Kiirtan: Ancient Cure for Modern Problems
Many people suffer from psychic ailments in the current age. Many of us are depressed or suffer from anxiety disorders. Moments of happiness are brief and fleeting. Loneliness and meaninglessness are common themes.
We blame stress created by the modern lifestyle for all ailments but there are other factors. It is a complicated story. Some say humans are alienated from nature. Others say the human development in physical and mental spheres outpaced the development in the spiritual sphere. Some blame the materialism. Some point out the extreme narcissism prevalent in the current age. We should also note the fact that the social norms changed dramatically in the second half of the 20’th century. Our relationships became very complicated. Individual freedoms expanded but people are suffering from loneliness. The old disease of the intellectuals, the feeling of meaninglessness is spreading to other segments of the society.
Some talk about the hidden impact of astronomical and geophysical changes on the human mind. For example, there are serious changes in Earth’s magnetic field. The solar system is passing the mid-point of the galactic plane and we are exposed to more radiation.
The changes in our environment including Earth’s interior and the outer space is causing physical ailments as well. The number of autistic children is increasing at an alarming rate. I am absolutely convinced that humanity is going through accelerated physical and psychic evolution in the current age.
In the 60’s and 70’s there was great interest in spirituality but in the early part of the 21’st century the interest in spirituality is waning. If you don’t believe me check the trends in search engines. I also think that “alienation” is a problem but I do not think it is alienation from nature; rather it is alienation from our true identity. Alienation from spirituality is a problem. It is not the only problem but it is the most important one. The problem is that we are too busy to remember our Soul. We are too busy to remember God. We are too busy to meditate. We are too busy to pray.
The solution has to be about remembering our true identity, the solution has to be about remembering the goal, the solution has to be about getting closer to our center, getting closer to Love.
Modern lifestyle demands quick remedies. Can we connect with our spirituality quickly? The answer is YES. The interesting fact is that this modern (quick) solution is an ancient one.
I mentioned the sound archetypes in a series of articles. I said the sound archetypes were imprinted in ancestor brains by the shamanistic rituals of chanting and dancing. We all carry remnants of these imprints in our genes and in our collective mind. Chanting and dancing still have powerful effects on humans. Kiirtan is a modern version of the sacred dances of the Paleolithic times. The Sufi dancing and chanting is the same. I see the same trend in Christian churches as well. Christians raise their arms just like the Sufi dancers or the kiirtan dancers. Raising arms towards the sky and singing sweet melodies is truly a universal way to connect with our Soul.
Rhythmic repetitions of certain sounds take us to our beginnings. Basically we are reaching the deeper layers of our brain, the parts of the brain that deal with raw emotions and even deeper layers, the so-called primitive brain where involuntary body functions are performed. The sound archetypes are to be found at this layer of the brain and in the corresponding layers of the mind which is the collective mind of our species. The main reason for the effectiveness of the sacred dances and chanting is that it provides a mechanism to bypass the thinking part of the brain and connect with the deeper layers where the physical meets the nonphysical (mind and the Soul).
Kiirtan is the easiest way to connect with Divine Love
Kiirtan is the easiest way to connect with our Soul, the easiest way to feel the Divine Love. It is easier than meditation. It is easier than poetry. It is easier than social interaction. It is simple music that resonates in the heart.
“What is Kiirtan? What is this love affair? Kiirtan is devotion. Kiirtan is singing to the divine. As we open our hearts to sing in devotion, we experience the sweetness of the divine in us. “It”’ becomes real — our beloved is present, right inside and around us, plain as day, listening, dancing, and celebrating! In Kirtan we are vibrated to the core of our being. The mantras and sounds of Kiirtan chants stir and awaken spiritual qualities in us. The energy lifts us above the mind, where thoughts can’t seem to reach us. Worry and stress slide off. We touch the divine within us and sit with it. The divine takes us. We feel her hold us in her arms for a while.”
Kiirtan is the singing of a mantra aloud while ideating on the Supreme Being. It inculcates the feeling of bliss and prepares the mind for meditation, because in performing it all the motor and sensory organs are engaged and directed towards the Supreme. It can be done anywhere, any time, but the best time is just before meditation.
The mantra used for kiirtan is:
Baba Nam Kevalam
Baba means “my most beloved One”, Nam means “name of” or “to identify with”, and Kevalam means “only”. So the meaning of the mantra is “My most Beloved is the only One.” The ideation is: “Everywhere I look, in everything I hear, feel, see, taste and smell, I perceive that one Supreme Consciousness which pervades all things.”
This introductory video is a good introduction to Ananda Marga kiirtan.
You can invent your own melodies
I sing “Baba Nam Kevelam” freely, inventing my own melodies. I enjoy the composed ones too but kiirtan has been more effective for me when I sing it to any melody that comes to my mind. You will discover that some of these melodies are original. You will receive music from the depth of your heart.
Author’s articles on physics and philosophy: sureshemre.wordpress.com