Chanting (Kirtan) is a part of the path of Devotional 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.
The following is an excerpt from 'Pilgrim of the Heart' audio series by Krishna Das:
"The words of these chants are called the divine names and they come from a place that's deeper than our hearts and our thoughts, deeper than the mind. And so as we sing them they turn us towards ourselves, into ourselves. They bring us in, and as we offer ourselves into the experience, the experience changes us. These chants have no meaning other than the experience that we have by doing them. They come from the Hindu tradition, but it's not about being a Hindu, or believing anything in advance. It's just about doing it, and experiencing. Nothing to join, you just sit down and sing."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 travelling together and until the last of us arrives we will all keep travelling. So let's sing!
Programs with Krishna Das are usually done in three different ways:
- Evening kirtans of 2-3 hours with call-and-response chanting with musical accompaniment (no prior experience is required)
- Afternoon workshops of 3-4 hours with call-and-response chanting, talks about the spiritual path, and a forum for questions and answers. Some workshops are done with like-minded teachers
- Week or weekend retreats from 2-7 days sometimes done with like-minded hatha yoga or meditation teachers which include evening call-and-response chanting, and afternoon workshops. Because of the length of the retreat, it offers more time for the participant to dive deeper into the experience.