The Hare Krishna is said to be the mantra of mantra, the mantra that encompasses all other mantras.
For the past 8 years since I was first moved by the mantra it has had varying meanings for I and my journey and I felt compelled after attending the most recent 24 hour kirtan to share some of how this has impacted my life...
When I first heard it walking through Prana New Year’s festival in New Zealand, it was something powerfully sweet and beautiful. I didn’t know what it meant but could feel a sweetness that sounded amazing and I wished to experience more of. I began to observe how some of the people who sang this mantra had a lightness and joy. 9 months later back in Ireland I felt a need to add something to my spiritual practices. I was meditating, healing etc. but realised it was time to introduce something new into my life that would increase the awareness and integration of the connection between voice and heart. As soon as I questioned what that could be, the answer came to try the Hare Krishna chanting that I had heard that beautiful afternoon back in NZ. Within 24 hours I noticed a sign when I was walking down Abbey St in Dublin. I went online and saw there was a weekly kirtan which would be taking place the following day. I went along and have pretty much been going ever since.
At first I felt a million miles away from the sounds I could hear. I desperately wished to be able to sing along and experience the feeling that was calling me. Over time it happened, first a word or two then the whole mantra, sometimes very loud and out of tune! Sometimes I cried from a sadness that arose and sometimes I laughed. Sometimes I cringed at my voice, sometimes I marvelled at others, and found and still find that when I truly listened to all voices and instruements playing together in the one moment, I am truly deeply and powerfully moved! I noticed that whenever I would bump into someone afterwards on my way home, they would often mention that I looked well. The chanting releases an inner fire and energy, it purifies the heart and uplifts the spirit. It nourishes the being beyond what food, drugs, exercise and sex can. It’s a different flavour, one that boosts all areas of life and makes intoxicants seem trivial and playschool toys. Still everything can have its place but nothing I knew could quite compare to what I could feel and experience during a kirtan, not every kirtan but many of them. Sometimes they’d feel painful and to stay was an act of sure discipline, but that’s okay and sometimes I'd stay and sometimes I'd go!
The 24 hour kirtan in Birmingham has been going for many years and I have been fortunate to attend the past 5 years. Each year I marvel at how something beautiful occurs during and after it. At first being able to sing and chant with so many others was such a trip. To listen to 700+ people chanting this mantra at the same time in a sacred environment with amazing musicians and people spontaneously dancing and twirling is the sacred buzz!
Last year I remember a part of my brain opening and all this beautiful energy flowing through. The week that followed visiting my sister and giving healing sessions in London was seriously blessed too.
This year I observed myself on the Saturday wondering if this mantra being repeated so intensely was really beneficial. I observed all thoughts arise. I wondered why I always attended this kirtan, without even needing to think about it. I wondered if maybe I didn’t need to go any longer. But onwards I went watching thoughts arise and disappear as I chanted,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
I was enjoyably tired and when it came to 1am felt it was a good time to have a sleep on the mat next to kirtan. Most poeple stay in hotels but for I to stay right beside the kirtan and fall asleep to it, sleep with it and wake to it is an important part of the pilgrimage/ journey. I fell asleep quickly and woke 4 hours later to a crescendo and great kirtan with the 10 or so who were still up playing. About 20 stayed on the floor in differing areas of the hall and the rest had returned home and arranged hotels which the event organisers had highly encouraged.
As I awoke I felt such a warmth love, blessings of the great mother, father and holy spirit talking and moving through me. I lay and listened and after 45 minutes or so sat back up and joined back in. Something felt different though. I felt different; lighter, clearer and so much inner love flowing everywhere giving me messages of peace and joy.
I was blessed with having that day to give great thanks to the creator, be it God, Krishna, the holy spirit, love, these are just words I am using to describe a feeling, a state of being, where I felt more in the now than maybe every before. As I chanted the mantra I could feel the energy flowing right through the body and energy field in a pattern I hadn’t previously experienced. Beautifully radical!
I got the opportunity on Sunday to chant for my family, friends, those I went to school with, those I work with and those I am yet to meet. I chanted for Ireland, for Birmingham, for the U.K. for the Earth, solar system and beyond. I chanted for love, compassion, forgiveness, wisdom and truth. My energy field mixed with that of the room and I could feel and see love moving through all.
Although it’s called a 24 hour kirtan it actually went on for 32 hours. At 26 hours it was time for I to leave. I hada train and plane to catch back to Ireland to attend an ole friend’s birthday party. I felt tears of love and gratitude. I felt a flow of oneness with the Divine, feeling the flow in the now and with it a new softness and expanding light. I am forever grateful for the mystery and gifts of this mantra and all who create, partake and make this event possible. It blew me away over 8 years ago and continues to do so. It has continually strengthened me on the spiritual journey and given me greater access to depths of love, far more than any drug, chocolate, synthetic or otherwise! I’m not one for going on about things, but for anyone you meet who is in a good place, there are practices they undertake regularly to create and sustain the good space. I have many, from keeping my spaces clean and clear to good nutrition to alkalising juices to cleansing to meditating to music to art to good association to being in nature… And I think this recent journey and the renewed recognition of this mantra's strength might have just put it into a definite No 1 place in practices of my life. All I say really is, If you feel the calling, give it a go. You can repeat in in your mind as you go about your day, or for a walk, sing it out loud in the car or come to a kirtan. There is a kirtan boom happening around the world right now so you'll probably find one pretty close to where you live if you look on-line. So ahppy to share this treasure!
It’s amazing what you can experience in 24 hours- sometimes!
Peace & Love to all beings everywhere.
Jagannatha, Balabhadra(Balarama) and Subhadra, thank you for your kindness and generosity.
Hare Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare