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Hindu Chanting (Kirtan)

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Kirtan is the communal call-and-response chanting and singing,
over and over, of the many names of the Hindu gods and goddesses.
The practice is to become one with them.
It is an offering of spirit and feeling, a prayer; a devotional practice set to music.

CHANTING

Chanting (Kirtan) is a part of the path of Devotional (Bhakti) Yoga.

When we see the beauty of our own being we are seeing the beauty of the 'Being that is the One' of which we are all a part. And when we turn towards that One, love is the natural reaction of the heart.

God or Guru is an endless ocean of love truth and presence. First we may hear the distant roar of the crashing waves of the ocean and we're drawn to that sound. As we get closer, we can smell the ocean air and taste the sweet moisture. When we reach the beach and see the ocean for the first time, we're transfixed by the vastness and Beauty. We run and we dive in and enjoy the freedom that comes from this ecstasy. Finally we merge with that ocean of love and somehow find ourselves back on the shore, returning to ourselves so that we can share the experience with others.

Those that have returned have given us these Names of God. These Names are the sound of the surf of that Ocean of Love. They hold the power to help us find our way back to that ocean. We don't have to create anything; we don't have to manufacture any emotions or feelings. We can't make it happen. It already is. All we have to do is Remember. Everyone has their own path to this beach, to the Ocean, but we all wind up in the same place. There is only one...One.

Satsang is where people gather together to remember, to turn within and find their own inner path to the One. When we gather together to sing like this we are helping each other find our own paths. We all must travel this path by ourselves because each of us is our own path. All these paths wander on in their own way, but in truth we are all traveling together and until the last of us arrives we will all keep traveling. So let's sing!
- Krishna Das

Krishna Das is the preeminent western practitioner of the Kirtan. "Sharing his heart through music and chanting is the basis of Krishna Das' own spiritual work; his way of serving the Divine within himself and others."

'And when he sees me in all and sees all in me,
Then I never leave him and he never leaves me.
And he, who in this oneness of love
Loves me in whatever he sees,
Wherever this man may live,
In truth, he lives in me...'

Bhagavad Gita, VI:30,31

Please visit Krishna Das' website


Om Namah Shivaya

"Om Namah Shivaya," we chanted: 'Om', the primordial sound of the universe; 'Namah', to honor or bow to; and 'Shivaya', Divine consciousness: "The Divine in me honors the Divine in you."

Om Namah Shivaya
 Shivaya namaha, Shivaya namah om
Shivaya namaha, namaha Shivaya
Shambhu Shankara namah Shivaya,
Girija Shankara namah Shivaya
(Arunachala Shiva namah Shivaya)

Om Namah Shivaya - Sample - Amazon.com

This chant is to Shiva and it basically translates as “I bow to Shiva.”
Girija is a name of the Goddess in her form as Shiva’s wife
and indicates the union of male and female energy in the Oneness.

Arunachala is a sacred mountain in south India.
The great saint Ramana Maharshi passed his whole life on or around this mountain
and worshipped it as an actual manifestation of God, the Self of All.

"Om Namah Shivaya" is one of the most powerful of Sanskrit mantras - phrases designed to create a transformation in consciousness. This mantra begins with the primordial sound "OM". "Namah" means "to bow" or "to honor". In Hinduism, "Shiva" is that aspect of the Divine which breaks down or brings to a close the creative cycle of Creation, Destruction and Recreation. The mantra may be experienced as an appeal to God as the destroyer of our illusion and ignorance that stands in the way of perfect union and enlightenment.

Listen to excerpts from Krishna Das' album 'Pilgrim Heart'


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Last updated: 08/15/08

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