Kirtan on State
Kirtan is group prayer and meditation, an invocation of sacred Sanskrit mantras, set to enchanting melodies and mystical rhythms. Its magic rests upon the principle that ‘the name of God is God’.
One of the primary practices of Bhakti yoga - the yoga of spiritual devotion - kirtan takes place in community with fellow spiritual seekers & devotees (bhaktas), collectively praising diverse aspects of the divine manifesting in the world, within and without, expressing our highest ideals of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth.
The musical format is call-and-response chanting: the leader offering an impassioned call, to which the participants listen with intention and respond with devotion and abandon. This mutual exchange of energy harnesses the ineffable power that dwells within every human heart, and which blossoms in divine community.
The practice of kirtan builds ‘ojas’ - an Ayurvedic principle of rejuvenation - which enhances personal resilience, physical immunity, and generates overflowing love.
~ ~ ~
Kirtan on State is hosted by Trevor & Zarah as an offerring to our community and as an opportunity to publicly worship with our friends.
We regularly invite local kirtan singers to collaborate on the evening program, we periodically offer "open mic" community kirtans, and on special occasions we enjoy the privilege of hosting seasoned kirtan leaders on tour and from the larger southern California region.
Come as you are. All are welcome at kirtan, of all ages, spiritual persuasions, and creeds.
Together, our primary objective is to raise the universal vibration and to seed positive intentions within our own consciousnesses and within the collective, which will emanate throughout the larger reality to the benefit of all beings.
Hari om tat sat
9. 22. 23
$27 suggested donation, or pay what you can
Kirtan on State
w/ Michael Hathaway
Join us for kirtan Friday, 9/22, when we'll have the pleasure of welcoming Michael Hathaway back to Kirtan on State.
Michael creates an uplifting communal experience of ecstatic group prayer, singing with sweet, celestial, heart-felt yearning. His chants are traditional Sanskrit mantras set to original music, weaving an enchanting soundscape of hypnotic harmonies, joyful celebration, and fierce intensity.
Two chants from our
2nd Anniversary kirtan,
Sita Ram Hanuman
Hari Om/ Sharanam Ganesha
Much gratitude for the amazing group of people who came out that night and lent their voices and presence to these recordings.
And immense love to our dear friend Siobhan Barton for capturing and editing this footage.
Thoughts on the Practice of Kirtan
excerpts from Return to the Source: Collected Writings on Spiritual Life
by Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati (pujari, Kali Mandir, Laguna Beach)
“A seed contains within it the potentiality of the entire tree. What is the seed form of God? The name of God is such a seed […] the single most important revelation in spiritual life is that the name of God is God […] If we plant this seed deep within our consciousness, it will grow and transform us.”
“It is said in the Puranic literature that kirtan is the easiest method for God-realization in the Kali Yuga, the present dark age. […] If we are honest and humble, we can see that our position has become almost hopeless. The whole atmosphere is against us. […] Our modern culture is pushing us to become selfish and materialistic. But in this, our darkest hour, the holy names of God have descended as a golden umbrella during a dark rain.”
“How does kirtan help our externalized mind become internalized? Our senses are our weak points. […] If something is beautiful sounding, how could we desire not to listen to it? But we can use our weakness to our advantage by connecting our senses with God. We must stamp God on everything. Then everywhere our mind and senses go, we will find only God.”
“We generally listen to music and sing to entertain ourselves. Hence, there is the danger of using the holy name and kirtan as entertainment. The holy name is God Himself, the Goddess Herself, Brahman Itself - not entertainment. Entertainment is something that happens on the surface level of consciousness. Eventually we have to go beyond kirtan as entertainment. A seed only works if it is planted in the ground.”
“In our chanting we should also be listening. We should learn to hear the sincerity in our chanting. This will adjust our inner attitude. The whole time we must try to remember God, who mercifully appears in the form of the holy name. The purpose is God-remembrance.”
“During a very good kirtan you can sometimes feel a downward flow of subtle energy. This is the nectar (amrita) that is falling. It is a very internal yogic experience. […] In a really good kirtan, everyone is stunned, amazed. Just jumping around with excitement will often get us agitated externally. But the name will not go very deep. There is a difference between agitated kirtan and kirtan that takes us beyond our body and mind. ‘Spiritual freedom’ means freedom from the senses, not of the senses.”
“The holy name is not a product to be sold and kirtan is not a performance or concert. Kirtan is worship, not entertainment. When kirtan becomes a career, then pleasing the crowd can become more important than meditation on the holy name. […] The art and practice of kirtan must be protected. Kirtan leaders have a great responsibility and must become serious spiritual practitioners.”