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Spiritual Chanting and Dancing (Kirtan)

<1>In most religions, especially the mystical side of them, we find spiritual music, chanting and dancing. <2>Even in the Old Testament in the Bible, the verse below shows that this tradition existed:

...that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:

(Samuel 10:5)

<3>Also the dance of the Dervishes is well-known for how they go into a trance and sometimes prophesy. Also in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions we can find spiritual chanting and dancing. <4>In Sanskrit this is called "kirtan."

<5>Even in the beginning of Christianity this tradition was practiced. But as it became intellectualized, this aspect was less emphasized and eventually forgotten.

<6>So we can see that this practice has been in all great religions of the world. The reason for this is because there are many spiritual benefits in kirtan.

<7>With chanting, special words (mantras), playing instruments, and dancing, all three aspects of human life, physical, mental and spiritual, will be engaged in a rhythmic movement. <8>So they all become in tune and a balance between them is achieved.

<9>This rhythmic movement also increases the coordinative ability of the person, because a greater coordination between the mind and body will be achieved when a person is practicing the kirtan. He should chant, dance and play the instrument at the same time, so he has to improve his coordination.

<10>Also spiritual chanting and dancing brings the mind into the present and now. <11>That is the secret of controlling the mind. The mind which wanders into the past or worries about the future never can realize the self and joy of living: "Be still and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10). <12>So kirtan helps the mind become still and know the Lord.

<13>As we know, the whole manifested universe is nothing but vibration. When spiritual music is used with some mantras and ideation toward God and higher thoughts, this stimulates the higher chakras and brings the higher thoughts and energy to the person.

<14>For the vibrational reason, music stimulates the glands and spiritual music helps in creating a balance between the glands, so therefore brings a healthier body and emotional response.

<15>Also because it takes the consciousness to higher levels, it loosens the dry intellect. <16>Although it is hard for intellectuals to give in, indeed it is very good for them, because they can forget themselves to be rational and lose themselves into the higher plane which is devotional.

<17>Indeed kirtan is the base to awaken devotional feelings in man. That is why those who practice this exercise receive a blissful feeling from it. <18>They rise from being on a rational plane to a devotional one where joy and happiness cannot be realized by the state of man. It is indescribable.

<19>Kirtan also is an exercise and loosens up the muscles and joints in the body. Therefore the body becomes prepared to sit in meditation poses much easier. <20>After kirtan, a person is physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually more prepared to sit for meditation.

<21>Furthermore, when kirtan is done by a group, it brings a unified vibration to all involved. So even though each person might have come from different backgrounds with different vibrations, by doing kirtan together they come into the same rhythm of vibration, feeling one and becoming one.

<22>So there is much merit in kirtan, but many people shy away from it because the ego dies fast and many do not want their egos to die.

<23>As it can be seen in the verse which was quoted above from the Bible, only a few high spiritual people ("prophets") were following this practice. <24>Also few people in those religions who practice chanting and dancing are fully dedicated to kirtan.

<25>Therefore we can conclude that although this kind of practice is recommended, not very many people truly appreciate it. <26>That is because to let the ego go and create high devotion for God is very frightening for some, and also sometimes is not necessary in this degree. <27>We need people in other levels of consciousness also. The least one can do is to be tolerant.

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