Kirtan (Introduction)

Kirtan (Bhakti sangeet) has its own importance in Pushtimargiya system of worship (seva). So many devotees – poets starting from Shri Mahaprabhuji’s era have written various kirtans on the Swaroop (person) Leela (sport) Guna (qualities) names of Shree Thakorji & of Dinata—Ashraya in various ragas for various occasions & utsavs. These kirtans are no imaginations of a poet as the normal poetries are. These are the spontaneous renderings of sentimental experiences by them of Shree Thakorji’s swaroop, leela, gunaa etc. in form of poetry.Kirtan worship is included in the main nine worships (Navdha bhakti) described in scriptures. Bhagwat also narrates in detail the comparative importance & greatness of kirtan bhakti as under:

  1. ‘Trayanam (Shravan-kirtan-smarnanaam) Dehpatparyantam – avruttaanaam Evaabhaysadhaktwam | ( 2-1-6) Meaning: Listening (shravan) expressing before others (kirtan) remembrance (smaran) if practiced till end of life will make the worshipper fearless.
  2. ‘Shrotruvaktrudoshairn Shravankirtane Sambhadyete | Apahatpapmatvat Tvayoho | (1-2-17) Meaning: Listening & expressing are sin-destroyers. Hence the defects (Doshas) in narration of kirtans have no relation with the listener and/or the speaker.
  3. ‘Kirtankartrunamapi Kirtiryatra Sarvanpunati Tatra Kim Vaktavyam Kirtanasya Sarvapavakatvam’ | (1-1-16)

Meaning: Just the fame of those who sing or speak in appreciation of God’s swaroop & leela is capable of purifying the listeners hence, how can there be any doubt about the capability of kirtan itself. By above quotations of Bhagwat etc. it is proved that kirtan of God’s own leela etc. makes any being pure. Hence any human being is eligible (adhikari) for it.

Kirtan (Haveli music) is more or less similar to any other Indian music except for one major difference that other music is mainly meant for public entertainment while kirtan is meant & sung for the joy of the deity in front of the deity or in absentia, it being bhakti. The devotee by singing kirtans in this manner gets his mind more & more absorbed in the swaroop & the sport of God. However, there are some other minor differences in the composition of raga, which we have underlined in our link of “Pushti Bhakti Sangeet (Raga)”

Kirtans can be divided mainly in two categories:

  1. Related to the super qualities of God.
  2. Describing the swaroop & the sport.

The first one can be sung at any time but the best period for that is the time when worship (seva) is not being performed or in absentia.
The second one can be sung in front of the deity at the time of worship according to the incident of the worship. They are sung in various proper ragas according to the season & according to the time & incident of the worship for e.g. at the time of awakening in the morning, bathing, offering shreengar & Bhog etc.

Kirtan system started right from the time of Shree Mahaprabhuji & it is popularly known as kirtans of ‘Ashtachhap (8) Kavis (poets)’. Out of these eight kavis, four were disciples of Shree Mahaprabhuji & the other four of Shree Gusaiji. Surdas, Kumbhandas, Parmananddas & Krishnadas were the disciples of Shree Mahaprabhuji while Nanddas, Chittswami, Chatarbhujdas & Govindswami were of Shree Gusaiji.

Kumbhandas was the first poet – bhakta to sing kirtan before Shreenathji during Shree Mahaprabhuji’s period. However, Shree Gusaiji has a lion share in systematizing & expanding the kirtan system. There are many other poets (kavis) who composed & sung kirtans namely Raskhanji, Nagridas, Mehadhimar etc. Shri Gusaiji has also composed many kirtans mainly to be sung in Vasant Vratcharya, Palana & also “Aryas” those are sung at the time of “Aarti” of Mangala, Rajbhog, Bhog & Shayan.

We heartily wish that the visitor of the site with this knowledge will be able to make his Seva worthy & more joyful.

The information given above is a general information given with the purpose of giving a general idea to an inquisitive visitor of the site, of the system followed in Pushti Bhakti Marg propagated by Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji. A practicing person or one willing to practice is required to get this specified by his Guru or a well versed vaishnav. The visitors are requested to communicate any mistake/discrepancy if found. We will be obliged if any suggestions with regards to the link & its contents to improve the site are sent.