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The Yoga of Kirtan

Conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting
Book + CD Set
Folk Books
June, 2008
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Banyen's Description: 

For countless ages, seekers have journeyed to the
Ganges, or to similar holy places, to absorb themselves in sacred mantras, hymns that have been passed down for generations. These same seekers would often perform kirtan, celebrating special mantras with song and dance. Much to our good fortune, these mantras have finally come West, and kirtan now contributes to the rhythms of modernity as an exotic musical movement is emerging worldwide, turning age-old sacred chants into a new cultural meme.

Kirtan is a Sanskrit word that means “praise” or “glory.” Simply understood, it is a form of song that centers on glorifying God, commonly performed in a “call and response” style of singing. Kirtan, in any form, is ecstatic.

The Yoga of Kirtan describes kirtan’s history and origins, its different musical forms, and the instruments used in its performance. But, most importantly, in The Yoga of Kirtan we hear the voices of kirtan yogis from ages past—through the hearts and minds of their present-day representatives, such as
Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Vaiyasaki Das, Ragani, Deva Premal/Miten, Snatam Kaur, and David Newman, among others.

Through the insights of these modern-day chanters, we get a peek into the ecstasy of the chanting process. By allowing us to eavesdrop on their intimate conversations with Vaishnava scholar Steven Rosen, they unlock the mysteries of this age-old yogic tradition, helping us to see why chanting is indeed yoga, and how easy and pleasurable it is to perform.

The book’s accompanying music CD features over 70 minutes of chanting by various of the interviewees, including a previously unreleased live kirtan performance by
Krishna Das..

Kirtan is like a magnet, inviting and begging grace to enter our hearts and our lives. It is a most precious thing, something to be cherished and practiced with total gratitude, and those who learn how to enter into it will feel God’s grace and presence as the closest of the close, the dearest of the dear—our true beloved.   —Jai Uttal


Publisher’s Description: 

The Yoga of Kirtan explores the history, musical dimensions, and emotional content of sacred chant. Through a series of intimate conversations, this volume brings its readers into the company of present-day kirtan masters, such as Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Vaiyasaki, Ragani, David Newman, and many others. Their insights reveal the profundity and joy experienced in this ecstatic form of yoga.

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