From Dinadayadri devi dasi
16 December 1993
Dear Hansadutta das:
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!!!
I have just finished reading your publication Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You and was compelled to write to convey my deepest, heartfelt thanks for shining this beacon of light and reason into the insane mire that unfortunately has enveloped our beloved spiritual father’s divine mission for so many years. Frankly, I had given up hope of ever again seeing in print such a logical, bhakti-infused representation of the truth of these essential matters in this lifetime!
I don’t recall ever meeting you personally, but I heard much about your glorious exploits in the service of Srila Prabhupada during the early days of ISKCON from my then husband, Naranarayana das. I also have always credited you to a great extent with saving the day during the near-disastrous 1970 Rathayatra Festival in San Francisco through your tireless chanting of the Holy Names, which went on for hours and resounded like a battle cry against the evil forces that seemed intent on disrupting the Lord’s chariot ride through Golden Gate Park to the sea. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to continue in that vein, because I think you could also do a lot to save the present-day circumstances through broadcasting the Holy Names as heard from the lips of our true Sampradaya Acharya, Srila Prabhupada.
I have long held the belief that much of the current philosophical confusion could be dissipated if devotees would simply return to practicing the congregational chanting and dancing of the Holy Names in the manner set forth by Srila Prabhupada. (As you said, DO AS PRABHUPADA WOULD DO!) After all, kirtan is the first and foremost method he gave us for purifying our consciousness so we could understand Vaishnava philosophy. Nowadays, the kirtan in the temple is usually so cacophonous, raucous and disjointed, it is very difficult for all but the most grimly determined to even take part. That’s a far cry from the simple, enchanting melodies, steady rhythms and graceful dancing introduced by Srila Prabhupada that so captivated us and swept us up into the dust at his lotus feet and onto the path back home, back to Godhead!
Thank you very much, Hansadutta Prabhu, for kindly taking time to read through this rather lengthy letter. I’m sure I haven’t said anything that you don’t already know and judging from your writings, you have probably already implemented a return to the pure form of congregational chanting as heard from Srila Prabhupada. Of course, the most important principle of chanting was given by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His Shikshastaka:
trnad api sunichena
taror api sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
I just happened to notice that when the devotees started trying to imitate the professional kirtan singers and sahajiyas they heard in India, something got lost in the translation. I thought one such as yourself, who was recognized by Srila Prabhupada as a very nice kirtan man, could appreciate and perhaps elucidate further on these points. I am subscribing to your newsletter Inside Nam Hatta with joyous anticipation!