Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Bliss of Devotion: Kirtan

The Bliss of Devotion: Kirtan

"Follow your bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Last summer I was given the honor of being interviewed for the documentary Women of Bhakti, which will be premiering this summer.

(to watch it full screen:

Something magical happened for me this afternoon as I watched this trailer over and over. Bliss entered my heart! In the minute and forty-two seconds of this trailer, I felt as though my soul was resonating with a warm hum.

So for the next several posts, I feel inspired to share my bliss with you all. I'm not talking peace, enjoyment, or a thrill. I'm talking bliss - an experience that resonates all the way to the soul and throughout the body.

I'll begin with kirtan.

Since I was born, the way I have been given to connect with the Lord with love is through chanting His holy names. Last summer, amidst the rolling mountains of West Virginia in a spiritual community called New Vrindavan, I attended a magnificent celebration of the holy name called The 24 Hour Kirtan.

In the afternoon of the first day, a woman by the name of Acyuta dasi began to sing. I let myself get swept away in the music. I danced with other women in circles, and we played off each other in exquisite moves and expressions. Every note of the kirtan and every beat of the drum we followed with our bodies. Our smiles encompassed our entire face as we sang the holy name.

When Acyuta lifted her voice into an undulating improvisation, the drummers climbed in rhythm and we dancers began to spin and spin, our skirts rippling around us like blossoming flowers. The third or fourth time this crescendo of drums and voices and sheer energy rose in the kirtan, I was spinning and spinning and spinning. I raised my arms to the sky in surrender.

Euphoria washed over and around me in waves. Every bone in my body and every fiber in my being was singing and singing. I felt as though great shafts of light were playing through me and around me and the holy name was whirling around me in golden ribbons.

The words kept whirling through me: "There must be a God, and I must be a spirit soul. There is no way I could feel this kind of bliss without God. This is it. This is it. God must be real. And the holy name must be for real. This is my bliss. This is my bliss."

I am realizing that God is beyond vows and austerity, God transcends any particular path, God is beyond definition.

Loving God is about bliss.

So follow your bliss.

1 comment:

Mike Jones said...

Hi Bhakti,

Have followed your blog for a while and always look forward to reading your insights and experiences. I really liked this latest post (I shared it on my blog too, hope you don't mind).

In my small experience, I also find that following my bliss is what pleases the Lord the most. I make music and videos for the Lord, and when I'm creating I feel that bliss you describe. If I ignore inspiration (for whatever reason) then I miss out on relishing that beautiful emotional exchange with Him.

Keep on following your bliss Bhakti, and thanks for sharing it with us.


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