Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dance Like Lord Chaitanya

I am still on a couple of PAMHO conferences. One is Holistic Health. There is a current discussion about gall bladder removal and consequences and alternatives to surgery in order to remove gallstones. Exercise is a good preventative for gallstones. In this context, Jayo posted the following comment and his response (quoting a thread from 1997):

“ 'Incidentally, dancing before the deities and yogic breath excercises are not really cardiovascular in nature.'

This comment is pure speculation on your part. I've personally seen Prabhupada, on several occasions, jump up very vigorously with his hands raised high over his head. I am sure he was reaching his target heart rate! ( I guess you haven't been to any kirtans lead by Urjasvat or Vakreshwar Pandit prabhus, at the Dallas temple lately.) Now as many of my godbrothers could attest, I do know something of dancing devotionally, and the key thing is not really the particular technique, but the spirit of devotion in which it is rendered. Prabhupada would be pleased to see the bhakta engaged, however
imperfectly. He said if a wino remembers Krsna when he drinks his wine, he is offering it and making spiritual progress; I heard him say this in LA in '74 or'75, if you want a reference. (I think Madhava Ghosh prabhu may be a more "traditional stylist", even after so many years in NV.) Try this experiment doctor: Do the simple swami two-step with your hand overhead for 10-15 minutes MINIMUMMLY and Continuously WITHOUT EVER LOWERING THEM. I guarantee you will be doing aerobic exercise and you'll reach your target heart rate!”

I responded:

This amused me. It was dated 1997, and the reference is to kirtan dance style. Yes, I was always a traditionalist, the old fogy mumbling in the back about the upstarts and their mentally speculative dance styles. I confess - traditional swami two-step is my dogma, my muse, and my aspiration. I believe most of the apostates who don't use it, can't. It is actually very difficult to follow, and most are too weak, and unwilling to discipline themselves to the rigors of the style. Which is too bad, because IMHO, it is the greatest exercise, both physically and mentally, leading to the best results. Once mastered, it is very easily varied and applied even in the fastest paced and most vigorous of kirtans.

Perhaps when I recover some more, I will be able to dance again. I'll be the guy over on the side, hands raised above my head, one foot crossing in front of the other, on the beat. In the meantime, I may write about dancing occasionally.

FYI - just kidding (or am I?).

“Just like see Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is chanting and dancing, chanting and dancing, you see, the same thing. This picture is before you so that gradually, when you feel ecstasy, you will also dance like Him."

Lecture on Maha-mantra -- New York, September 8, 1966


Post a Comment

<< Home