The Sport of Sankirtan
The scraping, scratching and slicing sounds of blades on ice bounced off the walls of the outdoor rink. The occasional 'bang' of the puck slamming against the wall was a sure sign of passion at play. It was just another hockey game and until I got around the corner of the utility building I did not see the young men out there and in a way in defiance of the indoor geek culture. Good for them! And for building team spirit!
I climbed up the slippery stairs of ice and snow (it's fun, really) to reach Building 50 on floor 15 for a visit to Hadai Pandit, a Swiss-born devotee of Krishna. He cooked a hernia-surgical-friendly meal for me. And we talked about spiritual progression as well as psychological advancement. By that I mean the value of things such as team work and good sportsmanship within both the spiritual and material context (as a youngerling, I had a passion for baseball and volleyball, always relishing the synchronized work involved). I went on lingering during the trek back to the ashram, pondering the asset of team spirit and the practicality that follows it. The sport which I came to rally love, however, was of another nature. I joined the sankirtan team.
Chaitanya inaugurated sankirtan five hundred years ago. He was a teamster who organized the various roles played out by various people as vocalists, musicians and dancers. Especially for events like Ratha Yatra, the devotional band of Chaitanya stirred the public with the aid of organization, planning and teamwork. It was the sound, with teamwork behind it, that took people to newer heights. According to predictions, the good work (or sport) of sankirtan was to continue for centuries to come.