A Kirtan event, much like a yoga class, goes in three distinct phases: Distraction, Alignment, and Flow.
Distraction: Prior to the event beginning, we are arriving, getting seated, chatting with friends. We begin to chant “Om” together: “Auuuuummmm,” Among it’s countless and mysterious meanings, “Om” means “Welcome to the God.”
Alignment: We then chant to Ganesh in order to remove any obstacles to the evening and any blocks in our lives. Then we invoke our outer and inner Gurus for their support. “Jai Maa” comes next, and we begin to feel our alignment, in a place beyond worldly concerns and obstacles, connected to our Parampara (spiritual lineage), and in harmony with the nurturing and natural forces of Mother Divine.
Flow: Much like a yoga class, we’re “warmed up,” and ready to Flow. Here we get to Let Go and Be Free Chants to the Operator, Universal Sustainer, our Life’s greatest Well-Wisher, Vishnu, occur. These can take the form of “SitaRam!’ “Govinda/Gopala!” or “Hare Krishna!”
After each chant, there is Silence, where we bask in the juicy Divine energy we just created – a type of “Savasana” that occurs several times during a Kirtan event.
The rest of the evening is nothing but a joyous play, where bliss and celebration and transcendence, and commuion are effectively “passed around” the room (“Joy is Contagious”), transmitted from the “Leader” to the “Audience” and back again (“Who’s Leading Who?”). We are far beyond worldly concerns, circumstances and conditions, beyond distinctions/opposites/polarites: We are all One.
We end with the chant “Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu” in order to share our bliss with the rest of the world. We wish everyone could feel as happy as we do right now.
I invite you to experience this Kirtan journey with me on Saturday, February 23rd @ Bhakti Yoga Shala. I’ll be previewing chants from my forthcoming album, and playing with my dear friends Kimberly Haynes, Christo Pellani, Vito Gregoli, and Darby Orr.
For me, Kirtan is truly about community and you are invited to join the Tribe.