What is Kirtan?

August 6, 2012 - 1 minute read

Kirtan is a musical prayer – a call and reponse connection with the Divine through sound. It is fast, easy, fun and authentic. We live in an age of mass distraction. Canned music in every shop, advertising on every available surface, endless streams of emails and texts to our smartphones, what to speak of TV, newspapers and magazines. Though we are supposed to feel more connected, for many, the opposite is true. Kirtan is an antidote that links us with an eternal, unchanging truth – a celebration of the relationship between the soul and the source.

Mantra is a Sanskrit word composed of ‘Mana’ – the mind, and ‘trayate – to transcend’. Therefore mantra refers to an ancient word or sound which helps the mind to reach a higher consciousness. These days it’s become popular to call anything which is repeated over and over, a ‘mantra’. But a real mantra is a powerful sound vibration – sometimes compared to a key that opens a specific lock. When accompanied by music it is known as kirtan. Accompanying the mantra with music is a way to help us with the difficult task of focusing the mind. As Mary Poppins says, ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!’ Kirtan is one of the most important practices on the path of bhakti yoga.

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