Kirtan—a Problem for Certain

Well, friends, it’s hard to keep up. Terms that I’ve never heard of (even though “All Things Bizarre” is my major!) continue to show up and promise us exotic spirituality. Like kirtan.

One source defines kirtan as “Indian devotional music . . . which involves chanting the names of God.” (This seems typically done in ancient Sanskrit, but sometimes in other languages.) New World Kirtan’s website says kirtan began in India as a spiritual practice. That would be Hindu, right? But indicative of today’s interspirituality, there’s a Buddha head at the top of the page.

You can read “Inside the Chant with Krishna Das” in the Sep 2016 issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. Notice wording about opening “channels to God” and about “chanting the names of God.”

The article eventually disassociates the practice from Almighty God—by calling him “it” and by saying: “We can call this higher sense anything we like.” Practitioners are excited about “taking kirtan music out of the temples and the yoga studios and into . . . universities, cathedrals, and other unexpected places.”

As with other interspiritual trends, it’s not surprising that we can find info about “Christian kirtan” online. The danger—beyond the practice itself—is in cavalier usages of these terms, which can then steer naïve people, unawares, onto a path headed away from their desired destination.


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