THE BIRTH OF KIRTAN:
THE LIFE & TEACHINGS OF
BY RANCHOR PRIME
“If you cherish the path of a moderate
life, please find something else to read,”
warns Jai Uttal in the prologue of Ranchor
Prime’s The Birth of Kirtan: The Life &
Teachings of Chaitanya. Uttal’s warning is
not to be taken lightly, because once the
teachings of the mystic saint Chaitanya
enter your consciousness, you will be neither able nor willing to knock them out.
Prime’s account of the life of Chaitanya
contains prose that flows like music and is
accompanied by beautiful images, making
Birth of Kirtan an example of the beautiful
and complete book sets for which Mandala Publishing is widely praised.
Known in his youth as Nimai, as the
charming adult Vishvambhar, and later
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the stories of
this avatar who walked the streets of
Bengal and Vrindavan 500 years ago
plant the seeds of Bhakti – devotional
love – in one’s heart. Chaitanya inspires
not just a path of spirituality, but an all-encompassing spiritual fervor. Although
regarded as a sentimentalist, Chaitanya’s
clear teachings, praised and recorded as
concrete pillars of Vaishnava literature,
are still followed today.
The basic principles of Chaitanya’s teachings emphasize service, the reciprocating
relationship between God and his devotees, and the goal of life: love of the Divine. The pages of The Birth of Kirtan are
dripping with devotion. Why walk when
you can dance? Why talk when you can
sing? This amplified way of living is the
essence of Chaitanya.
Reviewed by Vanessa Harris, writer for Bhakti Fest
and the Editorial Coordinator at the Bliss Network.