Kirtan, by definition call-and-response singing of devotional songs or mantras, has a rich and multifaceted history, and is practiced within various Indian devotional traditions and religions, such as Hinduism, Sikhhism, and Buddhism, as well as secular popular music venues and community contexts.

Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas, the two-headed mrdanga or pakawaj drum, and karatal hand cymbals.

Chanting (Kirtan) is a part of the path of Devotional Yoga. 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.

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.

Narayani and Mat Baker are a husband and wife team, who share a love and a passion for devotional music, kirtan and the practice of Bhakti Yoga. They travel throughout the UK and Europe offering their music and voice workshops wherever they are invited. Narayani is known for her powerful devotional singing and for facilitating voice work that opens the heart and encourages our highest expression. Mat is a singer and multi-instrumentalist. He brings a gentle, transformational quality with his soulful voice and powerful percussion and Bouzouki (like a mandolin) playing.

This this article explores this question via one particular mantra called the mahamantra that will be familiar to any readers who have attended kirtan, been to a Vaishnav temple, or heard popular songs like George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

This is why so many religious traditions pray, sing, or chant as a prelude to silence. They understand that the repetition and absorption of sound leads to sacredness itself. ~ Deng Ming-Dao