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 rest 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 and 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 and 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 the ‘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 nd their own inner path to the One. When we gather together to sing like this
we are helping each other nd 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 traveling together and until the last of us arrives we will all keep traveling. So let’s sing!
‘And when he sees me in all and sees all in me, Then I never leave him and he never leaves me. And he, who in this oneness of love
Loves me in whatever he sees, Wherever this man may live, In truth, he lives in me...’ —Bhagavad Gita, VI:30,31
"Kirtan is the calling, the crying, the reaching across in nite space...digging into the heart’s deepest well to touch and be touched by the Divine Presence. It is singing over and over the many names of God and the Goddess, the multi- colored rainbow manifestations of the One. It is said that there is no difference between the name and that which is being named, and as the words roll off our lips in song, the In nite is invoked, invited, made manifest in our hearts." —Jai Uttal
**All Translations are made lovingly by Hareesh Christopher Wallis
Vedic Gāyatrī Mantra / Sāvitrī Gāyatrī (Rig Veda 3.62.10):
Om Bhūr Bhuvaha Svaha
Tat Savitur varēņyam
Bhargo devasya dhīmahi
Dhiyo yo naf prachodayāt
Yes. Earth. Sky. Heavens. May we focus our minds on that beautiful glory of the Vivi er / Rejuvenator (the power of the rising and setting sun): may He stimulate our minds and impel us on our path.
(Here is the rest of the prayer that people don’t chant:)
With understanding, of the Vivi er we earnestly entreat our portion of prosperity.
Poets worship the Vivi er with hymns and holy rites, urged by the impulse of their prayers.
Om ekadantāya vidmahe
Tanno dantī prachodayāt
Yes. May we come to know the One-tusked Lord; may we meditate on He with the curving trunk; may that tusked one, Ganesh, impel us forward [on our path].
Om tryambakam yajāmahe
Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam |
Urvārukam iva bandhanān
mrtyor mukshīya māmrtāt ||
Yes. We worship the One with three eyes [Will, Knowledge, and Action], fragrant [with the fragrance of the innermost Self], granting ever greater increase. As the cucumber is severed from the vine, may we liberated from fear of death, and not ever separated from the unending nectar [of Being].
Om saha nāv avatu
Saha nau bhunaktu
Saha vīryam karavāvahai
Tejasvi nāvadhītam astu
Om shānti shānti shāntihi
Yes. May we two be protected together. May we be nourished together. May we work together with heroic vigor. May our study together be lled with light. May there never be enmity between us. May it be so -- peace, peace, peace on all levels.
Praises for the Mahā-shakti:
Yā devi sarva-bhuteshu / shakti-rupena samsthitā
Namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namo namaha
Yā devi sarva-bhuteshu / chetana-rupena samsthitā
Namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namo namaha
Reverence, reverence, reverence to that Goddess abiding within all beings in the form of energy. Reverence, reverence, reverence to that Goddess abiding within all beings in the form of consciousness.
Śrī Guru Invocation:
Gurur brahmā gurur vishnur gurur devo maheshvaraha
Guru sākshāt param brahma tasmai shrī-guruve namaha
Creation is a teacher; stasis is a teacher; dissolution is a teacher. The teacher is Brahmā, Vishnu, and the great god Shiva. The teacher is the Absolute before your very eyes. To that auspicious and revered teacher, reverence.
Lokāh samastāh sukhino bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free!