This group usually meets on a Sunday late afternoon or evening for 1.5-2hours. It features mainly chanting with music on the Hindu tradition which may seem a bit much for such a long time but time actually goes very quickly.
What is Kirtan?
Kirtan is a devotional practice central to Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of devotion) in the Hindu and Sikh religions. It was popularized in Hinduism by Chaitanha Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) and in Sikh tradition by its founder Guru Nanak (1469-1539).
In essence, kirtan consists of singing names of God. This beautiful group practice is usually led by a kirtan wallah. The wallah sings out a name, often accompanying himself on a simple instrument while playing the melody of the mantra being chanted. The wallah then repeats the melody on the instrument without chanting, and the others present sing the holy words back.
The wallah is free to creatively vary the melody and to speed up or slow down. Everyone enters into a kind of joyful contemplative ecstasy together, drawing closer and closer to God in all Her beauty.
God might be experienced in the form of Krishna, or Lakshmi, or Shiva, or Ekomkar, or Satnam, or all of the above, in any given session. The session might last for hours. It might last all night.