Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON 50 Meditations: August 4, 2016
By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami   |  Aug 04, 2016

Kirtana at Ananda Ashram

Swamiji led a kirtana that bridged all differences and brought out the best in everyone that night.  Several nights before, in his apartment on Second Avenue, Prabhupada had taught his followers how to dance.  They had formed a line behind him while he demonstrated the simple step.  Holding his arms above his head, he would first swing his left foot forward across the right foot, and then bring it back again in a sweeping motion.  Then he would swing his right foot over the left and bring it back again.  With his arms upraised, Prabhupada would walk forward, swinging his body from side to side, left foot to right side, right foot to left side, in time with the one-two-three rhythm.  He had shown them the step in regular time and in a slow, half-time rhythm.  Keith had called it “the Swami step,” as if it were a new ballroom dance.

Prabhupada’s followers began dancing, and soon the others joined them, moving around the room in a rhythmic circle of ecstasy, dancing, swaying, sometimes leaping and whirling.  It was a joyous hour-long kirtana, the Swami encouraging everyone to the fullest extent.  A visitor to the asrama happened to have his stringed bass with him, and he began expertly turning out his own swinging bass improvisations beneath the Swami’s melody, while another man played the tablas.

The Ananda Ashram members had been divided of late into two tense, standoffish groups.  There was the elderly crowd, similar to the older women who had attended the Swami’s uptown lectures, and there was the young crowd, mostly hip couples.  But in the kirtana their rifts were forgotten and, as they discovered later, even healed.  Whether they liked it or not, almost all of those present were induced to rise and dance.

Then it was late.  The Swami took rest in the guest room, and his boys slept outside in their sleeping bags.

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