In recent years, the practice of kirtan, or devotional chanting, has become increasingly popular in the West—and for good reason. Saints and Sages have claimed that it not only increases happiness and quality of life, but can lead to God realization. Not sure if kirtan is the right practice for you? Continue reading to find out.
4 Reasons To Practice Kirtan
1. You want to connect with the Divine
It is said that the Rishi’s (enlightened masters) from ancient times received Sanskrit words from the god’s while in deep meditation. The Rishi’s then shared the sacred language with their devotees, who spread it around the world. While chanting Sanskrit and languages that evolved from Sanskrit, a holy vibration is developed. For example, the healing Siri Gaitri mantra, which is pronounced Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung translates to: “Sun, Moon, Earth, Infinity, All that is in infinity, I am Thee.” The energy of the sound vibration of the mantra is just as valuable as the literal translation.
Ra means “Sun” and connects you with the frequency that gives energy
Ma means “Moon” and aligns you with receptivity
Da means “Earth”, and is grounding
Sa means “Infinity” and aligns you with the healing power of the universe
Say is a way of honoring all creation
Hung is the Infinite, the essence of creation
Devoted spiritual seekers often chant mantras for hours at a time. The longer one chants, the longer the divine vibrations cultivate within the body, mind, and soul.
2. You struggle with seated meditation
Sitting in meditation can be difficult. The mind may wander and thoughts can become distracting. Because of this, many people quit meditating before they experience any benefits.
You may find chanting mantra easier than sitting because it is an active form of meditation that engages more of the senses. If the mind becomes agitated during kirtan, you can return your awareness to the sound of the mantra, clap your hands, dance, play an instrument, and have fun! If sitting still with your thoughts is uncomfortable for you at this moment, kirtan may be a helpful practice.
3. You want to improve your mental health
While Saints and Sages affirmed the benefits of chanting mantra thousands of years ago, modern researchers are just now realizing the power of kirtan. In a study at West Virginia University, scientists discovered that practicing kirtan 12 minutes a day for 12 weeks improved cognitive function, sleep, mood, blood plasma levels, and overall quality of life.
Other researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that eight weeks of regular kirtan practice improved cerebral blood flow and verbal memory, reduced depression, and increased feelings of connectivity.
4. You want to experience clarity of purpose
Experienced meditators know the sense of clarity that comes from regular practice. Even beginner meditators report similar feelings of clarity. Spending long periods of time in deep focus reduces mind chatter and allows one to see things more clearly.
You may be hesitant to practice kirtan. Maybe you aren’t the best singer, or you have trouble pronouncing sanskrit. However, if you open your mind, lower your inhibitions, and try it out for yourself, you may fall in love with chanting.
Intrigued? Consider registering for a kirtan workshop at Yogaville.