Kirtan Research by Academics

A growing number of academics have conducted research on kirtan and mantra meditation – writing up their findings in academic journals or as masters or PhD theses.

I have a collection of such research which I have listed in a bibliography below. Unfortunately, I can’t post these texts online, as this will constitute copyright violation. There is nothing stopping me from sharing these articles amongst friends though!

If you are a researcher, journalist, or kirtan-yoga practitioner who would like PDF copies of these writings, send me an email at And if you come across credible academic writings that are not on this list, let me know.

Of course, an academic’s experience of kirtan-yoga is mostly that of a person looking in from the outside. Therefore it is not authoritative from the yoga perspective which has its authority in Vedic-yoga texts. Academic research findings do hold currency within much of modern society, however. Therefore, while they are not the basis of authority for practitioners within a kirtan-yoga community, they may nonetheless be of interest.


Bernardi, L., Sleight, P., Bandinelli, G., Cencetti, S., Fattorini, L., Wdowczyc-Szulc & Lagi, A. 2001, ‘Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: Comparative study’, BMJ, vol. 323, pp. 22-29.

Black, S. 2008, ‘Chant and Be Happy”: Music, Beauty, and Celebration in a Utah Hare Krishna Community’, Masters thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.

Bormann, J.E., Gifford, A.L., Shively, M., Smith, T.L., Redwine, L., Kelly, A., Becker, S., Gershwin, M., Bone, P. & Belding, W. 2006, ‘Effects of spiritual mantram repitition on HIV outcomes: A randomized controlled trial’, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 359-376.

Cooke, J. 2009, ‘Kirtan in Seattle: New hootenanny for spirit junkies’, PhD thesis, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Gaumond, D. 2007, ‘The Power of Mantra’, International Journal of Healing and Caring, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 1-9.

Jemmer, P. 2008, ‘A Mystical Tour through Magical Man-Tra-nce’, Fidelity: The Journal for the NCP. Winter, pp. 21-28.

Vaughn, S. 2009, ‘Kirtan as a spiritual practice in addiction recovery: A phenomenological study’, Masters thesis, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA.

Wolf, D. & Abell, N. 2003, ‘Examining the effects of meditation techniques on psychosocial functioning’, Research on Social Work Practice, vol. 13, no. 1, p. 27.

Wolf, D.B. 2000, ‘Effects of the hare krsna maha mantra on stress, depression, and the three gunas. ‘, PhD thesis, The Florida State University, Gainesville.