Bhakti is a way of expressing our devotion and love for Bhagvãn. There are nine types of bhakti are:
- Shravanam – listening to kathãs or kirtans related to Bhagvãn.
- Kirtanam – singing or talking about Bhagvãn.
- Smaranam – remembering Bhagvãn.
- Pãd-sevanam – massaging Bhagvãn's holy feet.
- Archanam – performing Bhagvãn’s pujã
- Vandanam – bowing before Bhagvãn.
- Dãsyam – behaving as the servant of Bhagvãn.
- Sakhyam – behaving as the friend of Bhagvãn.
- Atma-nivedanam – unconditionally offering everything to Bhagvãn.
A kirtan is a song that praises the greatness of Bhagvãn and describes His leelãs and charitras. Kirtans are usually sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments.
Some kirtans describe the murti of Bhagvãn; some kirtans tell a story; and some kirtans give us guidance on how to attain moksh. They shall always be sung with the mind and heart focused of Bhagvãn’s murti.
Kirtan bhakti is the easiest form of bhakti to perform. Many years ago, rushi-muni’s divided time into four eras: Satya-Yug, Tretã-Yug, Dvãpar-Yug, and Kali-Yug.
In Satya-Yug, the minds and hearts of people were so pure and innocent, that moksh could be attained by simply performing dhyãn up Bhagvãn. Then, when Tretã-Yug arrived, due to a slight decrease in the purity of the hearts of people, moksh could no longer be attained by performing dhyãn. People now had to perform physical actions, such as mãlã and pujã. In Dvãpar-Yug, the pureness reduced furthermore. There was now a need for mandirs and murtis, so that people could find Bhagvãn.
Today in Kali-Yug, performing mãlã and pujã, or going to mandir and performing darshan of murtis is not enough to take us to Akshardhãm. We need to now sing kirtans and dhun to focus our minds and hearts on Swãminãrãyan Bhagvãn.
“In Kali-Yug, singing kirtans and dhun will give us the same punya as yagna, taap, and vrat”
“All my satsangis should go to mandir every evening, and loudly sing dhun and kirtans about the greatness of Bhagvãn”
Swãminãrayan Bhagvãn (Shikshapatri – Shlok 63)
“If we play instruments and sing kirtans, but we forget Bhagvãn, it is like not singing at all. There are many people in the world who sing, and play instruments, but they forget Bhagvãn. They do not have peace of mind. This is why we should sing Bhagvãn’s kirtans, sing dhun, and play instruments while keeping Bhagvãn in our mind.”
Swãminãrayan Bhagvãn (Vachanamrut - Gadhadã Pratham 22)