Alanna Kaivalya Biography & Facts
Kirtan (Sanskrit: कीर्तन; IAST: Kīrtana) is a Sanskrit word that means "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story, specifically in Indian religions. It also refers to a genre of religious performance arts, connoting a musical form of narration or shared recitation, particularly of spiritual or religious ideas, native to the Indian subcontinent.
With roots in the Vedic anukirtana tradition, a kirtan is a call-and-response style song or chant, set to music, wherein multiple singers recite or describe a legend, or express loving devotion to a deity, or discuss spiritual ideas. It may include dancing or direct expression of bhavas (emotive states) by the singer. Many kirtan performances are structured to engage the audience where they either repeat the chant, or reply to the call of the singer.A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtankara (or kirtankar). A Kirtan performance includes an accompaniment of regionally popular musical instruments, such as the harmonium, the veena or ektara (forms of string instruments), the tabla (one-sided drums), the mrdanga or pakhawaj (two-sided drum), flute (forms of woodwind instruments), and karatalas or talas (cymbals). It is a major practice in Hinduism, Vaisnava devotionalism, Sikhism, the Sant traditions and some forms of Buddhism, as well as other religious groups. Kirtan is sometimes accompanied by story-telling and acting. Texts typically cover religious, mythological or social subjects.
Etymology and nomenclature
Kirtan (Sanskrit: कीर्तन) has Vedic roots and it is "telling, narrating, describing, enumerating, reporting". The term is found as Anukirtan (or Anukrti, Anukarana, literally a "re-telling") in the context of Yajna, wherein team recitations of dialogue-style and question-answer riddle hymns were part of the ritual or celebratory dramatic performance. The Sanskrit verses in chapter 13.2 of Shatapatha Brahmana (~800–700 BCE), for example, are written in the form of a riddle play between two actors.
The Vedic sacrifice (yajna) is presented as a kind of drama, with its actors, its dialogues, its portion to be set to music, its interludes, and its climaxes.
The root of kirtan is kirt (Sanskrit: कीर्त्). The root is found in the Samhitas, the Brahmanas and other Vedic literature, as well as the Vedanga and Sutras literature. Kirt, according to Monier-Williams contextually means, "to mention, make mention of, tell, name, call, recite, repeat, relate, declare, communicate, commemorate, celebrate, praise, glorify".Kirtan, sometimes referred to as sankirtana (literally, "collective performance"), is a call-and-response chanting or musical conversation, a genre of religious performance arts that developed during India's bhakti devotional traditions. However, it is a heterogeneous practice that varies regionally according to Christian Novetzke, and includes varying mixture of different musical instruments, dance, oration, theatre, audience participation and moral narration. In Maharashtra for example, states Novetzke, a kirtan is a call-and-response style performance, ranging from devotional dancing and singing by a lead singer and audience, to an "intricate scholarly treatise, a social commentary or a philosophical/linguistic exposition", that includes narration, allegory, humor, erudition and entertainment – all an aesthetic part of ranga (beauty, color) of the kirtan.Kirtan is locally known as Abhang, Samaj Gayan, Haveli Sangeet, Vishnupad, Harikatha. The Vaishnava temples and monasteries of Hinduism in Assam and northeastern, called Satra, have a large worship hall named kirtan ghar – a name derived from their being used for congregational singing and performance arts.In regional languages, kirtan is scripted as Bengali: কীর্তন; Nepali & Hindi: कीर्तन; Kannada: ಕೀರ್ತನೆ; Marathi: कीर्तन; Punjabi: ਕੀਰਤਨ; Tamil: கீர்த்தனை; Telugu: కీర్తన.
Musical recitation of hymns, mantras and the praise of deities has ancient roots in Hinduism, as evidenced by the Samaveda and other Vedic literature.Kirtans were popularized by the Bhakti movement of medieval era Hinduism, starting with the South Indian Alvars (Vaishnavism) and Nayanars (Shaivism) around the 6th century, which spread in central, northern, western and eastern India particularly after the 12th century, as a social and congregational response to Hindu-Muslim conflicts. The foundations of the kirtan traditions are also found in other Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gita where Krishna describes bhakti marga (path of loving devotion to god) as a means to moksha, alongside karma marga (path of action) and jnana marga (path of knowledge). References to kirtan as a musical recitation are also found in the Bhagavata Purana, an important Vaishnava text.Kirtan is often practiced as a kind of theatrical folk song with call-and-response chanting or antiphon. The ancient sage Narada revered as a musical genius, is called a kirtankar in the Padma Purana. The famous story of Prahlada in the Avatara Katha mentions kirtan as one of nine forms of worship, called the nava vidha bhakti along with shravanam (listening), smaranam (remembrance), pada sevanam (service), archanam (offering), vandanam (obeisance), dasyam (servitude), sakhyam (friendship) and atmanivedanam (surrender). The so-called Naradiya Kirtan divides kirtan into five parts: naman (prayers), purvaranga (spiritual lesson based on old epics), chanting, katha or akhyan (exegesis), and a final prayer for universal welfare.
Kirtan as a genre of religious music has been a major part of the Vaishnavism tradition, particularly starting with the Alvars of Sri Vaishnavism sub-tradition between the 7th to 10th century CE. After the 13th-century, two subgenres of kirtan emerged in Vaishnavism, namely the Nama-kirtana wherein the different names or aspects of god (a Vishnu avatar) are extolled, and the Lila- kirtana wherein the deity's life and legends are narrated.The Marathi Varkari saint Namdev (c. 1270–1350) used the kirtan form of singing to praise the glory of god Vithoba, an avatar of Vishnu. Marathi kirtan is typically performed by one or two main performers, called kirtankar, accompanied by harmonium and tabla. It involves singing, acting, dancing, and story-telling. The Naradiya Kirtan popular in Maharashtra is performed by a single Kirtankar, and contains the poetry of saints of Maharashtra such as Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Namdev and Tukaram.Learned poets from 17th and 18th century such as Shridhar, Mahipati, Moropant contributed to the development of this form of kirtan. Jugalbandi Kirtan is performed by two persons, allowing question-answer, dialogue and debate. Performance requires skill in music, dance, comedy, oratory, debate, memory, general knowledge and Sanskrit literature. Training takes place at the Kirtan Kul in Sangli, the .... Discover the Alanna Kaivalya popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Alanna Kaivalya books.