Archive for June 24th, 2013

Mon, 24 June 2013 22:37:14


Here is one question that was perplexing for me and I was not sure how to respond. On the one hand we say that God is very close, not far, so there is no need for calling Him loudly:

“Those who call out loud to attain Him wrongly believe that He is far away from them. However loudly they might call, their call will never reach Him.” (1)

That is one side of the conundrum: Baba’s above guideline is that if you call Him loudly thinking that He is away then He will go even further away.

And, on the other hand, we are instructed that we must sing kiirtan loudly.

In our Ananda Marga, everything is logical and rational, then why this apparent dichotomy.

Actually, I was not confused about this myself. I was not even aware about this matter. It was only brought to my attention when a new person posed this question to me. Then I found I had no logical reply. That is when I became perplexed. I knew there had to be a rational explanation, but I was not sure what that was.

I spoke with with many people: Acaryas, senior margiis, new and old people, and they told many things. But here is the key point that I share with you now.

For clarity here again is the question at hand.

On the one side, Baba guides us that yelling and hollering the name of the Lord will not bring one any closer to Him. Thus we should not emulate the faulty approach of certain religious followers who yell for the Lord.

Then in so many other discourses He guides us that we Ananda Margiis are to sing kiirtan loudly.

“If anyone is to be praised in this world, if anyone’s virtues are to be extolled loudly through kiirtana, it should be Parama Puruśa. Kiirtana means to utter good words loudly; not mentally, nor in a whisper, but loud enough for everyone to hear.” (Ananda Vacanamrtam – 7, How Should a Devotee Behave?)

In that case what is the difference between the loud singing done by those dogmatic religious followers and our loudly sung kiirtan programs? That is the query the new person posed to me. And at the time I was unable to give a rational convincing response.

But after consulting with others, here is essence of the reply that was given.

When the dogmatic religious followers loudly yell and cry out for their Lord, then their intention is that by this way they should gain His favour or His blessing in the form of material goods etc. And because they think their God is far away – up in the seventh sky – they call for Him very loudly. That is why they use such a booming voice.

Think of it this way. Suppose you and a friend are sitting side by side talking. Then one will not use a loud voice. Rather you will just talk quietly and you may even whisper. Because you understand that your friend is right next to you. Whereas, if you saw your friend all the way down the road, 1/2 a kilometer away – then you would yell loudly, so that he could hear you.

That same modality is functioning with dogmatic worshipers who feel that their Lord is far away. To communicate their requests to Him – to make sure they are heard – they call for Him loudly. But according to Ananda Marga philosophy, loudly yelling will only increase the distance between them and their Lord. That is what happens when they call for Him loudly.

In contrast, when Ananda Margiis sing kiirtan loudly, that is not done because we feel that Parama Purusa is far away – i.e. across the planet or up in the sky etc. We do not feel that He is far and that is now why we sing kiirtan loudly. We sing kiirtan loudly so others can hear the glorious name of the Lord. That is why we sing kiirtan loudly: To propagate the Lord’s glory to others.

“It is said, “Kiirttaniiyah sadáharih”. What do we mean by “kiirttaniiyah”? When someone’s qualities are sung aloud and highly praised, it is called “kiirttaniiyah”. In Saḿskrta, the root verb “kiirt” means “to utter something loudly in praise of someone”. It is something that is uttered loudly enough to be audible to others. If uttered very softly, it will be audible to oneself, and if uttered mentally, it will be audible to one’s own mind, but will not be audible to others. Kiirtana should be sung loudly enough to be heard by others.” (2)

By Baba’s above explanation it is very clear that we are to sing kiirtan loudly so that others may hear. That is the key reason for singing loudly: That way others can listen to the glories of the Lord.

We do not sing loudly because we think that by singing loudly then Parama Purusa can hear us – whereas if we sing softly then He will not be able to hear. We do not take part in such dogma. Because we know that volume is not the operating factor in communicating with Parama Purusa. He is with us always and knows all our thoughts. In that case one need not use one’s voice box at all. In sadhana and in dhyana we communicate silently with Him.

Thus there is no question of singing kiirtan loudly so He can hear it. Even if we silently repeat the kiirtan mantra in the mind, then also He will know about it. Then also He will hear it.

So when we use a loudspeaker in our kiirtan programs that is not so God will hear. Some of the dogmatic religions feel that if the voice does not reach a certain decibel then the Lord cannot hear them. But that is not our approach. We use the PA system or loudspeaker system to share the kiirtan with those around us – so they can hear the Lord’s glories.

Singing kiirtan loudly so others can hear the glories of the Lord is a very natural thing to do.

It is just like if you found a solid gold brick in your basement, then immediately you would cry out and tell all your friends and family about what you found. Here the point is that when anyone finds or discovers something special then they have a strong desire to share that news with others. People have an inherent inclination to share good news with others.

This is what is commonly done. When scientists discover a new star or planet then they have a big press conference and announce it to the world. And when a sports team wins a championship then they broadcast that so all can hear about it. Similarly, when a politician wins an election then they do not just repeat the victory slogan to themselves silently – rather they spread that news far and wide so all can hear it.

This is the common psychology.

In a related manner, when as bhaktas we know that Taraka Brahma has come then we are inclined to share that news with everyone. For that reason, we loudly sing the glories of Parama Purusa so all can hear about it.

We want others to realise that only His name is the divine truth – not any material possession like money, fancy cars, social status, or other mundane quality. These things are transient: Here today, gone tomorrow. Anyone running after material wants is sure to be disappointed as those things just do not last. As Ananda Margiis, we hold dear only His name. That is why we sing Baba Nam Kevalam. Only His name is meaningful – everything else is temporary and transient. So we sing His name loudly to share that the glory or the name of Parama Purusa as that is what is most meaningful. We want to communicate this with everybody.

Thus our main reason for singing kiirtan loudly is so others may be benefited by hearing His divine name – they should hear the glories of the Lord.

“Kiirtaniiyah sadá harih. One should always do the kiirtana of the Lord. What does kiirtana mean? To sing in a loud voice the qualities of the Lord.” (3)

And this is done so that others may hear our call – i.e. the name of the Lord.

One side reason for singing kiirtan loudly is that it satisfies a fundamental emotional quality of being human – i.e. expressing one’s heart-felt feelings.

First and foremost, we sing kiirtan loudly so others can hear not because our aim is to communicate directly with Parama Purusa. That can happen internally – there is no need to sing loudly to achieve that.

“Those who call out loud to attain Him wrongly believe that He is far away from them. However loudly they might call, their call will never reach Him. To call that Supreme Entity the mind must be introverted with proper ideation. The scriptures describe three types of incantation: vácanik (verbal repetition), upáḿshu (muttering repetition), mánasik (mental repetition). Verbal repetition means to call Parama Puruśa loudly on the supposition that He is far, far away. In muttering repetition there is a slight movement of the lips causing the incantation to be audible to oneself only. In the third category of incantation it is the mind which utters and listens to the incantation; no one even gets the least hint that you are engaged in iishvara prańidhána (cosmic ideation – a vital part of the spiritual cult).” (4)

“Why does kiirtana have to be vocalized? The science behind it is that when you do kiirtana loudly your mind remains engaged. It cannot do anything else. At that time it is not possible to abuse someone or to have a worldly conversation. The mind is busy vocalizing, rather I will say that it is given over to the vocalization. The vocal cords are busy in that, the mind is employed in that thought, and the ears are hearing it, they don’t have any chance to go here and there. For this reason the rule of vocalizing kiirtana loudly makes it both heard and sung. Kiirtan is not done softly.” (5)


“The easiest way to do this is to sing the glories of the Supreme Entity whose very thought automatically elevates the mind. Chanting the name of Parama Puruśa aloud is called kiirtana; For, the vibration created in the atmosphere by kiirtana will influence others also. But if one’s mental ideation is conveyed only to Parama Puruśa without affecting other human beings, this is called bhajana. So bhajana is purely personal; it has no collective aspect. Kiirtana is more beneficial than bhajana, and hence it is said kiirtaniiyah sadá harih: whenever you find time, do kiirtana loudly and you will never become degenerated because by chanting the Lord’s holy name the mind remains elevated. Mudslinging and criticizing is thereby stopped forever, and hence kiirtana averts the degradation of the human mind. You should always remember that in every sphere of life – social, political, economic, psychic, and spiritual – you should always follow the principle of “taking the opposite stance”: there is no exception to this rule. Victory will surely be yours. ” (6)

“Perhaps you know that japa is of three kinds – vácanika, upáḿshu, and mánasika. Vácanika japa, the attempt to attract His attention by reciting prayers in a loud voice, is absolutely meaningless. Respect, affection, sincerity and devotion are attributes of the inner heart and are not to be expressed loudly in the language of flatterers. Vácanika japa, therefore, serves no purpose. However when a desire for vocal expression of an internal feeling is aroused, the divine touch can be expressed in sweet language in the form of a verse or song…but they cannot serve the purpose of auto-suggestion of Iishvara prańidhána.” (7)


“Iishvara prańidhána means to move with accelerated speed towards that Supreme Shelter, God. Therefore, Iishvara prańidhána is absolutely based on bháva, or ideation – it is a mental effort in its entirety. Shouting at the top of one’s voice for a big crowd to assemble, or showing devotion by beating drums, etc., has got no place in it. Your Iishvara is not deaf. Don’t shout to convey your mental feelings to Him.” (8)


“Those who don’t have this feeling and think that Parama Puruśa is far away, may cry themselves hoarse, yet their sobs will not be heard by Him. The actual truth is that the Supreme Entity lies covert in the small “I” feeling of all living creatures. So He is not far from anything; rather, He is the very “I” of each and every microcosm. With this idea or feeling in mind, spiritual aspirants should start their spiritual practice. To be ensconced in this supreme idea is the culminating point of all sadhana.” (9)

“He is far, far away from the one who thinks Him to be remote, and He is nearer than the near to the one who thinks Him to be close. The one who has eyes to see who has known Him even a wee bit, knows that He abides in his or her very sense of existence – in his or her very heart’s desire as the Supreme Radiance. To seek Him – to attain Him – it is not at all necessary to run from one place to another. “He is not elsewhere but right within.”” (10)

In a related manner it is terribly unfortunate that some of our brothers have gotten confused and think that Baba is far, far away, and has left to some other world. Their very use of the term -prayan (gone far away) gives this very idea. That is why they observe mahaprayan divas (MPD). Such persons cannot think or feel that Parama Purusa lies within, so they started their dogma of mahaprayan. Observing this is a veritable dichotomy. Parama Purusa resides eternally in the heart, and the propagators and supporters of MPD proclaim that Baba has journeyed far, far away. Such is their misunderstanding. It is a sad and tragic situation. For their well-being it is our collective responsibility to guide them and bring them onto the right path.

Thus there is a stark and vast difference between those religious followers who sing loudly to reach the God who is up in the heaven and want bonds and our approach of singing kiirtan loudly with the intent that others should hear. Those are two polar-opposite avenues.

It is just like if a mother and daughter are sitting near each other than they speak softly, and if they are very far apart physically, they will yell to convey their message to one another. Same is the case of those shouting to Parama Purusa in hopes of getting His favour or boons etc. Tragically, they do not feel He is near.

Every true bhakta has realised that they can communicate with Him silently in dhyana – or anytime. Because always Parama Purusa is present – He is aware of one’s every thought.

So our kiirtan is not sung to communicate directly with Him. Kiirtan is done so others may hear about the glory of the Lord.

At His lotus feet,

1. Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life – 6, Microcosm and Macrocosm
2. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 8, The Lord Should Always Be Praised
3. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 9, “Always Do the Kiirtana of the Lord”
4. AMIWL-6, Microcosm and Macrocosm
5. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 9, “Always Do the Kiirtana of the Lord”
6. AMIWL-11, Taking the Opposite Stance in Battle
7. A Guide to Human Conduct
8. A Guide to Human Conduct
9. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 4, He Is Even Nearer Than You Think
10. SS-2, The Intuitional Science of the Vedas – 2


PS Intro: In this following song the devotee is expressing His inner heart to Baba in an indirect manner.

“A’j saka’le ghum bha’una’le, ke tumi priyo cinmay, Abhinava tumi abhinava…” (P.S. 4651)


O’ the Divine Entity, who are You who is so effulgent and charming. In the very early dawn, You have come and awakened me this morning. Who are You who is so sweet and benevolent.

By Your own efforts, You have graciously opened my doors of bondage and removed all the attachments from my mind. O’ Divine Entity, You have made me Yours. Who are You who is so beautiful.

Since You came in my life, everything has taken on a new colour. The Controller of the operative principle has Himself taken advent – in the most colourful rainbow form.

O’ Divine Entity, You have coloured my mind; You are the brightest jewel. With Your divine Presence You have vibrated all the lokas. The most effulgent Divine Entity has come and made my life colorful…

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