“If words come out of the heart, they will enter the heart, but if they come from the tongue, they will not pass beyond the ears.”
– al-Suhrawardi (d. 1234) founder, Suhrawardi Sufi Tariqa
What is kirtan?
Kirtan is an experience like no other. It combines sacred mantra, or spiritual words with vibrant, joyous music that lifts the soul and energizes the body. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. One leader sings the mantra, accompanied by a few instruments. After each line, the group, however large or small, respond with the same line. This call and response continues as the kirtan slowly unfolds.
Though the kirtan tradition originated in ancient India, it is no less relevant to our modern times. With the increasing demands of the average working life, kirtan is perhaps even more beneficial than ever.
In kirtan, there are no rules or religious mandates; you can sit or stand, or better yet, dance! You can clap or play instruments, and sing to your heart’s content. The only thing necessary is are open ears, an open mind, and an open heart.
For more information on the history of kirtan, visit here.
“If you open up your heart
You know what I mean
You’ve been polluted so long
But here’s a way for you to get clean
By chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see”
— George Harrison (Awaiting on You All, from the album All Things Must Pass)
om asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor mā 'mṛtaṁ gamaya
Lead me from the false to the true. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to the eternal.
- Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad