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#4180 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - Editor: Gloria Lee
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Joyful Noise: Krishna Das On Chanting The Names Of God
"As they say
in India, you cant rip the skin off a snake, or youll
kill him, but at the right time the snake sheds his skin. Our
patterns, our stories, who we experience ourselves to be thats
our skin." By Alexis Adams
A Joyful Noise Krishna Das On Chanting The Names Of God by Alexis Adams
Adams: How would you describe kirtan to someone new to the practice?
Krishna Das: It depends who Im
talking to, because I dont want to scare people
away. If I say its meditation with music, some will be put off by that. In India
they call it the repetition of the sacred names of God, but I dont want to say
that to someone who doesnt believe in God. I dont even know if I believe in God
not the one described in Western religious traditions anyway. In India people
understand that God is within. There are Hindu images associated with God
deities like Krishna, Hanuman, and Kali but when it comes down to it, these
deities are symbols of the divine that lives inside each one of us. Indians are more
creative about worship, whereas Christians are generally very tense: theres only
one right way to do it and only one God to worship. Of course, there is only one
God in the Indian traditions, too, just many forms to symbolize it. Its ok to
worship anything in any way in India, because there its understood that nothing is
outside of us. Theres only one God, and were all it.
Adams: Is it possible for someone
like me, whos never been to India and is not well
versed in the Hindu gods and goddesses, to genuinely connect with the tradition?
Krishna Das: Do you feel good when you chant?
Adams: Well, its brand-new for me, but yes, I do.
Krishna Das: Then why think about
anything else? You dont need to know all the
deities. You dont need to know anything about Indian culture. You dont have to
know what the words mean, because nobody really knows what the words mean. You
can learn the lower, superficial meanings intellectually Krishna did this, and Ram
did that but the real meaning of these chants is our own deepest being.
Ive been to yoga-teacher
trainings and heard people say, If you dont
the deities, youll never be a good yoga teacher. Bullshit. Were Americans. We
didnt grow up with this. Its not native to us. Ive spent a fair portion of my life in
India and still dont have a clue. It doesnt mean that much to me. There it is: I told
the truth. All these so-called deities exist inside of us, but we dont understand that. We
dont know who we are, so we cant know who they are. Find out who you are, and
youll know everything you need to know.
article continues: A Joyful Noise: Krishna Das On Chanting The Names Of God
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