Interviewer: How has everything been for you since the Kirtan Course 2015? What has it been like having to resume high school immediately after you left?
Katharina: I think I can say that the kirtan course was a very significant event for my devotional life. It made me understand to which extent devotional service (and especially the chanting of the Holy Name) can, and should be a part of our everyday life. When I went back to high school, I felt myself in the wrong movie. This feeling was very strong. I was sitting in the lessons and tried to pay attention but my mind was always busy with something I later called the “kirtan course consciousness”. I always thought that this is not the place I want to belong to.
Interviewer: Has your sadhana changed at all since the course? If so, in what way has it changed?
Katharina: Definitely, my sadhana improved during and also after the course. Before the kirtan course, I wasn’t always chanting regularly and with the right understanding of what I am actually doing there. Especially the first week with Sacinandana Maharaja had the impact of an exploding bomb in my consciousness. I understood that my chanting was very superficial and from there on, I concentrated more on the quality of my japa.
Interviewer: Do you feel like there have been any changes in your relationship with the Holy Name? Can you please describe them?
Katharina: Looking back, I have the feeling that my relationship with the Holy Name just began to develop when I started to apply what Sacinandana Swami taught us in his seminars. Earlier I thought, that Krishna is somewhere above me, very far away but now I am so much more aware of how close He is to me in every situation in the form of His name.
Interviewer: What do you feel has been the biggest transformation that happened within you during the course?
Katharina: I became serious about Krishna consciousness. Although it’s not always easy to practise at home, due to family members or just my own mind, I became fixed in my goal and determined to keep on working on myself.
KATARINA DURING THE KIRTAN COURSE 2015
Interviewer: How did the relationships you had with your fellow students help you in your own musical and spiritual development during the course? Have you continued to keep in contact with any of the other students from the course?
Katharina: Of course, one of the best parts of the whole course was the association of all the other students. To be surrounded by so many wonderful people for two months, or in my case for six weeks, who are as eager to learn about kirtan as you, is one of the best experiences one can have. Sure, I tried to keep in touch with the other students. Especially during the time where I had to return to school and the course continued. It was a great help and support for me. After everyone returned home, it turned out to be quite difficult to stay in contact. The geographical distance seems to also disconnect the kirtan course students, which I find really sad. I would love to stay in a big community of kirtan students.
Interviewer: What was it like for you being the youngest student in the course and one of the most talented musicians?
Katharina: For me, it was really a great thing to be the youngest. I felt myself very comfortable in the association of the others, who where ten, twenty or even forty years older than me. I feel I can learn more from people who have lived longer than me. Concerning the musical side, I was very happy that I seemed to be a fast learner, so that I could take as much as possible with me in the short time I had.
Interviewer: What is your favourite thing about kirtan?
Katharina: My favourite thing about kirtan is that it’s the easiest way to get an experience of devotional feelings. Of course, there are so many nice services we can do, but to actually realize our position as a very small part of this creation, serving the big creator, there is no better method than being in a crowd of enthusiastic devotees who sing the Holy Name with all their heart.
Interviewer: Since the kirtan course, has kirtan become a part of your everyday life and if so, in what way?
Katharina: Yes, kirtan definitely became a part of my everyday life. Since I returned home from Radhadesh, I do kirtan now almost
everyday at home. In our temple community, on the request of the devotees, I started to share what I’ve learned and during the day, I don’t do anything without listening to kirtan. An outside person would say I am crazy. I also started listening more attentively, often even analysing what the instruments are doing and how every kirtaniya turns a melody into something personal.
Interviewer: What’s your favourite instrument to play in kirtan? Have you found yourself continuing to develop your skills in certain areas of the practical aspects of kirtan, since the course ended?
Katharina: I think everyone who got to know me during the course would expect me to say that the mridanga is my favourite instrument to play. And in a certain way it is. But sometimes I just feel myself more comfortable with the harmonium, because I feel unsure while playing mridanga, as my skills are very basic. Of course I try to learn more and more, since you can never have enough kirtan!
Interviewer: What advice would you give to any future kirtan course students?
Katharina: Use the time as much as you can! Such a unique opportunities don’t come along so often. These two months offer a chance of full absorption into the subject of chanting the Holy Name and they are over so quickly. Please don’t get sidetracked but give your full concentration and attention.