Difference between Kirtan, Sankirtan and Bhajans
Kirtan is one of the devotional practices on the Bhakti path where one sings the Name of God. Kirtan is usually repetitive and simple as it is a free-form of singing. The person leading the kirtan sings a short simple melody with a short mantra, or the Divine names, which is repeated then by the other participants. Usually the chanting is accompanied by others playing musical instruments, such has harmonium, mridanga/tablas and manjeeras. It is one of the easiest ways to calm the mind.
Sankirtan is the same but in a congregation. Sankirtan creates a strong vibration in which all participants contribute and help each other rise. It helps to create a Sangha (community). By participants singing , clapping and dancing – The Divine name is brought into the body and then spread into the world.
A bhajan is a Hindu devotional song that expresses the love and praises of the Divine. It is usually led by one singer with others repeating. It is more structured than a kirtan – as bhajans have a clearly defined beginning and end. It pervades India’s rich legacy of devotion, wisdom and mysticism from saints such as Meerabhai, Tulsidas and Surdas among others.
A kirtan may assume the character of a bhajan and vice versa.
What happens when we sing the Divine Names
To realise God, you have to go beyond all the limitations of the mind. It is said that in this time, the easiest way to reach the Divine is to chant the Divine Names. By chanting the Lord’s Name, what is hidden deep within your heart will surface. You lose your identity, your ego, your pride, and you become wholly divine. You will start rising in God consciousness and divine qualities will manifest. The Name of the Lord can free one from the cycle of birth and death, and gives peace to the world. Everyone around is cleansed and transformed. There is no difference between the name of God and God. So when you chant His name, He is next to you.
When you do this, be sincere; do it with love. Do it with an attitude of surrender and enthusiasm. Let the Lord’s name resonate and vibrate in each part of your body. Only He exists and His vibration creates everything. Chant the Name of God and purify your heart!
Celebrate Kartik Night with us in Southall, London
When: Saturday 27 October from 5pm to 12pm (doors open at 4pm)
Where: SSPC Southall, Drill Hall, Featherstone Road, Southall, UB2 5AQ
Visit Shree Peetha Nilaya
So you love the picture at the top and wonder where it is from? This was from the rocking kirtan that took place at the opening of the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir, which is based at Bhakti Marga International’s headquarters – the Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram near Frankfurt, Germany.
If you are interested in going there in person and wish to travel with others from the UK, then let us know here and we’ll get back to you.