Satish More leads Kirtan session
May 8, 2010
Don P. Jason III
Ohio University students are finding a new way to alleviate stress by tapping into Kirtan, one of the world’s oldest and most sacred musical traditions.
Kirtan, a call-and-response chanting first performed in India, is practiced at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in Ellis Hall 111. It involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as drums and guitars.
Historically, Kirtan is derived from Hinduism and many of the mantras come from the Bhagavad Gita, which translates to mean "Song of God," a sacred Hindu text.
"People in every city and country and from every background practice this form of meditation. Kirtan is a universal form of meditation," said Kirtan leader Satish More, a graduate student in film.
According to More, Kirtan is different from other forms of stress relieving techniques and meditation, which demand quiet, because it actually embraces sound. Participants sit in a circle and repeat simple mantras over and over again. This controlled speech focuses the mind's thoughts.
"Kirtan sets you free from your attachment to problems. It detangles you from your stress and helps you find peace within yourself," More said.
More, originally from Bombay India, has practiced Kirtan for 13 years and works with an OHIO student organization, Conscious Ohio, to make it accessible to the local community. After the singing, there is a non-denominational discussion of philosophy that aids in spiritual understanding and growth.
The Kirtan group also gathers on Saturdays at 8 a.m. in the Emeriti Park gazebo. During these sessions, the group participates in an intense meditation, which involves more chanting and less singing.
The mantras or songs of Kirtan can last for 15-20 minutes each with a few moments of silence in between songs to allow participants to reflect on their experience.
"No one judges you, whether you can sing or not," said Megan Autrey, a freshman anthropology major. "Every time I leave Kirtan I am completely at peace."