IT'S NOTHING NEW.
Every curve and crevice of Krsna consciousness has always been tightly interwoven and saturated thick with music. Krsna philosophy says that music and sound are the very backbone on which the universe is constructed and therefore sound is the most powerful way to change the world.
It's true. Sound and music have fueled the machinery of every social change. The hippies and their acid rock. Limitless revolutions and its limitless anthems. Punk rock … Straightedge … New age …
Just go to any concert and see the power of sound. Kids drive hundreds of miles and pay a good chunk of their money to get in the door. Once they're inside, sound will toss them around the dance floor, impelling, commanding them to jump and run and scream and sweat.
The Krsnas can channel this audio-force fully because their spiritual process is built on music and sound.
Like everything powerful, music can cause havoc if misused leading people to sex, drugs, and hatred. But if you use it right, it can rescue human consciousness from the swamps of egocentric envy and malice, evaporating the ocean of struggle drowning the people of the world. That's the purpose of Krsna conscious hardcore bands.
Like I said, it's nothing new. Thousands of years before Shelter and 108, thousands of years before the first Fender guitar ever fuzzed to life, Hare Krsnas have been touring the world writing and performing Krsna conscious music, with the same purpose as today's hardcore bands.
Just to assure you I'm not dreaming this up as I go along, snowballing you to make you think I'm cool and hip, I'll quote from the ancient Vedic song called Srimad-Bhagavatam.
deva-dattam imam vinam
gayamanas caramy aham
This is from a seriously long time ago, and it's sung by a devotee named Narada. He says, "I'm constantly touring, playing my instrument [the vina], and singing spiritual songs decorated with transcendental messages."
Getting a little more modern: About five hundred years ago, Caitanya Mahaprabhu (who is Krsna Himself) did a gigantic tour from town to town in India. He even sang while He walked. Everywhere He went audience participation was practically a hundred percent, and the lyrics were all holy names of Krsna.
Then there's Narottama Dasa Thakura. He's famous for his super-heavy lyrics (which inspired more than a few 108 songs). He toured eastern India, and his songs are still sung today.
More recently, just a few generations back, Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote more songs than you can count. His lyrics inspired Shelter's Saranagati and are directly translated in 108's Gopinatha. Often he'd sing in people's houses. He called it nama-hatta("the holy name right in your home").
You're still doubtful? You can agree that there have been plenty of Hare Krsna musicians in the past. But howling vocals? Electric guitars wailing away at full blast? A frenzy of passionate jumping around on and off the stage?
Well, try not to get carried away by the externals. Pierce the superficial and see hardcore for what it really is. It will become obvious that hardcore is a powerful medium for expressing Krsna consciousness.
Hardcore is a lot deeper than stage diving and gang vocals. By expressing emotion and philosophy through music, hardcore tries to make people happy by helping society and the individual progress.
The most progressive thing you can do is raise human consciousness out of egoism. It is egoism, self-centeredness, that gives birth to every puzzling crisis that strangles the eleven o'clock news.
When we put the interests of "I" before the interests of the environment, of the animals, of the hungry and the poor, that's egoism.
Krsna consciousness means turning around this insane attitude. It's like a shift from geocentrism to heliocentrism a shift from gimme consciousness to Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is the pinnacle of kindness and compassion because it pulls human consciousness from the suffocating quagmire of me-ism.
How? By expression of spiritual emotion and philosophy through sound.
Krsna conscious hardcore bands try to tune our consciousness back to Krsna, the true center of existence, through musical glorification of Krsna and His holy name. Yeah, so we turn the volume up a little louder but the essential idea is still the same.
Krsna consciousness is not only compatible with hardcore; Krsna consciousness is the final evolution, the perfection, of hardcore and, for that matter, of all means of self-expression.
Bhakta Vic 108 joined the Hare Krsna movement about two years ago. He and his band are based at ISKCON's temple in Washington, D.C.