What is the purpose of the new Kirtan Course at Radhadesh and what is it`s significance for devotees?
Krishna Kshetra Swami: Kirtan is our most essential activity. We have sravanam – hearing and kirtanam – chanting or glorifying the Lord. This is the movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in late 15th, and early 16th century Bengal. He spread the chanting of the holy name, especially the Hare Krishna mantra all over India and it`s now being spread all over the world. In order to help facilitate this spreading process, musical ability in the practice of kirtan, following the tradition of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Bengali kirtan is very much wanted. Srila Prabhupada himself had some of his devotees actually rehearsing, practising together. His intention was that they then travel worldwide and perform kirtan in an attractive way. So the Kirtan Course is a beginning attempt for Krishna devotees in the West to get some systematic training in this very nice tradition. It has run for the first time this summer in Radhadesh, Belgium with 10 to 12 students, devotees staying for a period of seven weeks, engaging full-time in practice with resident teachers who are very qualified in their own musical practice of singing, playing instruments, especially mridanga, karatals and harmonium.