09. What is Kirtan ?

There are different types of spiritual practices and one of them is kirtan. It is ancientand authentic, and at the same time it is a very simple method of elevating our consciousness. The essence of kirtan is singing mantras with or without accompaniment of musical instruments. Musical instruments help in chanting the mantras because everyone likes music.

Mantras are spiritual sound vibrations which can elevate our consciousness and make us feel happy and peaceful. They help us to get free of the lower qualities like envy, greed, anger, lust, pride, laziness, and so forth. The word “mantra” comes from Sanskrit language and means “sound vibration which delivers the mind” (man-mind, tra- to deliver).

Mantras are spiritual sounds which come directly from the spiritual realm. The words of the mantras describe that supreme spiritual reality.

There are many different mantras; among all of them there is one which is the most powerful, especially in our age – the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. This is the great mantra of deliverance, also known as the Maha-mantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

One can make kirtan alone or together with other people. The more people take part in the kirtan, the better the experience is. This experience cannot be fully explained in words, but it feels like intense happiness coming out of the core of one’s heart. Often during kirtan people spontaneously stand up and start to dance.

There are no hard and fast rules for performing kirtan. One can do it at home or outdoors, at one’s job, while driving, even while dreaming at night. One can do it loudly or softly, or even in the mind. One can make kirtan alone or with friends or family, in the morning, in the evening or during the day. Just by singing, by using musical instruments, or simply by clapping one’s hands.

The mantra and the practice of kirtan is so powerful that it will act in all circumstances.

The best way to experience it is to try it. The best way to experience the taste of the cake is to taste it. Try it out and see for yourself!

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