Rayananda and Yamuna have led devotional kirtan chanting for the past 8 years at yoga studios, ashrams, churches, and spiritual centers along Florida's east coast from Vero Beach to St. Augustine. They accompany the chants with harmonium, shruti, and percussion. Joining them is a wonderful group of musicians -- The Wandering Sadhus -- who play guitar, bass guitar, sitar, tanpura, and drums.
Kirtan, an ancient spiritual tradition of devotional call-and-response chants to the Divine, is an integral aspect of the path of Bhakti, the yoga of love.
Rayananda and Yamuna have been Bhakti Yoga practitioners for many years. They were introduced to kirtan through the holy bhajans of Amma, the Hugging Saint. Moved by the tenderness and nectar-sweet moods created by chanting the holy Names and realizing the power of mantras to purify and heal, they have embraced kirtan as their primary spiritual practice. Their kirtans are high-energy, heart-opening, bliss-soaked ecstatic happenings.
Rayananda and Yamuna have also been deeply influenced by the books and teachings of Srila Prabhupada and have been blessed by the association of devotees in New York City, Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, New Vrindavan (West Virginia), and Orlando.
The words chanted during kirtan are sacred Sanskrit mantras from India. The chants invoke the Name of a specific deity such as Krishna, but it is always the one God, the one Divine Presence, that is being worshipped, regardless of the Name in a particular chant.
The purpose of kirtan is to bring us closer to the Divine. Chanting opens and purifies our hearts and allows us to experience the constant flow of love that surrounds us. Through our devotional chanting, we come to experience that wellspring of love within and to realize our ultimate oneness with the sacred.
It is said that God dwells where His Name is sung. Let us sing!