Kirtan is about community and relationships. Not only does it bring a community together to sing and chant divine names, but it fosters a community even deeper than that.
The Kirtan leader is cooperating with all of the musicians. They in turn are cooperating and sharing with everyone who is singing in response. That kirtan leader is then listening to the response and that cooperation builds and builds until you have the magic that is kirtan. That magic that comes from the spiritual realm and is unlocked by the incantation of the holy name.
Everyone comes together to sing from the heart, to let the heart cry out in the most powerful group petition, and what are we petitioning for? What is the goal? We want that most sought after relationship with the divine. We want access to that sacred space which is within all of us. That temple of the heart which is the home for our dear most friend. A friend who knows us better than we know ourselves. The friend who accepts us with all of our pitfalls and shortcomings and bears with us while we try to struggle through and fix them. The friend who loves us unconditionally.
Innately we want to do something for this friend who is always there for us, listening to our sorrows, sharing in our joy and being that one constant when all else fails. So we come together to sing, and cry; laugh, and meditate, and in doing so we go deeper and deeper with each kirtan we attend. One day maybe finding the jeweled path that leads to our sacred temple, another day maybe just getting to the door, another day lighting the lamps in a temple that has been left in the dark for so long. But with each and every kirtan we come together and encourage ourselves, and each other to get that much closer to seeing our dear most friend.