Divine Connection

Kirtan & Bhajan

One could be forgiven for thinking kirtan is the new yoga in the western world, when in fact it has been thriving here in Australia, in Satyananda Yoga circles, for 40 years.  

For those not initiated into its magic, kirtan is a beautiful (and powerful) form of meditation, which involves chanting verses of mantras, melodically, with an accented beat, and repetition i.e. repeating the same two to four verses over and over again. One person leads the singing of a group, the group repeat back exactly what was sung, in volume, speed and mantra i.e. in call-and-response. 

The repetition of the rhythm, mantra and melody combine to entrain the mind, body and heart together, restoring & reintegrating all three back to wholeness. You will feel put back together again, from wherever it was that you had come apart. Regular kirtan ensures that you don't come very much apart.  :)

Live kirtan is held, on the third Saturday of each month 7.30 - 8.30pm. 
By donation.  63 Watt Road, Mornington, Melbourne.  
Examples of kirtan, below ...

Om Tare TuTTare Tura So Ha 
Deva Premal & Miten
This beautiful kirtan has been mixed to repeat and continue for an hour. Played very very softly with head-phones, it provides a soothing deeply calming meditation, or helps beat insomnia, but is simply beautiful at any time.

Sarva Mangala - ૐ Om Namah Shivaya ૐ
(Tina Malia & Shimshai)

Sarva Mangala Mangalyei 
Shive Sarvartha Sadikei 
Sharanyei Tryambakei Gauri 
Narayani Namostute

May the warm fires of Goddess shine upon your hearts - and may you know your heart's desire...

Jaya Bhagavan
Krishna das
Salutations to the Transcendental Divine I see you in everything. (I am That.)

Sw Niranjanananda, head of Satyananda Yoga, leads the next two kirtans:

Radhe Govinda Bolo

Bada Pyara Hain Voh

1. Bada Pyara hain voh, Sabse Nyara hain voh, Mera Govinda Gopal, Bolo Jai Jai Jai Gopal
2. JabBhi Sankath Aye, JabBhi Man Gabraye, Unko Dil Se Khaho, Tho Phir Archa Na Aye
3. Krishna Krishna Kaho Radhe Radhe Kaho Meeti Murli Bhaje, Hum Sab Saath Mein Gaye

The Bada Pyara kirtan has three verses, and is easily learned by continuously singing just one verse at a time. Repeatedly chanting the verses contributes to the meditation effect of kirtan, and even chanting one verse is valuable in this way

There are many kirtans with just one verse, comprised of  a few simple mantras, for example, Om Namah Shivaya; Om Mane Padme Hum; Jaya Bhagavan, etc, which are super easy to learn. Any mantra can have many, different melodies.

As well as having one, or a number of verses,  kirtan can also be mellow, dramatic, serene, uplifting, awakening and/or joyous. They are always delicious. Some people take to kirtan instantly, others may take two or three initial exposures to it for the mind to totally embrace. 

Kirtanists today have tended to turn kirtan into a concert, a performance, but as you will see from this video, kirtan is not a concert, or performance, it is the leading of meditation.

More about the kirtan technique . . .
Kirtan chanting begins with the person who is 'leading' the kirtan. They more often than not play an harmonium - a squeeze-box keyboard which sits low to the floor and which sounds a lot like a church organ. The lead kirtanist is also usually accompanied by drum,  guitar and/or other musical instruments. The kirtanist opens the chant by singing alone, to which the group responds, singing together, as one voice, calling back to the kirtanist. 

The kirtanist may lead the kirtan slowly, or fast, softly and sweetly, or strongly. However it is done, it is organic, completely in the present moment, emotionally healing, mentally clearing and uplifting for the heart -an endorphin activator. 
One can also sing kirtan alone, which is very beneficial for creating inner communion with the Divine. But this benefit is also had when singing with a group, except the effects is stronger and one is present and responsive.

Kirtan has been a flourishing and beautiful part of everyday life for hundreds of Satyananda practitioners since the 1970's, they embraced this practice which bypasses the mind and reaches straight into the heart, and made it part of their sadhana.  As a result, many Satyananda students today have their own harmonium and sing or chant various forms of mantra and melody, such as, nada yoga, bhajan, kirtan, etc, on a regular basis. And you can too. 

Kirtan CD's to listen to and learn from, may be bought at www.satyananda.net and MP3's are available from other singers and traditions, online. Deva Premal and Krishna das, are two such kirtanists, now famous, having single-handedly rocked the practice of kirtan to life, in the Western world.

Believe it or not, kirtan is so loved, you can probably find an established group of kirtanists already in your town, or students willing to sing/learn/practice kirtan, with you.


Where kirtan is usually one, or a short number of short verses, repeated in a call-and-response manner from 5 - 30 minutes, bhajans contain quite a few different verses, each sung once, through to the end of the song and is a more like a story for the heart. Bhajan may also have a chorus which is sung between verses. Both kirtan and bhajan are devotional songs; but where in Christianity the song is sung to God, an external force, kirtan and bhajan are generally  sung to God the internal force, hence the devotion is not to that of others.  Occasionally, it is, and this is recognisable by the names of saints or teachers.  Sometimes one wants to say thankyou to their teachers, and this is one way in which it can be done.

Most usually, however, this type of devotional singing is for internal communion with the divine, and as such, results in fairly immediate meditation.

The translation, below, of the Adi Shakti bhajan clearly shows this communion of connecting to the Divine Energy within, known in Sanskrit, as Shakti, Prakriti, Maha Prana. Known in English as the Primal Force, Divine Mother or Divine Energy. Singing in Sanskrit is very helpful for the westerner for bypassing the thinking mind, linking instead straight into the Divine Heart.

Adi Shakti bhajan

Approx 30 minutes. Simply lie down, or sit in a meditative position, and listen closely.
When you know it, sing along, move your arms, dance or or clap softly, all the while keeping the eyes closed. This is a salute from the heart to the creative power of the cosmos.

Kundalini Shakti Mantra

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo!

Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo!

Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo!

Kundalini Mata Shakti, Kundalini Mata Shakti, Kundalini Mata Shakti, Namo Namo!


Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee!

All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee!

That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee!

Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!