Making a musical stairway to heaven
Even before Led Zeppelin sang the ‘Stairway to heaven’, our own desi music group had done that – the Kirtan musicians, better known as the ‘Kirtankaras.’
The Kirtankaras sing for the Gods, taking the listeners along on a journey of higher ascension. Bhajans are chanted, mantras evoking peace, hymns of utmost devotion, praise and glory – all adding to the spiritual transcendence.
There are several kinds of Kirtan in Bengal. PaalaaKirtan, ShyamaSangit, Parvati and Nama Kirtan are the important ones. Kirtans are generally sung with accompaniments like Khol, Jhal, Vina, Pakhvaj, Mridanga and other musical instruments.
Recitation of the names of Gods and Goddesses and hymns called Nama Kirtan – generally sung in the evening, after Puja. The influence and utility of this are highly appreciated among the Vaishnavites of Bengal and among all the religious cults of India.
Mass singing in such style when the singer and the audience both calling the Lord with tears in their eyesis characteristic of Bengali Kirtan.
The reach of the Kirtans in the subcontinent has grown mostly due to the efforts of one man -Suman Bhattacharya. This Kirtankara diligently works towards spreading the Bangla Kirtan, both in India and Bangladesh, through the annual Kirtan Mela held before Durga Navaratri. During those days, the streets resonate with Kirtan music thanks to him.
The holiest of men and women swear by the Kirtan’s power to open your hearts and minds to the divine grace. And anyone who listens to Kirtan music with devotion will surely experience spiritual bliss.