Philosophy of Kirtan


Kirtan (from the Sanskrit word meaning “to sing”) is a folk form that arose from the Bhakti movement of 15th century India, originally played and sung by musicians with very little in the way of formal training. The Bhaktis wrote ecstatic love poems to the divine, and went around singing all the time. Their message was simple: Cultivate joy. See the divine in one another. In the eyes of Love, we are all the same. In a caste-bound society, this was, and still is, a radical message. They taught Sanskrit mantras to common people using simple melodies, accompanied by handclaps and finger cymbals and drums. Crowds gathered, and in a pre-amplification age, other instruments and more voices were added to strengthen the sound. Kirtan is still hugely popular in modern India. At big festivals, there can be many thousands of divine-intoxicated people singing and dancing.
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