Chanting : Kirtan and The Power of Devotion
21 Nov 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Chanting is a rhythmical repetition of a prayer, sound or word that can express devotion, gratitude, peace and compassion. By chanting, it connects us symbolically and physically to nature and all other living beings. Bhakti Yoga is basically defined as path of devotion. It is the practice of concentrating one`s mind, emotions and senses on the Divine. The ideas and practices of Bhakti Yoga is originated throughout India over the 12th to 18th century. Bhakti marga is a part of religious practice in Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism. The motive of bhakti yoga practitioners is to attain oneness with the divine and to utilize the energy through faithful devotion. Bhakti yoga means ultimate surrender to the divine. It`s goal is to revive that state of pure consciousness and enter into the divine world. Bhakti is very deep, pure, most beautiful and intense emotions of love of the devotee for the divine. Bhakti yoga is also about the union with universal energy or universe. It includes all religions by not specifying one particular object of devotion. It is celebration of universal consciousness and the Divine in everything. Kirtan, the act of praising or chanting words, names or mantras, is done in bhakti yoga to enhance individual`s practice.
Although this practice is the simple one but the spiritual process of chanting leads us to connect within ourselves and the Divine.
Throughout the chanting, you consciously immerse yourself in the flow and atmosphere of prayer and slowly move into its meditative state. Chanting is widely practiced to cope with negative and stressful emotions. By chanting we express our emotions into our external voice. Kirtan is a devotional practice like chanting the name and glories of God. It includes levels of music, singing and rhythm to reach across infinite space-digging into the heart deepest well and the universe by permeating vibrations. Kirtan is vessel that can hold love, union, longing, separation, lust, despair, mourning, anger. The heart beat and vibrations increases when chanting. The sound strongly resonates with the human body. The sound is absorbed by our every cell and organ of our human body not only ears.
Chanting reminded of our humanity as chanting in a group allows for all voices to become one. Each individual has a different story but through chanting, we can become a unified voice and be reminded of our humanity. Kirtan don`t differentiate any boundaries. Kirtan is an offering, a gift to the great one who has given us everything, and to whom we can give nothing in return but our loving remembrance.
Here are some points that you should know if you are new to chanting and kirtan
Chanting Has Multiple Meanings
Mantra is often chant to bring peace in the mind and it releases positive energy. Chanting mantra is an ancient practice that calms your mind and soul. It brings a greater concentration to the present moment and lessens our attention to the continuous stream of thoughts.
Mantras connect us with the present and make us to fall in love with the present.
Mantras has the unifying power that can`t be denied. As it allows the words and feelings to become unique to you. Chanting mantras could be a powerful way to connect with divine. Repeating the words or phrases is to engage in Kirtan. It may have various meanings to various people.
It`s Okay to Feel Uncomfortable Singing in a Group
You may feel uncomfortable either singing in a group or singing alone. It`s totally normal to be in discomfort zone as you`re not the only one being discomfort. Slowly you will be used to and get out of the discomfort zone and then you can experience something beyond your being.
When chanting its only you. You influence it as it influences you. So it need a active participation from both sides.
Practice Chanting Like You Practice Asana
You need to find someone you feel comfortable with, to guide chanting. Like when you first start your asana practice, you likely had to find the right teacher.
To learn asana you practice it completely with efforts so make sure you also drown in the feelings and words while chanting. They should be simple enough for you to repeat over and over again. There is saying practice makes man perfect so more you chant more you can chant perfectly.
You don`t have to get the words right
Sanskrit is a sacred and most ancient language that has specific meaning in each syllable. It is an entirely different language with various sounds and phrases. Many of us are familiar with western practices so they don`t know much about Sanskrit. So in the beginning its hard to chant Sanskrit words but it`s better to know that you are not alone in this discomfort. Just go easy on yourself, slowly you will be used to.
If you don`t pronounce well, chant much slower and slower until you do. Your wrong pronunciation won`t hinder you from your ability to connect with its devotional teachings. The words means something unique to you. It is your body that needs the vibration. So practice and repeat the words releasing the positive vibration.
You Don`t have to Understand What You`re saying
The main motive is to focus on how you feel when you chant. It`s totally fine if you don`t know the words you are saying. Kirtan simply means forgetting about yourself and surrender to divine or something great so just feel the words and vibration all over the body and connect with the divine and innerself.
Final Tips for Kirtan and the Power of Devotion.
Kirtan and chanting is more about surrender. It is an best way to heal through vibrations, sounds and breathing. When chanting mantra, every mantra has its own properties, vibrations and uses. So it is Important to select the right mantra
You don`t have to know everything about what you are chanting. You just have to feel the words and vibrations. It is deeply personal experience that manages to connect you with everyone else in the room. It is personal and global simultaneously.
It`s not necessary to stress or feel discomfort just chant with all your heart. Be open and free. Discover more of what is possible and access that which already resides within you. You can do much more than you think and you can do much more than you know.