in it. The more we do kirtan, the more the kirtan gives back to us and makes us feel complete. More than one person expressed that they felt themselves tearing up while looking at the deities and singing for them.

New York is being transformed little by little into a city of kirtan. It is a city where people will be able to sing and dance and share their love for Kirtan with others. The more they do, the more it will spread. Being able to witness these things take place and the opportunity to share some of the experiences with others are blessings that I wouldn’t trade in for anything in the entire universe.

Acyuta Gopi is a member of As Kindred Spirits and a powerhouse kirtan leader in her own right. Browse the Downloads page for some of her transforming kirtans.
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