Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dissolved Barriers

I know that man, I thought, looking at an elderly man with short, gray hair. His history within the Hare Krishna movement is dark.

The 24 Hour Kirtan in New Vrindavan had commenced, and whorls of people surrounded the kirtan party. A bitter taste came to my mouth and my mind to see this man across the way. I looked around and noticed some other people I had some personal painful history with, or disconnection, and that "loneliness in the crowd" feeling descended over me like a cloud.

Hour after hour of kirtan played on and on - on through the afternoon, on through the evening, on through the night and into the next morning. I had participated in this festival with a vow of silence - to sing only the holy name. The easiest way to keep this vow seemed to simply stay in kirtan. So I stayed in kirtan hour upon hour, singing and singing.

The final kirtan commenced, Badahari Prabhu at the helm. The melody was slow, soulful, and wound us all together with silken threads. The melody seemed to say, "Where are you, My Lord? I am so far away from You. I miss You. I need You." We sang at the top of our voices, a violin, mridanga, kartals, harmonium all filled the air, and yet there seemed to be a deep quiet beneath this fabric of kirtan.

I lost track of time. At one point, I opened my eyes and saw tears running down the faces of almost every person there. I raised my arms and tears also came to my eyes.

Spontaneously, people began to rise to their feet to dance, arms raised. I also rose. The mood changed.

Joy.

An embrace.

Krishna, You are here. You are here. 

I'll never forget. I looked across the crowd and saw the man with the gray hair. His smile shone. My judgment had dissolved. My previous conceptions melted away. To this very day, I honestly do not even remember who that man was - what his name was or his history. All I remember is that I experienced love for him.

I looked around at these faces, shining so brightly, smiling, singing the holy name. My heart swelled with love, unconditional love. I felt that these people loved me too. Somehow in the unity of singing the holy name, all the pain, loneliness, sorrow, and judgment had dissolved.

When the kirtan concluded, the dust in my heart slowly came back.

But I know now.

It's possible.

I want to get back. I want to live my life as a kirtan, all day. Every day.  

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