Something I read today from J.D. Salinger’s novel “Franny and Zooey”. Zooey is trying to convince his sister Franny that she is taking shelter of the Jesus prayer with the wrong motivation based on her misunderstanding of the character of Jesus. I thought it had some interesting implications regarding how we understand kirtan and mantra chanting.
“If God had wanted someone with St. Francis’s consistently winning personality for the job of the New Testament, he’d’ve picked him, you can be sure. As it was, he picked the best, the smartest, the most loving, the least sentimental, the most unimitative master he could possible have picked. And when you miss seeing that, I swear to you, you’re missing the whole point of the Jesus prayer. The Jesus prayer has one aim and one aim only. To endow the person who says it with Christ-consciousness. Not to set up some little cozy, holier-than-thou trysting place with some sticky, adorable divine personage who’ll take you in his arms and relieve you of all your duties and make your nasty Weltschmerzen and Professor Tuppers go away and never come back.”