Kirtan is the chanting of sacred mantras, sacred sounds and names and has become the foundation of Narada's merging musical and spiritual life. In 2003, after a couple decades of playing with jazz, blues, rock, R&B and other groups in bars and clubs, Narada discovered kirtan through his yoga practice. As is often the case, there was immediately a shift and a recognition that music can serve as a vehicle to deepen his spiritual practice, just like the practice of yoga postures (asanas) and breathing (pranayama) and prayer had.
Sri Swami Satchidananda said, "Kirtan is primarily a devotional practice, but its basis is scientific. While in deep meditation, yogis in tune with a higher spiritual reality experience subtle sound vibrations....By repeating certain mantras with care and concentration, one may experience such divine qualities as health, happiness, peace, prosperity, love and light."
These 'tuned-in" yogis called this practice Bhakti Yoga, and it has been blooming here in the west. One of Narada's teachers and inspirations, Jai Uttal, said about Bhakti Yoga, "Bhakti Yoga brings us into the world of mystery, a realm where the critical discerning qualities of the intellect are powerless next to the vast ocean of feelings. Like all Yoga, the goal of Bhakti is union, oneness with the Supreme....And Bhakti is about surrender."
So we chant and sing to raise the vibration of our thoughts and emotions and tune in to our higher self. Then we stop and breathe, and in that magnificent pause we're not 'doing' anything. We may notice deep movement, the opening of our heart. It's my favorite type of activism.
"Love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality. This is the birth of God into the world of form. Love makes the world more transparent to the divine dimension, the light of consciousness itself." - Eckart Tolle in A New Earth.