The Divine Art of Kirtan

Chanting as a Form of Yoga

With his arrival in America in 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda took India’s universal art of devotional chanting to the West, introducing thousands to the experience of chanting together in devotion to God.

We hope that you can use this page as a resource for incorporating devotional chanting into your meditation practice. As you chant, individually or in a group, remember that in Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda described chanting as “an effective form of yoga or spiritual discipline.”

With concentration and sincere devotion, rather than the mere increasing of emotion, you can apply yourself to this divine art form — one that Paramahansaji promises has wonderful results. “While praying or chanting, do not think of the words, but of their meaning, and intensely mentally offer the thought behind them to God,” he says in the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons, “and your prayer will drop straight like a plummet into the depths of the sea of God’s consciousness.”

A Door to Divine Perception

As Paramahansaji says above, it is crucial to connect deeply with the meaning of the words of a chant. As a way of doing this, we invite you to participate in a guided meditation led by YSS/SRF President Swami Chidananda Giri that focuses on visualizing and feeling the peace and bliss sung about in Paramahansa Yogananda’s chant “In the Temple of Silence” and the experience of darshan — the blessings that one receives from being in the presence of a true guru or saint, in this instance Paramahansaji himself.

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The guided meditation above begins with Swami Chidanandaji extoling the value of all of the Guru’s Words of Cosmic Chants, stating that each one can be “a door through which we absorb ourselves into that perception” which Paramahansa Yogananda himself experienced when composing that particular song to the Divine.

Swami Chidanandaji also speaks about how it is by the practice of the sadhana (spiritual discipline) given by the Guru, using the YSS/SRF techniques — the Hong-Sau Technique, the Aum Technique, and Kriya Yoga — and by employing devotion, that one enters into inner communion with the Infinite Beloved. Those techniques are taught in the YSS Lessons.

“In the Temple of Silence” by Paramahansa Yogananda

In the temple of silence, in the temple of peace,
I will meet Thee, I will touch Thee,
I will love Thee,
And coax Thee to my altar of peace.

In the temple of samadhi, in the temple of bliss,
I will meet Thee, I will touch Thee,
I will love Thee,
And coax Thee to my altar of bliss.

para-ornament

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