Most kirtan authorities share that the benefits of kirtan cannot be explained in words, it has to be experienced in order to be understood. How do you explain the taste of a mango to someone who has never tasted these fruits? You can intellectualise over the taste by saying its something like a cross between a peach, pineapple, and an orange, but until a person tastes a mango, they can never really know it’s flavour. The same is with the experience of kirtan – you have to experience it to know what it is. Sacinandana Swami put it eloquently when he wrote: “Words can show us the direction in which to look for the kirtan-experience, but only when you sit down, move towards your inner space, and then sing out, will you start to know what kirtan really is. Because at that time your soul will rise up and start to dance…”Another thing is that different people will experience kirtan differently. Some people might immediately love it, like meeting a long lost friend or returning home after a long time away. Others might take a little while to get used to an unfamiliar experience. Additionally, kirtan can often sound raw and unpolished. Hence, some might find the mango a little green – immature and therefore unpalatable. But in India, people love green mangos (eaten with salt and chilli powder pickled) as much as they love ripe mangos. They can also discern between different varieties of mangos – some are sweeter and others have a slightly bitter taste, others stringy, and others are more or less firm. Similarly, a kirtan connoisseur can discern and appreciate different varieties and flavours of kirtan.
When the lead chanter and the group participants are sincere and sing from the heart with devotion – there is nothing in the world that has the power to move and uplift like kirtan. When we look back on oury life, our happiest, most blissful moments, were all in kirtan.