BHAJAN, KIRTAN and JAPA – DIFFERENCES!
Now a days, both Bhajan and Kirtan is used in the same meaning.
However, we can try to find the minute differnces like this:
DIFFERENCE – (1):
BHAJAN USUALLY SUNG BY THE AUDIENCE TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME. KIRTAN IS SUNG BY ONE AND FOLLOWED BY AUDIENCE TOGETHER.
Therefore, it is clear that Bhajan can be sung by the whole aucience at the same time, ONLY IF all the devotees know the song sung in the bhajan.
Since all of them sing at the same time, everyone should sing simultaneously. So, everyone should have known the song.
This may make the new comers difficult to join the Bhajan.
(Will chanting change the basic nature of a person? Explain loud chanting! READ HERE!)
So, Bhajan is for the new comers –only to hear, not to sing back.
In Kirtans, a devotee sings first and the audience repeats the song as a follow up. In the kirtans, there is no need for the audience to have known the song and even the new comers can join the kirtans.
So, kirtans are for both new comers and experienced devotees!
A song can be finished earlier if it is sung as bhajan. It will take double the time if sung as kirtan because every line is sung by the mamster singer and again by the followers.
(32 WAYS OF HOW NOT TO CHANT! READ HERE!)
DIFFERENCE – (2):
BHAJAN IS SINGING THE SONGS THAT CONTAIN EVEN THE STORIES, GLORIES & MERCY OF GODS.
KIRTAN IS USUALLY REPEATING THE SAME VERSES AGAIN AND AGAIN. EG: HARE KRISHNA KIRTAN.
However, both the cases are used for both bhajans and Kirtans now a days. So, nothing wrong in doing so.
Both Bhajans and Kirtans are aimed to please the God.
In vaishnava traditions, mostly the kirtans are followed in all the temples. In other traditions, Bhajans are followed more.
(What is the difference between GOD and LORD? READ HERE!)
DIFFERENCE – (3):
Both the Bhajans and Kirtans are sung loudly. Whereas, the JAPA is done silently or with low voice.
For example, if the Hare Krishna Maha Manthra is chanted silently, it is Japa. If sung as a chorus, it is a bhajan. If sung following the master singer, it is kirtan.
Hope you are now clear about BHAJAN, KIRTAN and JAPA – DIFFERENCES!
(Science behind loud kirtans and active dancing in devotion! READ HERE!)