⬤ Since every word in the eternal Nityalila in Vraja is a song, Kirtan is the most important of all Bhakti practices. It is the means and the goal both. Kirtan can be done of the following:
⬤ Hare Krishna mahamantra
⬤ Nitainam and Nitailila
⬤ Gauranam and Gauralila
⬤ Radha Krishna Nam and Lila
⬤ Out of these, I highly recommend to do sufficient Nitailila Kirtan first daily, in order to become qualified to do the other three Kirtans offenselessly with great relish.
⬤ You have to remember the Kirtan tips below to do Kirtan in the most effective manner possible. If you don’t care about them, then your Kirtan may not be that powerful, purifying, and blissful:
⬤ Harmonium is a must as it fuses with our voice to exponentially increase the blissful remembrance and revelations during Kirtan. We know that Kirtan does not compulsorily depend on a Harmonium, but it is our humble recommendation to you to not do Kirtan without it, as it facilitates and reveals the most intense and deepest remembrances in Kirtan.
⬤ In earlier times, Kirtan was done by the topmost realized Kirtaniyas, so Harmonium and speakers were not required, as the pure sound of their divine voices were enough. But nowadays, we may not have that highest quality of sound vibrations ourselves, so the Harmonium is a must in our humble opinion, as it greatly enhances our remembrance of what we are singing or listening. Rest is your choice, to accept our recommendation or not.
⬤ Those who don’t have the music sense to directly start playing any Kirtan tune on the Harmonium simply by listening to it, can simply learn and memorize the sequence of the Harmonium keys to press for a particular tune or tunes and then sing along with that.
⬤ Only the Harmoniums with rich, sweet, deep, vibrating, and loud tones; not with high-treble sharp superficial casio-like tones; should be used in Kirtan. Sometimes costly premium Harmoniums may have suppressed sounds too. Whereas, normal $200 small portable harmoniums may have a more resonating and louder sound. It all depends on the reeds, wood, and other materials used in them and also their craftsmanship. So ideally, try to listen to its sound yourself before buying it.
⬤ Kirtan of prayers and pastime-songs is especially very effective in triggering our remembrance, in addition to the Kirtan of only the Holy Names. I personally feel even more bhava in this Lila Kirtan than Nam Kirtan.
⬤ One can listen to recordings of Kirtans, sung especially by realized Kirtaniyas, sing along with them, play the harmonium too if possible, or simply listen to them without singing or playing.
⬤ If possible, most importantly, one should always try to sing Kirtan into a mic connected to a REVERB (ECHO) speaker, because the listening volume matters a lot in drowning us deep into the Kirtan sound bliss. Why reverb? Reverb has that unique characteristic to magnify the original blissful remembrance of the Kirtaniya into an all-pervading and all-enveloping sound.
⬤ Singing or listening to Kirtan on high-quality speakers or earphones, especially with reverb and bass, tremendously enhances our remembrance.
⬤ Mridanga is the best, if it is possible to play it, as it makes our soul dance in Kirtan with the topmost bliss. But it will be the obvious choice to still do Kirtan, even if playing a Mridanga is not possible, rather than not to do the Kirtan at all. Mridanga becomes more necessary when Kirtan is done in bigger groups to capture the minds of the listeners with its sweet and dancing beats and tempo. When we sing Kirtan alone, we can play the Harmonium (more recommended) or Mridanga.
⬤ The sounds of the karatals, bells, and other instruments should not be so loud that they drown the primary sound of our voice in a way that we can’t focus on it. Too many instruments should not be used also as they may surpress the sound of our voice. Otherwise, it is not pure Kirtan at all.
⬤ Kirtan should not be sung with focus only on the tune just to make it externally “attractive” to impress others or to amass fame, followers, money, life-partners, etc. 99% focus should be on what we are remembering during Kirtan and only 1% on the tune. Otherwise, again, it is not pure Kirtan at all.
⬤ Dancing in Kirtan is wonderful but it is optional, as the soul can dance internally in Kirtan also. Dancing should not be just for show off, otherwise it will take our remembrance away from the sound of the Kirtan. And again, that is not pure Kirtan.
⬤ One’s eyes can be closed or open in Kirtan.
⬤ One can do Kirtan alone, in a small group, or in a congregation, both indoors and outdoors.
⬤ One can sit, stand, or be in any posture while playing the Harmonium or while singing or listening to Kirtan.
⬤ Kirtan can be done by people of all ages, genders, and races in all bodily conditions; with or without bathing; at any time during the day or night; etc. Kirtan is in fact the very bathing of our soul (sarvatma snapam).
⬤ One does not need to compulsorily follow any rigid daily quantity, rule, vow, or beliefs to do Kirtan. So basically no one is restricted to do Kirtan.