Chanting: A Community Builder
I’m overjoyed to have the Penn boys with me – Gaur and Nitai. I say this because they are enthusiastic to be constant companions on the early japa walks. Praveen who comes faithfully to the 4:30 AM program is on board as well. Maybe we can start a japa walking club someday. I suggested that very idea to Gopi Manohar, a serious bhakti yogi from Dubai who emailed me today. Of all the things we do that classify us as yogis, it’s this mantra meditation that is put under the spotlight over all other forms of yoga.
An elderly cyclist walked his bike around me today and remarked in a kindly way, “Oh, I’m a yogi too.” That sparked a conversation between us. ON the basis of my robes he recognized the yoga connection and then it happened, we became instant friends.
Chanting, now commonly becoming known to people as kirtan (group chanting) is a safe haven for yogis and non-yogis alike. It builds a team spirit and is very effective in the crazy world in which we live. People just need to try it. Who would not want to see a more solid community of love being built up?
One of my favourite monk brothers is Bhakti Tirtha Swami. He spoke about principles of community building. He had written…
Four Principles of Community Building
1. Treat everyone you encounter as if the success or failure of your spiritual life depends on the quality of your interactions with them.
2. Reflect on the person you love the most, and aspire to treat everyone with that same quality of love.
3. View all conflicts as your own fault first.
4. Realize that people in your present environment might very well be the people with whom you will live out your life and who are likely to be with you at the time of death.
(Bhakti Tirtha was a great chanting leader.)