We are looking at a monthly program of kirtan (the New Age/Yoga Buzz word) held at 243 Avenue Road, the Hare Krishna Temple. The gathering goes by the name "An evening of Bhakti" and it highlights this ancient method of kirtan or receive-and-respond chanting.The ambiance at Govinda's Dining Hall is just perfect for this ancestral practice. Although the styles of kirtan may have altered over the years still the principle remains - give your heart out to the sound of spiritual excellence.
Frankly the majority of those in attendance could not claim that the mantras we chanted on this evening were personal hand-me downs through the generations. Most of us at the event came from a Judeo/Christian/Buddhist background. Most of us have adapted to or adopted to the method.
"Gaura-Shakti" the bhajan band with Dhira Grahi, taking the lead on vocals, set a beautiful tone in the cathedral-like hall of Govinda's with an initial relaxed lotus posture on a cushioned floor. This eventually sprung into get-off-your-butt scenario with everyone dancing with stretched limbs.
Keshava Sharma emceed the occasion while I was asked to explain between takes (or mantras) the significance of the ancient way and how it is beneficial. Naturally I had to say that the practice rivals watching the Grey Cup Game, in ecstasy. (The Grey Cup football is at it's 100th year and faithful fans are getting a special rush from the sport this year).
I had a great time with the vocal sound and physical movement of kirtan and to top it all off evening of bhakti extended itself with a trek through downtown when at the end, the last street block of walking, I was greeted by the season's first crystal snow flakes. They were just a teaser and vanished in the air but they were most definitely a grand finale to the night.