The Place of Theatrics in Bhakti Jan 11, 2021 6:32:30 GMT -6
Post by nilamadhava on Jan 11, 2021 6:32:30 GMT -6
Dramatic displays during a lecture or kirtan often don't sit well with me. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad filter I have inside. When I see a person who seems to be oozing or acting that they are relishing a kirtan (or talk), swooning, swaying back and forth with their eyes closed, I get a little bit of throw up in my mouth. I've seen this recently during a lecture series on Gita Govinda and I want to say, "Lose the theatrics and it will strengthen your presentation." I guess I just have a very strong built-in BS alert system.
Why the forced act? Does it add to the presentation? I don't think so. To me, it seems to say, "Look at me!! I'm such a great rasika bhakta that these words, this song, this topic, throws me into the deepest ecstacy! I can close my eyes and see Radha Krishna in Vrindavan. This is so wonderful. Well, at least that's what I want you to think. Really, I'm putting on a show. Hoping to fool you into thinking I'm a great devotee, when really I'm after name, fame, following, profit, adoration, and distinction. I could use some more money in my bank account too, and while we're at it, people to sponsor books I want to write, who will cook for me, do my laundry, help pay for my world-wide preaching tours and all that. You know, I'm a great bhakta and if people realize this and serve me like this, it will be good for them. They will make some spiritual advancement, those fallen fools. I can give them my mercy and then Radha Krishna will accept them."
Wow! I'm getting sick just writing this. Such a psychological mind-fuck from all directions! This is your standard IGM guru. And sad to say that I believe I've seen a few gurus like this in traditional CV circles as well. Thus, don't let your guard down. Ever. Make sure your teacher stands up to the litmus test of sastra. Make sure they're not treating you like a mushroom, i.e., feeding you shit while keeping you in the dark, which is the standard of ISKCON when you really think about it. I don't believe it is what Bhaktivedanta wanted for ISKCON, but it is ISKCON now. A group of elite, "advanced" devotees who meet annually in their big governmental committee to write "laws" to govern all the lowly, less-intelligent, less-advanced, little devotees. And of course these 'laws' don't apply to themselves. They are above the law, being self-appointed pure devotees. (By the way, this is a continuation of the zonal acharya system in case you didn't' know). Many secret meetings and resolutions are passed, then filed away in hiding. These things are kept hidden from the mass society, because again, the masses can't handle the truth. The faith of the masses is too fragile. They won't understand. They will make offenses by "criticizing us great leaders, and thus they will fall down -- which is to say, we'll lose the continued growth opportunity for our anarthas." The masses are kept in the dark and fed bullshit. That is the job of the GBC. The Gobar Benefit Committee, ha ha!
Yes, it's obvious that I have an axe to grind with IGM. No doubt. But back to the topic...
So when we see someone acting out something during a class or kirtan, how are we supposed to take that? What is the difference between an advanced, true Vaishnava doing such and a pretender seeking to water his or her anarthas? For example, I've posted in the past one photo of Sri Purushottama Goswami (of the Radha Raman lineage). I believe he was known for his involvement with teaching and performing Bhakti-related dramas. And we also have heard of the term 'lila-kirtan' and some other stalwart, bonafide Vaishnavas were famous for this. I believe Sri Prangopal Goswami was another who was well known in this category. Obviously for one to have bonafide diksa would be at least a start for determining what might be legit, but again, who's to say? How to know?
On the other side, how is a presenter, a leader of kirtana, a speaker of the Bhagavat, supposed to present? Are they only supposed to be predominantly stoic with a smile or laugh here and there? Are they not supposed to close their eyes and try to envision what they're speaking about? Or act it out at time?
I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.