Here is a selection of kirtan chanting quotes from various sources… If you have other favourite quotes that you would like to recommend adding to the list, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it as a comment below.
From Spiritual Teachers
One can realize God through kirtan alone.
— Swami Sivananda
How can you describe the relish of honey, the emotion of love, or the event of giving birth? In some mysterious way, kirtan can be compared with all of that – but then it is also completely different.
Words can show us the direction in which to look for the kirtan-experience, but only when you sit down, move towards your inner space, and then sing out, will you start to know what kirtan really is. Because at that time your soul will rise up and start to dance…
— Sacinandana Swami
Kirtan is an important aspect of yoga. Just as rasgula [an Indian sweet] is incomplete without sugar, so yoga is also incomplete without kirtan. Kirtan is not religious chanting, nor is it just singing one word many times. It is a part of nada yoga, the yoga of sound, in which you produce sound waves and follow them with your awareness. By singing kirtan you are able to withdraw yourself from the body and your external environment. You are travelling by the jet of emotions, therefore, you do not confront the mind at all. In raja yoga you have to fight the mind, but in kirtan you bypass the mind.
— Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Kirtan will be the yoga of the 21st century.
— Swami Satyananda Saraswati
One can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding–surpassing the stages of senses, mind, and intelligence–one is situated on the transcendental plane. This chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness– namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation or any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification, and dance in ecstasy.
— Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chanting is a significant and mysterious practice. It is the highest nectar, a tonic that fully nourishes our inner being. Chanting opens the heart and makes love flow within us. It releases such intoxicating inner bliss and enthusiastic splendor, that simply through the nectar it generates, we can enter the abode of the Self.
— Swami Muktananda
From Kirtan Singers
Kirtan is like a magnet, inviting and begging grace to enter our hearts and our lives. It is a most precious thing, something to be cherished and practiced with total gratitude, and those who learn how to enter into it will feel God’s grace and presence as the closest of the close, the dearest of the dear — our true beloved.
— Jai Uttal
Chanting isn’t about music at all. It’s about engaging in a practice designed to bring you more fully into yourself. What’s being chanted is what’s called in India the ‘divine names.’ We’re calling out to our own true selves, our own inner nature . . . calling out to that place inside of us that is full and complete, the divine in us: who we are underneath all our masks, all our roles. Most people are so outer-directed that they never experience that place.
— Krishna Das
If you open up your heart
You know what I mean
You’ve been polluted so long
But heres a way for you to get clean
By chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
— George Harrison
(“Awaiting on you all”, from the album “All things must pass”)
From Vedic-Yoga Texts
My dear Narada, actually I do not reside in My abode, Vaikuntha, nor do I reside in the heart of the yogis, but I reside in that place where My pure devotees chant My holy name and discuss My form, pastimes and qualities.
— Padma Purana
O Arjuna, listen attentively! When the living entity chants My name, whether out of devotion or indifference, then his name will remain forever in My heart. I will never forget such a soul.
— Adi Purana
If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear.
— Garuda Purana
Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit.
— Brhad-vishnu Purana
Chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of the Lord. In this age of quarrel there is no other way, no other way, no other way to attain spiritual enlightenment.
— Brihan-Naradiya Purana
By once chanting the holy name of the Lord, which consists of the two syllables ha-ri, one guarantees his path to liberation.
— Skanda Purana
Thus he is the actual seer who worships, in the form of transcendental sound representation, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, who has no material form.
— Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.38
Bhakti-yoga, devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society.
— Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.22
O King, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge.
— Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.11
Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names.
— Bhagavad-gita 10.25
O Hrishikesha, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You.
— Bhagavad-gita 11.36
The Divine is indicated by the syllable om. Chanting om should be conducted with understanding of its meaning. Such chanting awakens spiritual insight and destroys obstacles such as disease, procrastination, laziness, doubt, pain, nervousness, and lamentation.
—Yoga Sutras: 1.27-31
From Other Spiritual Traditions
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
— Chronicles 16.10
From the rising of the sun unto its setting, the Lord’s name is to be praised.
Praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
— Psalms 150:4-5
The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe.
— Proverbs 18:10
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
— Mathew 6:9
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
— Acts 2:21
Call upon Allah or call upon Rahman (All-Merciful); by whatever name you call upon Him, (it is well): for to him belong the most beautiful names.
— Quran 17:110
Glorify the name of your Lord, the most high.
— Quran 87.2
All who sincerely call upon My name will come to Me after death, and I will take them to Paradise.
— Vows of Amida Buddha 18