the Bhakti Beirut Community
Following the path of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, Bhakti Yoga Beirut was formed in 2010 with the hope and goal of sharing the ancient tradition of bhakti yoga with the Lebanese community.
What is Kirtan?
Kirtan is a form of devotional chanting whose roots go back over 500 years to India. it is a form of bhakti yoga where the audience is encouraged to participate and has the power to open the heart. In its heartfelt expression, kirtan is music for the soul and can induce profound states of meditation, bliss, and ecstasy.
Kirtan is an experience like no other. It combines sacred mantra, or spiritual words with vibrant, joyous music that lifts the soul and energizes the body. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. One leader sings the mantra, accompanied by a few instruments. After each line, the group – however large or small, respond with the same line. This call and response continues as the kirtan slowly unfolds.
Though the kirtan tradition originated in ancient India, it is no less relevant to our modern times. With the increasing demands of the average working life, kirtan is perhaps even more beneficial than ever.
In kirtan, there are no rules – you can sit or stand, or better yet, dance! You can clap or play instruments, and sing to your heart’s content. The only thing necessary is an open heart, open mind, and open ears.
What is Bhakti?
Bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion) is a spiritual discipline mental discipline meant to bring one to a state of pure love of God. The path of bhakti yoga is commonly followed through activities such as devotional service, study and discussion of sacred texts such as Bhagavad-Gita, and kirtan.
What is the meaning of Mantra?
“Man”- means mind in Sanskrit and Trayate or “tra” means to deliver. Hence the word Mantra.
A Mantra is a sound vibration which is coming from a spiritual stratum. The purpose of this sound vibration it to clean the mirror of the mind and all the dust, dirt and debris we’ve been collecting for so long. It actually awakens the Divinity, it awakens the goodness, the kindness, the love that is dormant within us. That is our true nature.
Sound vibrations are very powerful. Transcendental sound vibrations are beyond the material energy. Historically, many traditions throughout the world access these sound vibrations through chanting, praying, reciting hymns of ancients texts and sacred mantras. Doing so revives our dormant spiritual nature within us. The meaning of Mantra is that which frees and cleanses the mind. Our mind is like a mirror. If it’s dirty we cannot see ourselves in it.
When the thoughts that dwell in our dusty mind are full of misconceptions, it causes us to think and act in a selfish, arrogant and greedy way. we in turn identify these tendencies of a lower nature as ourselves. When we cleanse our mind through the process of mantra meditation, the inherent qualities of the souls, which are divine in nature, reflect through the clear mirror of the mind. That change is seen and felt tangibly in all our actions in this world. A mantra is very simple but yet can be very powerful.
Types of Mantras
And there are many such mantras. For example, one can chant the Maha Mantra. “Maha” means Great, so the Great mantra. There is also the OM Mantra which often chanted by yoga practitioners.
There are different levels of sound vibrations.And there are also different varieties of divine sounds. Through chanting and practice of ancient traditions, we’re able to tune ourselves with the divine.
In Bhakti Yoga, the mantras recited help us to tune-in to that divine sound vibration that attracts grace and love into our hearts, and it awakens the dormant love for the divine residing there.