Sacred sound syllable – in ancient Sanskrit mantra refers to a word or phrase which helps to uplift or ‘free’ the mind. These days it’s become popular to call anything which is repeated over and over, a ‘mantra’, but an authentic mantra is passed from teacher to student over thousands of years, and through meditation and repetition, can unlock our deepest potential
Mantra + music = kirtan. Singing the mantra along with musical instruments is a way to help focus and absorb ourselves in the sound. If the mantra is the remedy, the music is the capsule that makes it easy to take. As Mary Poppins says, ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!’
To meditate, is to focus deeply on something. While great masters of the past were able to sit silently in the forest and concentrate – most of us are navigating the urban jungle, with ‘always-on’ lives and ever buzzing smartphones to match. In the time we live in now, mantra meditation is the easiest way to achieve inner clarity and focus.
What is Kirtan
Kirtan is a call and response musical meditation that takes a minute to learn, and makes you feel good just as fast. The practice goes back more than 5000 years and can be practiced by anyone. You do not need to be a good singer, a practitioner of yoga, or a follower of any religion or set of beliefs to experience the power of kirtan. An open mind and your voice are all that is required! Combining music, mantra meditation and full body, mind and heart participation, kirtan offers a rich, immersive experience that has the power to change the world, one heart at a time.
Most of our team members found kirtan through the teachings of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Prabhupada), a spiritual master from India who travelled to America in 1965, at the age of 70, desiring to share the teachings of bhakti yoga with the Western world. Not knowing anyone and with hardly any possessions or money, he arrived in New York City, where he sat in a city park daily and sang kirtan. As crowds gathered by the day, he shared the message of bhakti – that each of us is an eternal spark of God. While we discriminate on the basis of class, race, gender and religion, beneath the temporary covering of the body, we are all equal. All material pleasure is temporary and can never bring lasting satisfaction. Awakening our relationship with God through service and love, anyone can find a deep happiness that will never diminish. He founded a movement called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which now has over 600 centres in the world.
Kirtan Sydney is a collective of bhakti yoga practitioners from diverse backgrounds who regularly come together to share the art and science of harinama sankirtana: group chanting of the divine names. Our desire is to facilitate warm and inclusive community events which allow new and experienced participants to taste the pure bliss that comes from sharing kirtan, transcendental literature, spiritual company and delicious vegetarian food! We are an entirely non-for-profit, volunteer-run project and would love to see you soon for chanting, dancing and feasting!