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PREPARE FOR A GENUINE KIRTAN EXPERIENCE
19 July - 16 August 2023

Bhaktivedanta College invites you to Kirtan Course where, over the period of four weeks, you will be able to uncover the basics of kirtan practice by the facilitation of experienced kirtaniyas, chanters, and teachers such as Sacinandana Swami and others.

Our Kirtan Course prepares students for a genuine kirtan experience, giving them the opportunity to enrich themselves in their chanting to the point of having no other desire than to share the knowledge with others.

Please find more info about Bhaktivedanta College HERE.

Aims of the Course

Course aims are to empower students to deepen their understanding of kirtan and to offer practical lessons in kirtan. It is done via three broader aims of education:

Aim 1) The philosophy, moods and skills for chanting the holy names

By teaching participants to chant with the proper understanding (sambandha) and in the proper way (abhideya), we wish to empower them to chant with a genuine taste. Sambandha: The knowledge of who the object of kirtan is (Krishna) and who the person doing kirtan is (a soul, part of Krishna). This is the foundation of Krishna kirtan. When properly engaging in kirtan, one will taste love of Godhead on increasing levels. Abhideya: The means to attain the goal (prayojana) works only when properly executed. Therefore the first module will place a lot of emphasis on the right execution of kirtan. The taste for chanting is most important, so that the devotees continue to chant the holy names throughout their lives with increasing appreciation. The kirtan course aims to succeed by addressing this need to chant with genuine devotional taste. To this end it will hold workshops, scheduled kirtans before the Deities at Radhadesh, instructions on good japa, and talks (katha) about Krsna.

Aim 2) The history and tradition of kirtan

Students will learn some history of kirtan and how kirtan was done by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates. For this, extensive research has been going on about the early writings of Mahaprabhu’s kirtaniyas and about the tradition of kirtan (e.g., the kirtans of the three Ghosh brothers, Narottam dasa Thakur, Srinivas Acarya, etc.)

Aim 3) The practice of kirtan: voice and instruments

To train students in skillful singing and playing of instruments in the mood of glorifying the Lord, we will help them develop favorable attitudes for leading or taking part in kirtans.

Learning Outcomes

Students learn how to chant the holy names (Maha-mantra) with a relationship to Krishna. They learn about the art of kirtan done in the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and learn prayers of Vaisnava Acaryas. They learn proper conduct – such as humility, both through discussions and in practical application. They practice instruments and learn a set number of melodies on harmonium and a set number of mantras on the mridanga. Students will receive a deeper understanding of yuga-dharma, both in terms of their own practice and in terms of sharing kirtan in a spirit of Vaisnava compassion.

In terms of their own practice, students will be given the opportunity to:

  • • gain a much deeper appreciation for chanting the holy names in japa and kirtan;
  • • develop the right intention (sankalpa) for doing kirtan, which is to please Krishna
  • • imbibe Vaisnava values such as a service attitude in both general and kirtan-specific ways
  • • learn about Sri Caitanya and His associates’ ways of doing kirtan and their kirtan pastimes
  • • deepen their knowledge of the history and philosophy of kirtan
  • • practice the instruments with the experienced teachers
  • • become inspired to spread kirtan through events like harinams, nama yajnas & large festival public kirtans
  • • get an overview of kirtan projects throughout Europe

  • I expected that the course would be the most amazing experience of my life and it was in fact the most amazing experience of my life. I wish every day was the kirtan course!

    Katelin Knapp
    Katelin Knapp, Student, Canada
  • I think the level of attention and detail in understanding of instruments by the teachers was extremely good and definitely felt a sense of security knowing what we were being taught was correct.

    Sunil Tailor
    Sunil Tailor, Student, UK

MEET OUR TEAM

AllResidential TeachersVisiting TeachersStaff
Course Coordinator

Manu

Born and bred within a Kirtan environment under the expert guidance of senior kirtan leaders such as Yamuna Devi, Aindra Prabhu, & Sacinandana Swami, Manu has always been engaged in Kirtan. For more than 10 years he is coordinating the annual Radhadesh Mellows festival which is Western Europe's largest Kirtan event gathering thousands of enthusiasts from across the globe. With Surabhi and a few others he is daily practicing Kirtan in the Radhadesh temple every evening with many guests, residents and yoga groups who attend regularly. He established and designed the Kirtan Course together with the Bhaktivedanta College which is successfully running for several years now.

In addition to being the Course Coordinator, during the Kirtan Course itself Manu will be assisting the students in bringing together the different elements of kirtan, the instruments & vocals, in "Ensemble Classes" which will allow students to lead a call and response kirtan with skill and self confidence as well as in the right mood of humility and togetherness.

He looks forward to serving the enthusiastic Kirtan lovers who will make their way over for a summer of education and profound spiritual deepening.

Harmonium and Vocal

Krishangi Lila

Krishangi Lila holds a BA in Western Classical Singing from The Norwegian State Academy of Music (2000), and BA in Vaishnava Theology from Bhaktivedanta College, University of Lampeter. She has complemented her vocal studies with different techniques and teachers from various traditions. She has studied with Orlanda Cook at Pantheatre in Paris, dhrupada singing with Gundecha brothers in Bhopal, kirtan and harmonium with Master Pankaj and Hari Murari prabhu from Mayapur, India.

She has been working as a vocal coach since 2000. Since 2014 she is engaged as a Kirtan Course teacher in harmonium and vocals at Bhaktivedanta College, Radhadesh, Belgium. Last few years she has focused more on the practices of nada yoga and shares the essence of this practice in her voice workshops. She has been travelling around the world giving workshops in Estonia, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand and India.

From 2004-2014, she was member of Radhadesh community during whichshe was also engaged in service of singing kirtan to the visitors of the Radhadesh Tour programme in the Museum of Sacred Arts. In 2008 she released the album “Divine Love” together with Kalindi dasi, that is based on the holy texts from Shrimad Bhagavatam and has a touch of western medieval and Indian music.

Karatals

Surabhi Kunja

Surabhi kunja is a resident of Radhadesh and together with Manu started the evening kirtans which have now been steadily going for about 10 years. Next to the evening kirtans she also studied music in Codarts Conservatory of Music for two years, specialising in Indian Classical music. For over 5 years she has been under the tutelage of Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia for Bansuri (indian bamboo flute). Surabhi has been karatal and supporting harmonium and singing teacher since the start of the Kirtan Course.

Visiting Teacher

Sacinandana Swami

MODULE: The Theology of the Holy Name Based on Harinam Cintamani by Sacinandana Swami

Subjects include:

  • - The best type of sadhana and how to perform it for best results
  • - The secrets of attentive chanting
  • - Shadow chanting (namabhasa) and how to move on to the next stage
  • - Entering a substantial relationship with the Holy Name and the Holy Named
  • - The eigth offense and its remedy
  • - The difference between belief and faith
  • - Tasting ecstasy - a guideline to ecstatic nama-bhajan
  • - Srila Prabhupada's amazing relationship with the Holy Name and lessons we can learn from that

 

Visiting Teacher

Mahendra Das

MODULE: Kirtana as Sadhana and Sadhya by Mahendra Das

When instructing Tapana Misra about the goal of life (sadhya) and the process to attain it (sadhana), Lord Caitanya explained that the basic principle of success is to chant the holy name (nama sankirtana). In this module we will review the usage of “kirtana” and related words in the core Gaudiya Vaisnava scriptures (Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta) with the aim of understanding the theological underpinnings for the essential practice of chanting the holy names of Krsna. The goal will be to enrich the students’ personal appreciation of and commitment to kirtana, and to enable them to comprehensively present the method of chanting to a broad audience. Additional resources will be the Vaisnava acaryas’ commentaries and related articles from the Journal of Vaisnava Studies.

Technical and organisational questions

Syamananda

 

VIDEO GALLERY

DAILY SCHEDULE

There are usually two types of schedules for the duration of the kirtan course. One for the time without visiting teachers and another when a visiting teacher is present. Both of these schedules are revised and sometimes fully modified according to the needs of students.

  • 04:30-07:45 Temple program (optional)
  • 07:45-08:45 Bhagavatam class (optional)
  • 09:00-10:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00-13:30 Ensemble Class (mandatory group kirtan which serves as practice session during which the resident teachers guide the students in properly doing kirtan)
    • - and/or group classes with the instruments teachers
    • - and/or private classes with instruments teachers

  • 13:30-15:00 Lunch break
  • 15:00-18:00 Ensemble Class
    • -and/or group classes with the instruments teachers
    • -and/or private classes with instruments teachers

  • 18:00-20:15 Free time (if required, time for services or practice)
  • 20:15-21:15 Evening kirtan in the temple (students are expected to join in these daily evening sessions)

When visiting teachers are giving their seminars, the noon session is split in two parts:

  • 10:00-11:00 Ensemble Class
  • 11:00-13:30 Main Session with the visiting teacher

Bhaktivedanta College building is attached to the practicing classrooms, and the temple is just across the street located in Petite Somme castle (Chateau du Petite Somme). Meals are served in the temple facilities and students are accommodated in Bhaktivedanta College residential building and in other nearby facilities.

INVESTMENT

Price packages per person include: 1) tuition fee, 2) accommodation (bedding included) and 3) food in Radhadesh temple kitchen (breakfast, lunch and light dinner).  By clicking ‘Apply’ you will be redirected to the page with the application form. Total number of students is limited to 13. We invite students to stay the night before the first day of the course as well as the night of the final day, both part of the package. Students are welcome to stay additional nights with catering, extra fees will apply.

Package 1 - Room

2,120Single room with shared bathroom

Package 2 - Studio

2,170Shared studio (kitchen and bathroom)

Package 3 - Apartment

2,270Shared apartment (bedroom, kitchen & dining, bathroom)

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CONTACT US

WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO HEAR FROM YOU

Before contacting us please read FAQ section as many questions are already answered there.

Syamananda

Technical and organisational questions

Manu

Questions about the course content

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