Dedication: Srila Prabhupada

Meditation with Music Kirtan in Ireland                                           


About Kirtan

Kirtan yoga 2Kirtan is: people coming together in a family-like atmosphere for a music session which gives the result of deep meditation. More specifically, it is the call-and-response singing used in spiritual traditions from India. Also known as kirtan-yoga, kirtan is an integral part of bhakti-yoga which is the yoga of developing pure spiritual love.

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 Kirtan Articles Kirtan information

Origins of Kirtan (scroll below on this page)

Kirtan and 'Hinduism' click here
Quotes from Ancient Texts about kirtan click here

A history of the sacred practise of kirtan in story form click here  by Sri Prahlada Das

The Maha-Mantra   click here
information on the Krishna mantra - article, plus a review by George Harrison and John Lennon 

Kirtan Articles on click here (Links to external site from the USA)

Krishna boat lila

Origins of Kirtan

 In India, people have been singing about Rama, Krishna, Govinda, etc in their local languages or in Sanskrit for millennia.

In the early 1500's, kirtan was introduced by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the recommended spiritual path for the present age. Up until that time mantras were chanted to a meter at Vedic ceremonies, but the particular stressing of the importance of combining mantras with music as the most recommmended spiritual discipline for our current times, is due to Chaitanya (image below).

Chaitanya MahaprabhuHe promoted singing mantras with Indian musical instruments, particularly the khola (mridanga drum) and karatals (brass hand cymbals). Initially there was some resistance from caste brahmanas, the established priestly class. But Chaitanya from the age of 15 had already defeated in debate the greatest pandit ('pundit' - scholar) and he was already known as the most erudite and knowledgeable person of his day. He explained on many different levels the benefits of chanting kirtan. Around the world, kirtan was first introduced by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada -the founder of ISKCON - from 1965.

Kirtan is a Sanskrit word meaning 'to chant', or it refers to 'the process of chanting', and it includes a sense of 'repeating', 'describing', and 'glorifying'. Specifically, it refers to the glorification of the Supreme. The reader will doubtlessly be familiar with other Sanskrit words such as yoga, Avatar, mantra, guru, and karma which are in use worldwide. In the coming years, we can expect 'kirtan' will become another word that will be more familiar in general usage.

Images are © Copyright The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Inc
The first painting is Krishna and the gopis (angels) in the spiritual world, where kirtan is seen as one activity that goes on eternally. The second image is of Chaitanya (born 1486 A.D.)




"...I had bought the (kirtan) album Prabhupada did in New York, and John and I listened to it. I remember we sang it for days, John and I, with ukulele banjos, sailing through the Greek islands... like six hours we sang because we couldn't stop once we got going. As soon as we stopped it was like the lights went out. It went to a point where our jaws were aching, singing the mantra over and over...We felt exalted; it was a very happy time for us"

John Lennon and George Harrison
of the Beatles

(from a 1982 interview with George)