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Prabhupada quotes regarding Kirtan standards and the public presentation of Krsna consciousness:

"My opinion is that it is not necessary for us to utilize these different musical talents for spreading Krsna Consciousness. I would rather see people follow strictly the path of Lord Caitanya and His Sankirtana devotees. We are using mrdanga, karatala, that is enough. We are not musicians. We are Krsna bhaktas. Therefore we do not stress so much importance on these different musical talents. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is God Himself. Had He thought it would have been better to spread Krsna Consciousness by another way He would have done so. But no, simply with mrdanga and karatala, traveling and chanting Hare Krsna, asking everyone to chant Hare Krsna, preaching simply Srimad-Bhagavatam philosophy, this is the process. There is no need for us to try and add anything to this simple method. It will only be a distraction." (Prabhupada Letter to Jagadish Pandit 74-12-28)

"I never thought about the audience. I was prepared to chant even if there were no men present to hear me. The principle of chanting is to glorify the Lord & not to attract a crowd. If Krishna hears nicely then he will ask some sincere devotee to gather in such place. Therefore be advised that thousands of centers may be started if we find out a sincere soul for each & every center." (Prabhupada Letter 67-11-12)

"Krishna kirtana is not meant for entertaining the public for demonstration of arts. It is dynamic service to the Lord. We do not therefore mind so much about the artistic presentation of Krishna kirtana but we want to see how much a devotee is satisfying the Supreme Will." (Prabhupada Letter to Jadurani 67-12-12)

"Practicing is already done by kirtana. It is not required for us to become artists. Our main point is service to Krishna, not to please an audience. We shall not divert our attention too much to adjustment of musical sounds. People should not misunderstood that we are a band of musical artists. They must know that we are devotees of Krishna. Our devotional practice and purity shall be so strong that wherever we chant there will be immediately an impression in the audience for devotion to Krishna." (Prabhupada Letter to Tamala Krishna 69-10-30)

"Our process is to show Krishna Consciousness as it is, not as others want to see it. By showing KC in this way, you are making the thing less important. It is not that we should change to accommodate the public, but that we should change the public to accommodate us.. If we simply present Krishna Consciousness in a serious and attractive way, without need to resort to fashionable slogans or tricks, that is sufficient. Our unique asset is our purity. No one any where can match it. That will be noticed eventually and appreciated, as long as we do not diminish or neglect the highest standard of purity in performing our routine work, not that we require to display or announce ourselves in very clever ways to get attention. No, our pure standard is enough. Let us stand on that basis." (Prabhupada Letter to Yogesvara 71-12-28)

"So far the Road Show and this Yoga Village are concerned, these things should be stopped. Simply perform our kirtana. If we divert our attention in this way, the whole thing will gradually deteriorate.. All these things are nonsense inventions. Such inventing spirit will ruin our this movement. People may come to see, some will become devotees, but such devotees will not stay because they are attracted by some show and not by the real thing or spiritual life according to the standard of Lord Caitanya. Our standard is to have kirtana, start temples. What is this "Road Show" and "Yoga Village?" It will be another hippie edition. Gradually the Krishna Consciousness idea will evaporate: another change, another change, every day another change. Stop all this. Simply have kirtana, nothing else. Don't manufacture ideas." (Prabhupada Letter to Sudama 72-11-5)

"So far your road-show is concerned, we are not meant for giving performances, we are simple kirtana men. There must always be kirtana going on wherever we travel, and nothing else. In this connection refer to the GBC letter which will be sent to you shortly by Karandhara and Syamasundara." (Prabhupada letter to Kirtanananda 72-6-25)

*"One night there was a darsana with one musician. I never got the understanding whether this was a person coming to Krsna consciousness or whether this was already a devotee. I always thought it was someone coming to Krsna consciousness that wanted to use their western rock and roll guitar style in service to Lord Caitanya, and Prabhupada was very adamant, and the guy kept bringing the point up two or three times and finally Prabhupada said "No!" and he pointed, there was this beautiful picture of Panca-tattva on the wall of his room. He said "You see Mahaprabhu; kartalas and mrdanga, that is all." (Caturatma das: Memories of Srila Prabhupada DVD 51)

"Regarding your question of dancing-show, whatever it may be, it may not deviate from the real Krishna Consciousness program. We are Hari Kirtana men, that's all. We can attract people by some gorgeous show, but inside there must be strict purity and seriousness, otherwise, we shall be attracted by the gorgeous show only...here in London they had arranged one program of lecturing by me along with a recital by one man playing on the vina just to attract attention to my speaking. I am not in approval of such arrangements, and it will be dangerous thing in future if we begin this type of program just to attract the masses. Already I see this happening practically all over the Society, so better we stop it now and get ourselves firmly on the track chalked out for us by Lord Caitanya. We are simply Sankirtana men, our program is chanting, dancing, distributing prasadam, and speaking high philosophy, that's all." (Prabhupada Letter to Madhudvisa. 72-07-08)

"In India the system is that people go to see the Jagannatha Deity. The Deity is not very beautiful from the artistic point of view, but still people attend by the thousands. That sentiment is required. Similarly with our kirtana we are only using drums and karatalas, but people come to the point of ecstasy. It is not the ornamentation, it is the ecstasy. This ecstasy is awakened by sravanam kirtanam by devotees." (Prabhupada Letter to Dr. Wolf 76-01-29)

"We should not try to become a very popular musical party. Music is one of our items for chanting, but we are not musicians. We should always remember this fact. We take advantage of the typewriter but that doesn't mean we are professional typists." (Prabhupada Letter 69-07-02)

"The chanting is very effective. Along with tampura and mrdanga played very rhythmically, let them chant. Perform this musical demonstration and sell books as far as possible, and feasting." (Prabhupada Letter to Harikesa 76-10-28)

"Another proposal is that I want to form a sankirtana party in which two members will play mrdanga, eight will play the cymbals, two will play on tamboura, and one on harmonium. Besides that there will be the leader of the party. This party will be so trained that exhibitions of our chanting and dancing along with distribution of prasadam will be performed on a stage and for this performance we will sell tickets to the public. It will be known as a spiritual movement". (Prabhupada Letter to Hamsaduta 68-01-22)

"Regarding your question about kirtana, practically we are not concerned with the instruments. They are used sometimes to make it sweeter, but if we divert our attention for using the instruments more, that is not good. We can accept everything for Krishna's service, but not taking the risk of diverting attention to any other thing which will hinder our Krishna Consciousness. That should be our motto, or principle." (Prabhupada Letter to Jadurani 69-5-26)

"The harmonium may be played during bhajan if there is someone who can play melodiously. But it is not for kirtan and aratik." (SP Letter to Bahudak 76-01-11)

"With regard to your question about Bengali style kirtana and mrdanga playing, one or two styles is best. To introduce more styles is not good. It will become an encumbrance. Who is that Krsna das Babaji who is teaching? If we introduce so much emphasis on style of kirtana, then simply imitation will go on. Devotional emotion is the main thing. If we give stress to instrument and style then attention will be diverted to the style. That will be spiritual loss." (Prabhupada Letter to Satsvarupa 76-06-30)

"It is to be understood that when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted and danced, He did so by the influence of the pleasure potency of the spiritual world. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never considered the holy name of the Lord to be a material vibration, nor does any pure devotee mistake the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra to be a material musical manifestation. Lord Caitanya never tried to be the master of the holy name; rather He taught us how to be servants of the holy name. If one chants the holy name of the Lord just to make a show, not knowing the secret of success, he may increase his bile secretion, but he will never attain perfection in chanting the holy name." (C.C. Adi 7.95-96 p)

"When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas."
(Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 12.9 purport)

"The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless." (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 12.10)

"The service of the spiritual master is essential. If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual master's instructions and the spiritual master himself. In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple." (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 1.35 Purport)

"We will establish hundreds of temples, and they will all be very opulent. But if we do not follow the instruction of the Spiritual Master, they will just be showbottle. Do you know what showbottle means? It means colored water in a bottle which looks just like medicine, but which does not work." (Room conversation NY July 1970)

Rama Govinda dasa: Is the greatest offence to disobey the guru?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes is the first offence. Gurur avajna sruti-sastra nindanam. If you accept guru and again disobey him, then what is your position? You are no a gentleman. You promise before guru, before Krishna, before fire, that I shall obey your order, I shall execute this, and again you do not do this. Then you are no even a gentleman, what to speak about devotee. This is common sense. (75-2-11)


Paramahamsa: Our position in preaching should be to encourage people in all respects to associate with us.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Paramahamsa: That means sometimes we might have to compromise in certain ways.
Prabhupada: Why compromise? You don't compromise. Then you associate with him. If you make compromise, then you associate with him. Then gradually you'll also go down. When we, when we see some person, we do not associate with him, but we give him chance to associate with me. Why you should make compromise? What is the reason? If you know something positively, why should you make compromise? When people come to talk with me, see me, I don't make any compromise. Do I make any compromise?
Devotees: No.
(Morning Walk Paris 74-7-11)

"Real success is how one is faithful to his guru. That is real success." (Lecture, October 4, 1976, Vrindavan)


"To honor the spiritual master means to carry out his instructions word for word." (SB 3.24.12 purport)

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  • "My sweet Lord" - George Harrison

    The Maha-mantra starts at 2:50.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kNGnIKUdMI

  • SB 6.2.14 — One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.

    .

    Even chanting for musical entertainment, with a rock band or orchestra with tens of instruments, it will free from reactions of unlimited sins. 

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-MHTgcenhs

    Anyway, we all know whats quantity in chanting, but do we know whats  quality ?

    Good quality chanting is chanting with  deep love for God. Such chanting melts the hearts of everyone who hears, including the heart of person who chants.

    So first quantity, then the quality will come.

    • Hare Krsna

      Dandvat Pranam 

      Dean Prabhuji by quality i meant that we must only not focus on adding up more members in the community we must also focus on the quality of our devotion its also necessary to always maintain prabhupada's standard mayb i was nt so clear sorry for tht.. and offcourse chanting with deep love and without commiting the ten offenses of chanting you can get the real benefit of chanting bt wen rock kirtan goes on i never see people chanting out of devotion they just chant lyk they r in a disco or some other place how can ths kind of kirtan create any kind of devotion in our hearts.... 

      • Devotion for God or ecstasy in kirtan and bhajan doesnt depend only on the quality of those whos leading, its also depend on the state of mind of those who hears and receive such vibrations.

        Its natural that different kind of vaishnavas has different taste for kirtan and bhajan. 

        Anyway ,more members in community of chanting holy names, means less jivas  to suffer in hell. 

        Considering all that, we want to save every single person by coming in our community and start chanting holy names of Lord.  In that case, we prefer that quantity of members should be unlimited.

         

         

        • indeed the kirtan leader's purity is important even aindra prabhu focused a lott on taking suddha naam ,the person whos the leader if he is more pure his kirtan can affect more people in ths world nt only for few hours and mins whch rock kirtan does prabhupada was a pure person so today his kirtan has inflenced millions to chant krsnas name..PURITY DOESS MATTER 

    • Volunteer

      Hare Krsna,
      My obeisances to all devotees, guru and gauranga.

      Dean prabhu, I have a question based on your response.

      If as per SB6.2.14, we can just chant in any mood, then why are devotees told to concentrate on hearing the names of the lord while chanting? Why is so much emphasis placed on attentive chanting? Why the mind control etc etc?

      Its a genuine question.

      Srila prabhupada ki jai..

      Hare krsna

      • Concentration on hearing actually means focusing on transcendental sound or vibrations of mahamantra.

        • Yes and accompaniment of musical instruments helps in that.

      • This is what I think,it may not be totally accurate..

        The statement itself says that it frees one from unlimited sins and doesn't say anything more..

        Being devotees our aim is Krishna prema and not just getting freed from sins..

        Perhaps emphasis on attentive chanting,mind control etc. becomes relevant there..having said that it's also true that more quantity of chanting will bring quality chanting in its wake,sooner or later..

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