“The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, which is always active and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krishna consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 3.5 Purport)
“You hear these recollections from performing artists every now and then. Those who show their skills in front of live audiences. It could be a small theater, during a production of a centuries old play. It could be the live studio audience in filming a television show.
“It could also be a packed stadium, watching every move of the two participants competing for a prestigious trophy. Those who really enjoy the experience will have a difficult time giving it up. They want to extend the career for as long as possible. They cannot think of a proper substitute, once the lights go off, so to speak.
“You might hear them say that during the period of performance is when they really feel alive. I always found that interesting because obviously someone is still alive during other times. Even while sleeping, as long as there is vitality within, there is life.
“At the same time, I understand what they mean. There is a heightened sense of consciousness during the performance. There is pressure, but in a good way. There is full alertness. You can extend the capabilities of the body beyond what you previously knew.
“Is there anything equivalent within bhakti-yoga? Is there a way to feel alive? Is this perhaps why certain people perform sankirtana in front of large audiences? Is this why you witness the dancing in jubilation, the addiction to always repeating the names of Hari?”
The saying from Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is that a person who has life is able to preach the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. This means that the entire affair is a living, vibrant experience.
It may appear to be the opposite, at first. It looks like there is suppression. Douse the flames of the fire. Dampen the enthusiasm for certain behaviors, which are considered anartha. Suppress desire within areas that are actually maya, or illusion.
This is a transitionary period. It is preparing for a better life. It is clearing a certain tract of land in order to build a house. The difference is that the future establishment is not merely for eating, sleeping, or living comfortably. It is for turning on the switch, so to speak, to spark an eternal way of living.
It is not a coincidence that the way of living is known as sanatana-dharma. The way of service that has no beginning and no end. The way of living that matches the properties of the individual within, who is spirit soul.
Moreover, the way of feeling alive does not have to be limited to one activity. One person sings the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Another person dances along. Another is a loyal member of the audience, dutifully participating in the response part of the relationship.
One person cannot get enough of describing the glories of God. This also qualifies as kirtana. The entirety of Vedic literature, with the number of volumes seemingly increasing at an infinite rate, is kirtana.
The shlokas are kirtana. The verses of instruction are kirtana. The stories are kirtana, as well. These are historical accounts, of events occurring in past, present, and future. A person can find endless life within the culture of bhakti-yoga.
They can finally feel alive, linking up with the Supreme Consciousness. They can know what liberation is prior to quitting the body. They can feel heaven on earth, within their immediate surroundings. Whether sleeping or awake, they are always in tune with the desires of the all-attractive one, who is the life-breath of Shrimati Radharani.
During performance to feel alive,
But then into depression to dive.
Because the spotlight to end,
Desperate to extend.
Bhakti invigoration giving,
Like already eternally living.
Because describing His glories so,
Towards Krishna to go.