Kirtans are songs to the glories of a god. They are usually sung in groups of people, accompanied by an accordionlike instrument called the harmo-nium. Percussive instruments are sometimes used as well. Kirtan singing may be the most common form of collective devotional worship in India. Both men and women participate. Singing alterna-tively slows down and speeds up until the singers are in a trance, ideally experiencing the presence of, or even union, with the divinity. Both kirtans and BHAJANS are songs of worship sung in devotion.
   Further reading: Gobind Singh Mansukhani, Indian Classical Music and Sikh Kirtan (San Bernardino, Calif.: Borgo Press, 1985); Hansadutta Swami, Kirtan: Ancient Medicine for Modern Man (Hopland, Calif.: Hansa Books, 1984).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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