A circle is formed: you are sitting, or perhaps dancing, amidst your fellow brothers and sisters who have gathered here in this place, to sing with praise the various names of the Divine. The leaders of this kirtan (this practice of communicating with, and celebrating, the Divine presence that exists within each and every one of us) are playing their beautiful music on instruments such as the classical harmonium, tabla drum, violin, tingshas, tambourines, and the like.
You let your mind go, singing and dancing, as you truly embody, perhaps for the first time in your life, what it feels like to be alive, to be unattached to this material world and at One with Source.
Sound and Mantra
“Kirtan,” stemming from the Sanskrit root “kirt” or “kirti,” meaning “to name, to praise, to communicate, and to celebrate,” is a devotional practice that uses sound and mantras (sacred sound formulas) to purify the mind, body and spirit. This practice, mentioned in one way, shape or form, in almost every spiritual tradition, has become one of the most popular ways of practicing the branch of yoga referred to as “Bhakti” yoga: the yoga of devotion.
This devotion symbolizes our individual relationship with our Higher Self, and our connection to God/Goddess/Source/Divine Intelligence. When repeating these divine names, when forming these sacred sounds with our voice, we create an automatic pranayama (balance of vital energy), which purifies the mind and the emotional body. It develops devotion to the sacredness that lies deep within us, and raises our frequency, our vibration, as we begin to feel a well-spring of connected energy flow effortlessly between ourselves and the Divine Intelligence we are a part of.
Connection To Self
Kirtan can be practiced anywhere, at anytime, and is not restricted to groups or live music. All one needs to do is focus on a mantra, either silently or verbally, and remain focused on these sacred words and sounds for a period of time that feels right. If you only have a few minutes, give yourself that time, no matter what your Ego tries to tell you. If some days you can give yourself 10 minutes or more, allow yourself to sink in fully to that purified space you have created for mind, body and spirit to be nourished. Every moment counts, every action creates karma, so by committing to your spiritual practice of kirtan, you are deepening your connection to your Self and your sense of Oneness with the Universe. Practice silently while standing in line at the grocery store. Practice loudly and proudly while driving to and from work in your car. Practice, practice, practice. You are on the right path.
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