Thursday, February 6, 2020

Mantra and Kirtan

My teacher says 2020 is the year of Kirtan but what is it?

In the Yoga Sutras, one of the ancient, foundational yogic texts, Patanjali says the eight-limbed path consists of hatha, karma, bhakti, tantra, jnana, guru, mantra, and raja yogas. Kirtan is a form of bhakti (BHAK-tee), the yoga of devotion; jnana (gyah-nah), the yoga of wisdom; and mantra, the yoga of sound. Mantras are words, phrases, and syllables that are repeated until they become integrated into the chanter’s consciousness. Today, many yoga students are discovering that this sacred, traditional practice allows them to access inner peace, calm, connection, and non-thinking.
This act of devotion originated some 2,500 years ago in India as a way for yogis to commune with God by chanting the names of the Divine, specifically Hindu gods and goddesses, such as Ram, Kali, Rama, Shiva, Durga, Krishna, and Lakshmi.

To begin with I found our Mantra and Kirtan strange. many of my fellow students were very comfortable with chanting and singing, closed their eyes and reminded me of my times as a born again Christian in their devotion. Many got up to dance. I felt shy. But I did enjoy the tunes and melody and soon found myself learning the words in Sanskrit off by heart and joining in and even looking forward to it. 
By week 3; I was eager to play the accompanying instruments too and became very attached to a pair of brass finger bells

Image result for finger bells

That I could use to add my own little touch to our chanting and singing.

Towards the end of our time, we became really "alive" and danced lots. On three wonderful occasions, we had Mantra and Kirtan outside around the fire pit and whilst, fire gazing is not encouraged in yogic practice, having the flames and fire in the dark sky, was delightful. 

Now I find myself often singing OM Namo Narayanaya; The Universal prayer, in my head and it definitely brings me to stillness and peace very quickly.

If 2020 is the year of humans coming together in prayer and celebration, I'm IN

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