Why Sri Caitanya said that Sankirtana Is the Topmost Devotional Practice?
Kirtana refers to the glorification of the holy names which is done aloud, often with the accompaniment of mridanga (clay drum) and karatalas (hand cymbals).
(SOME MIRACLES OF SRI CAITANYA MAHA PRABHU! READ HERE!)
When many faithful aspirants gather for loudly singing the holy names of the Lord, this is called sankirtana.
Such kirtana is sometimes performed in the temples, and sometimes out on the streets in processions.
This sankirtana is understood to be the foremost and the most potent among all the sixty-four items of devotional practice.
Whereas many other practices depend on the lucidity of the practitioner’s mind or on his ability of concentration, nama-sankirtana does not consider this, but instead plunges the aspirant in an ocean of divine happiness regardless of his qualification or lack thereof.
During the modern age, it is understood that all devotional practices must be accompanied by nama-sankirtana to yield the fruit of pure loving devotion.
(ISKCON ARATI SONGS – MANGAL & SANDHYA ARATIS WITH MEANING! READ HERE!)
Sri Chaitanya glorified the paramount position of Krishna-sankirtana in the first stanza of His Siksastakam (Eight Instructions) as follows:
“May there be supreme victory for the congregational chanting of the names of Krishna! It cleanses the mirror of the heart, and extinguishes the great forest-fire of material existence. It is a great moon spreading its soothing rays, bringing to bloom the white lotus of good fortune of the living entitiy. The holy name is the life and soul of the young bride of divine wisdom, and an ever-increasing ocean of ecstacy, and by tasting it, the self becomes thoroughly cleansed, and comes to taste at every step the complete nectar it has always longed for.”
The practice of nama-sankirtana is unequivocally recommended for one and all, since there are no hard and fast rules for it.
It does not depend on time, place, person, articles of worship, purity or impurity.
In whatever situation the holy names of the Lord are chanted, they prove to be beneficial for everyone.
(IMPORTANCE OF KIRTANA (SINGING) IN PLEASING KRISHNA! READ HERE!)