Friday, June 10, 2016

Divine Sound or Destruction?

Years ago I heard some complain the music in the temple room was too loud. I tossed this aside, as it was a time- period where everyone seemed to be looking for what is imperfect about anything. ha

Low and behold :) some years passed and I have a different idea. Especially after reading a devotees post. One temple decided to bring in an instrument that measured decibels. Initially I thought our [spiritual] music would pass the test. But surprise! It measured too loud for the human ear, and now that particular temple keeps ear plugs as an option to grab before kirtana.

I wondered, is this really Prabhupada's program? 

After reading of a few who feel they are now having difficulty with their hearing as a result, I replied:

"If a decibel instrument had to be brought in, and then it actually read too loud for the human ear - in this case it appears the clanging is unusually loud. I am not speaking of hot kirtans, but kartal etc playing. IMHO only, I do not believe Prabhupada would have used artificial solutions like putting a box of earplugs there. Instead sense control, and teaching kartal players [or those on any other instruments] not to play so loud that it is registering on a decibel instrument badly."

It was a good conversation. Many felt similar. Some posts discussed the high decibel - to which others also brought up - "Prabhupada said no clanging, no banging."

Some pointed out that as much fun as a kirtana is, and should be, at some point where it's crossed the line to causing ear damage, is there not at least some wonder that those playing instruments are showing off? Or, getting too lost in it where they are not conscious how it is effecting others? At best, untrained?

And yet others expressed to only allow a certain number of kartals in the temple room at one time, and making sure to teach how to play them properly.

All good ideas!

Another reminded us there's a statement from Srila Prabhupada that the mrdanga should never be louder than the singing of the maha mantra. This made sense to me, since Prabhupada also said we can play any instrument at all to glorify the Lord - as long as it's music does not become more important than the Holy Names.

One devotee offered, he heard karatals should sound like the gopis ankle bells, a melodious sound, the way Prabhupada used them. 

Some talked about the wonderful experiences they did have during hot kirtanas. I was no exception, living in the NY temple when VishnuJana and team passed thru. I felt honored [and lucky!] to be there. Right time, right place - that's all. 

The devotee who began the original post said she had the same experiences and that was why she wondered about it. [Pros and cons.] I suggested, maybe these things are treats. Another added, we can have hot, rip-roaring kirtans outdoors, just not in the temple room.  

Arotika kirtana's are intended to sing to God/Krishna, for His entertainment.

Someone else pointed out how hot kirtans had been used to wake us up at 4:30 a.m. :) I also liked that. But considering the current problem, the cold shower should be sufficient to wake you up. :) And no one is saying the kirtan's should be turned into bhajana's. No. We can still move around - dance, chant, be happy.

Additionally, I've seen a very popular video of devotee men break-neck-dancing on the temple room floor. Most reviewers said how blissful. Yes, I saw that. But I can't imagine Prabhupada break-neck-dancing. :) 

He gave us a specific process to follow for temple room behavior. Other methods can be done on the street, in a park, and so on. While break-neck-dancing is not about music or sound, I feel the level of excitement on that video was so exceedingly high, it could open the door to other issues - clanging and banging of instruments.

And how many women have needed to get unusually close to their sleeping [or not sleeping!] baby for protection because a group of brahmacari's were not looking where they were going, running back-and-forth into the women side of the temple room, dancing? Tho happy to say, have not seen that in a long time. Many grew up and had babies of their own, so they learned. Yet we get new devotees regularly, and even a brahmacarini could make this mistake. 

Let's train everyone please. Still have fun - merely calm down a smidgen. Remember, even tho it is a party, we're not there "TO" party. ha And we don't want contagious 'mob mentality.'  If anything happened, they'd feel awful too. Therefore, we need to be conscious how our actions effect those around us, and not get lost in our heads. 

Take from this blog-post what you wish, leave what you don't. But please take something and protect your, and others, ears - including the children. 

I have not the time to get exact quotes related to the above. I often get them. This time, it's your turn. :) If you want them, hit google. I believe these devotees cuz they were there at the time. Tho I was too, but I'm the baby of the pack. ha Plus, some of these men had more direct association.

Anyhow, what's most important ... I humbly ask readers, and anyone you can share this info with, to please be considerate when playing any instrument within closed walls of a temple room [as well as where you're running/dancing]. When a machine picks up the vibration as so loud it's unhealthy, we are doing something out of sync to Prabhupada's program. Not saying all temples have this problem, but lets nip it in the bud. We are trying to glorify God, that should be the focus.

P.S. Holy Names can never cause destruction - that title was just a way to catch the eye of the reader. :) We should remember however, we are in human bodies and tho the Names remain transcendental - we have not reached that platform. We should honor the body we are in, and be thankful to have the human form that can grant us Krishna Consciousness. 

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