Intro to Kirtan

Intro to Kirtan

Elizabeth and Bhaktifest with Natesh Kirtan

Elizabeth England (L) and Cassandra Wallick of Band of Now (C) at Bhaktifest with Natesh Kirtan

By Rosie @

If you are like me, right now you are pretty clueless as to what Kirtan is, or what it’s actually like.

So, what the heck is Kirtan?

It’s a “jam session!”


A call and response type of group chanting, with musicians, live instruments, peaceful energy, high frequency vibrations, like minds, and LOVE!

Just like Yoga, you’ll leave Kirtan feeling amazing.

Krishna Das, “the Pavarotti of Kirtan,” (as famously dubbed by Yoga Journal) describes Kirtan to his inquirers, as such: “It is a call and response, kinda sing-a-long….I sing a line and the audience repeats it. As the evening goes on, we all get deeper and quieter” (“A Moment with Krishna,” 1).

Not only is this a “jam session,” in which you’ll get to listen to some extremely talented artists, you’ll also benefit from this experience, in many different ways.

We all know the benefits of meditation (quiet mind, less stress, happiness, healthy mind).

One of the main goals of Kirtan is to quiet your mind, and bring yourself to a meditative state. With the enchanting Sanskrit words that most of us, myself included, will not understand, it should become easier for us to let go of our constant thought patterns, and give our mind a rest. It makes quieting the mind and meditating easier to grasp (possibly because there are no familiar words that set off cues and trigger thought patterns? Just guess here.) All this while also enjoying a peaceful energy that, I am sure is quite indescribable (Kitzie, 1).

What makes us feel so good?

We all resonate at different vibrational frequencies, and these frequencies change according to what we are thinking and doing at the present moment. When a group of us are all doing the same thing such as singing, chanting, breathing, and moving to the same beats, our vibrations begin to synchronize toward a higher frequency. Higher frequency vibrations are associated with feeling good (Ragani, 1).

The “laws of vibrations” help us, in that all of our vibrations align themselves to stronger, healthier vibrations. This is great, and also the reason why we tend to re-enter the “real” world from yoga, feeling blissful! You can’t help but latch on to those of us that have strong frequencies and higher frequency vibrations (Ragani, 1)!

Even if you are having a bad day (low frequency vibrations), it would be extremely difficult to hold onto those feelings during the course of a Kirtan experience, because you will constantly be attracted to the higher frequencies and feelings of goodness. If you were to merely to sit in the room without participating in the least, you should still be able to feel a shift in energy, to higher more blissful vibrations. This energy begins to activate the spirit that exists within us all. And, that’s what makes us feel so good (Ragani, 1).

I don’t know about you, but that sounds amazing! At this point, I really do not need any further winning over!

So, now….what the heck are they saying?

Kirtan is traditionally sung in Sanskrit. Sanskrit mantras, to be more specific. Traditionally, it is the calling of God’s name in Sanskrit. (Rosen, 6). However, in current times, and especially in the west, Kirtan has taken on a more modern approach. God’s name is still chanted in Sanskrit, but Sanskrit sayings/mantras, and even mantras in English are becoming prominent and modern instruments, such as the guitar, are also being introduced and popularized.

Don’t feel like you could keep up with the language? Or, feeling uncomfortable chanting things in a different language?

No problem. Just sit, relax, and take it all in. (This is probably where I will sit, until I become more comfortable with the whole process).


Join in as best you can, sing, clap, dance, sway or meditate. There is no wrong way.

Kirtan in itself is a learning experience. You take from it exactly what you are meant to.

For the next five weeks I will be highlighting different aspects of Kirtan, in order to educate and inspire you all to join us with Arjun Baba on June 22nd. This event will be a great honor for Indianapolis, and a real treat for us all. Let’s welcome Arjun with open minds, and open hearts!

In the next five blog posts, in the next five weeks, I will be covering these aspects of Kirtan:

-The History/Famous Kirtaniyas

-Arjun Baba (our special guest)

-Religious aspect? Yes or No?

-Movies/Links/Music Bites/Articles/ The works

-Arjun’s Mantras and their meanings

Stay tuned, and get excited about Arjun Baba and Kirtan!

Rosie at

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Our Most Important Black Friday Ever

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