What Is Kirtan?
Songs in which the name of God is chanted can foster an enlightened devotional mood.
Kirtan, which literally means, "to praise what is exalted," fosters Divine Relationship. There is a very intimate relationship between the name and what is being named. Sanskrit literature tells us that Brahman, the Supreme Truth, is sound, and when sacred sound is coupled with soulful intent, it creates a divine emotional condition, an insightful state of being called Bhava. Bhava, the enlightened devotional mood, not only allows us the ability to taste the refined spiritual essence but also creates in the practitioner humility and dharma fortitude.
The effects of chanting, or even effortless listening, can be felt immediately. When we engage in kirtan with bhava, the Bliss Being who resides at the core of the mantra is awakened and in that grace-filled circumstance, the singer or even listener can experience the Awakened Meeting that is called darshan.
The bhakta Nandadas speaks of the devotional condition very clearly:
O friend, since I have heard Krishna's name--
I have forgotten my home and have gone mad.
My eyes fill with tears, my mind revels--
My body is transformed.
The fruit of all my fasts and dharma practices have
Finally arisen when I heard the sacred name.
Sings Nandadas, "Look at what happened to her
When she just heard His name correctly once.
Now imagine what will happen
When she sees Him!"
Kirtan contains the inner wealth and is the song of the enlightened poets. It destroys the demerits of this world and is auspicious to hear. Kirtan is replete with splendor, it envelopes the world and is a great benefactor.