IMPORTANCE OF KIRTANA (SINGING) IN PLEASING KRISHNA!
Kirtana (Singing) is an integral part of our devotional service. Praising the lord with the songs will invite the special mercy of the Lord. When we praise the Lord, we throw our ego and show our surrender to Krishna. We realize that we are a small and insignificant particle in the presence of Krishna.
Now, read what Sri Rupa Gosvami says about Kirtana (Singing) in the words of Srila Prabupada:
“In the Linga Purana there is a statement about glorifying and singing about the Lord. It is said there, “A brahmana who is constantly engaged in singing the glories of the Lord is surely elevated to the same planet as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Krsna appreciates this singing even more than the prayers offered by Lord Siva.”
(PRAHALADA’s PRAYERS TO LORD NARASIMMHA DEVA! READ HERE!)
When a person loudly chants the glories of the Lord’s activities, qualities, form, etc., his chanting is called sankirtana. Sankirtana also refers to the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
In the Visnu-dharma there is a statement glorifying this process of congregational chanting: “My dear King, this word Krsna is so auspicious that anyone who chants this holy name immediately gets rid of the resultant actions of sinful activities from many, many births.” That is a fact.
There is the following statement in Caitanya-caritamrta: “A person who chants the holy name of Krsna once can counteract the resultant actions of more sinful activities than he is able to perform.”
A sinful man can perform many, many sinful activities, but he is unable to perform so many that they cannot be wiped out by one single uttering of Krsna.
(ISKCON ARATI SONGS – MANGAL & SANDHYA ARATIS WITH MEANING! READ HERE!)
In the Seventh Canto, Ninth Chapter, verse 18, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Maharaja Prahlada offers the following prayers to the Lord: “My dear Lord Nrsimha, if I can be elevated to the position of Your servant, then it will be possible for me to hear about Your activities. You are the supreme friend, the supreme worshipable Deity. Your pastimes are transcendental, and simply by hearing of them one can counteract all his sinful activities. Therefore, I shall not care for all those sinful activities, because simply by hearing about Your pastimes I shall get out of all the contamination of material attachment.”
There are many songs about the Lord’s activities. For example, there is the Brahma-samhita, sung by Lord Brahma; Narada-pancaratra, sung by Narada Muni; and Srimad-Bhagavatam, sung by Sukadeva Gosvami. If these songs are heard by any person, he can easily get out of the clutches of material contamination. There should be no difficulty in hearing these songs of God. They are coming down from many, many millions of years ago, and people are still taking advantage of them.
So why, at this time, should one not take full advantage and thus become liberated?
In the First Canto, Fifth Chapter, verse 22, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Narada Muni tells his disciple Vyasadeva, “My dear Vyasa, you should know that persons who are engaged in executing austerities and penances, studying the Vedas, performing big sacrifices, chanting the hymns of the Vedas, speculating on transcendental knowledge and performing charitable functions have for all their auspicious activities simply to gain a place in the association of devotees and chant the glories of the Lord.”
It is indicated here that chanting about and glorifying the Lord is the ultimate activity of the living entity.
(Science behind loud kirtans and active dancing in devotion! READ HERE!)
Chanting a mantra or hymn softly and slowly is called japa, and chanting the same mantra loudly is called kirtana. For example, uttering the maha-mantra (Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) very softly, only for one’s own hearing, is called japa.
Chanting the same mantra loudly for being heard by all others is called kirtana.
The maha-mantra can be used for japa and kirtana also. When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kirtana is performed it is for the benefit of all others who may hear.
In the Padma Purana, there is a statement: “For any person who is chanting the holy name either softly or loudly, the paths to liberation and even heavenly happiness are at once open.”
(BHAJAN, KIRTAN and JAPA – DIFFERENCES! READ HERE!)