Kirtan is a blissful night of devotion, chanting, heart songs, instruments, voices, community and joy! You do not have to be musical in any way! What matters is the intention of the heart and a longing to connect....we try to host kirtan once a month with our in-house kirtan artists (Lunar Kirtan or Spirit of Incantation) as well as with additional kirtan artists within the community or from other countries. To see who is upcoming, view the dropdown menu under the 'Special Events' tab at the top menu bar. Below you will see a glimpse of who has held kirtan with Satsanga and also a bit more about the practice of kirtan! <3
As described so poignantly by Jai Uttal, "the Sanskrit words that we sing in these kirtans are "mantras", or divine names...[which] can be thought of as a sonic embodiment of the supreme being who, through grace, takes infinite recognizable forms. When touched by the blessings of an enlightened master or the longing of a pure heart, these "mantras" become fully alive and have the power to carry us back to the One, the universal heart. Through these simple kirtans we can communicate with our hearts, with our souls".
WHAT IS KIRTAN?
by Frank Barnett and Jayasri
Kirtan is a call-and-response singing of mantras. It is an exchange of energy between people. Simply put, a leader chants the Sanskrit mantras line by line and the group sings them back. The energy builds, and the tempo naturally increases.
Is it Yoga?
Kirtan is a yoga practice. It is used in these three overlapping paths:
Bhakti Yoga, often called the yoga of devotion, Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound vibrations and their effects, and Mantra Yoga. Mantra literally means "the force which liberates the mind".
Managing the Emotions
Swami Niranjan Saraswati has taught that Bhakti Yoga is a science of managing the emotions. Kirtan singing is a profound way of releasing and purifying one's emotional energy field.
What Makes a "Good" Kirtan?
Rhythm is important in Kirtan, but a good singing voice is not necessary! Kirtan singing should come from the heart, and should never feel contrived. It is not a performance! Like all other yoga practices, Kirtan is meant to bring body and mind into balance. Immersing ourselves into joyous singing lifts the spirits and releases tensions.
What Do the Mantras Mean?
Although the Sanskrit mantras are poems of praise to Gods and Goddesses, remember that Kirtan is not a religious practice. In Yoga philosophy, these dieties represent various aspects of consciousness. And, for the religiously inclined, there is no conflict, because since God is all, God is also consciousness!
Another aspect of Sanskrit mantras is their pure vibrational quality and the positive influence that these sounds have on the body-mind. So, it is not necessary to know the meaning of the words, only to enjoy and experience the uplifting effect of the vibrations.