It’s true. I, Vrinda, am a kirtan pusher.
I mean, I’m already a self-diagnosed “kirtan addict,” and we’ve established that there are a lot of those out there. I’m okay with that.
But a pusher? Well, this just, ahem, pushes it to a whole different level.
It hit me in the midst of a PM to a friend in Connecticut about a kirtan in a cave that she simply must attend.
My god, I thought. I’m like a kirtan evangelist.
The idea stopped me in my tracks, mostly because I’ve never had much use for evangelists who go about proselytizing their faith to anyone who will listen, and even less use for the Christian fundamentalists who tend to do the proselytizing. On the other hand, the Revivalists, with their raise-the-roof/Praise-the-Lord church parties, have always fascinated me. Maybe it’s the memory trace of that one my sister and I attended as adolescents in the little white church up the road from our farm in northeastern Vermont. It was both exhilarating and terrifying. I had never before experienced that kind of passion for Jesus — of sheer sing-your-heart-out joy and dramatic redeem-thyself theatrics — certainly not in the staid Catholic church my family filed into every Sunday at 10, like clockwork.
Dear Lord, had I become like the fire-and-brimstone preacher up on that little church altar, waving his Bible at the Congregation of trembling souls and enjoining them to experience ecstatic redemption? Is my call to Come to Kirtan any different than his call to Come to Jesus? Is this why my non-kirtan friends avoid me like the plague? Suddenly I was on a roller-coaster ride of self-reflection and deep personal inquiry, along with its inevitable bedfellow, self-doubt.
“Jeezh,” my snarky twin interrupted. “We just thought it would make a funny blog. Lighten up already, will ya’?”
Oh, right. [Sound of brakes screeching] Back to those signs. After great personal exploration and intense research (a 30-second google search), I, Vrinda, have come up with this list of possible symptoms that may indicate that you, too, might be a kirtan pusher.
8 Signs You Might Be a Kirtan Pusher
1. You always know where your next kirtan is.
2. You drive down the road with kirtan blasting, smiling at anyone who notices.
3. When friends come to visit, you introduce them to so-and-so’s new bhakti CD.
4. You spend copious amounts of your “free time” inviting people to kirtans, posting notices about kirtans, organizing kirtans…and oh yeah, attending kirtans.
5. A typical grocery-store encounter starts and/or ends with Radhe! Radhe! or Haribol!
6. You belong to more than 5 kirtan-related groups on facebook. (This is a dead giveaway).
7. Your kirtan friends are always asking you what’s going on.
8. Your non-kirtan friends stopped asking you what’s going on.
If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or others, seek help immediately.
Start by opening your mouth and saying Ommmmmm. Put on Krishna Das. Visit a friend with a harmonium right away. Join The Bhakti Beat’s Chantaholics Anonymous Support Group. If it gets severe, call the Kirtan Hotline at 1 800 HARIBOL to find out immediately where the nearest wallah is.
Editor’s Note: “I, Vrinda” is a new, occasional first-person series on TheBhaktiBeat.com in which I, Vrinda (aka Brenda Patoine) say what I’m thinking, whether you want to hear it or not. Call it op-ed, editorialism, commentary, satire — hell, call it whatever you want. Vrinda is opinionated but open, largely unfiltered, at times irreverent, and sometimes downright sassy (don’t say I didn’t warn you). She’s pure Gemini, part wise, part wise-ass; the good the bad and the naughty all rolled up into one messy, messed-up, hopelessly imperfect, doing-the-best-she-can kinda’ girl, er, woman. She — I mean, I — may offer two cents or more on subjects from the ironies of the yoga world to the injustices of the corporatocracy, the ins and outs of the bhakti community, or the ups and downs of internet dating. She/I may even occasionally try to be funny, undoubtedly with mixed results. Vrinda really just wants everyone to wake the f**k up (I warned you). For more on Vrinda, including why she uses that name, click here on this link…but you’ll have to wait until I get that piece written.
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Love it, Haribol!