kirtanKirtan is a one of the main practices of bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion) where one focuses the mind on divine sound vibration. Kirtan is the most powerful means of meditation to invoke the inner beauty of one’s own identity in relation to the Supreme. It calms your mind of fear and anxiety, and opens your heart letting The Divine infuse us with true love.

Kirtan is mantra meditation as song. The singing of mantras is accompanied by musical instruments, & the audience is encouraged to participate by singing, clapping and even dancing! You will not be able to resist the urge to to join it! In its heartfelt expression kirtan can induce profound states of meditation, bliss and ecstasy.

In a simple word, Kirtan is relief. For the twenty-first century person living in the west, life is all about the pursuit of happiness. Kirtan is a scientific study in the pursuit of happiness. Everyone is looking for lasting happiness and through kirtan we can achieve that lasting happiness we are searching for.

Though the roots of kirtan go back over 500 years to India it is no less relevant in our modern times. Caitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534), a revolutionary medieval saint from India & founder of kirtan, broke social traditions making this kirtan available to everyone regardless of their caste, race, ethnicity, or religious affiliation thus giving everyone the opportunity to become fully enlightened. In a beautiful poem he wrote that by uniting together and cleansing the dust from out hearts we can begin to feel what it means to love unconditionally again. Click here to read more about Caitanaya.

1001407_489893081101143_35452899_nA.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was one of the first spiritual teachers to bring kirtan outside of India. In the summer of 1965 under a tree in New York’s Tompkins Square Park he lead a group of singers, dancers & hippies in kirtan. That tree is called the ‘Hare Krishna Tree’ and there is a plaque the city placed there commemorating it. Later Prabhupada sent disciples to Europe where they enlisted the support of Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, who were responsible for having Hare Krishna kirtan released as a single that topped music charts around the world. Today spearheaded by artists such as Jai Uttal, Krishna Das & Wah Kirtan has become increasingly popular in the West. The day before President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, 400 enthusiasts assembled in D.C. with the goal to usher in a new era of spiritual intention and consciousness with a kirtan festival called “Chant4change”. Kirtan artists such as Gaura Vani, Jai Uttal & Dave Stringer participated.cleansing the dust from our hearts we can begin to feel what it means to love unconditionally again.

Kirtan is not limited to the yoga community or those in Indian attire. Anyone can joyfully participate in the kirtan and become a key musician!