musically recited story in Indian traditions

Kirtana (Sanskrit: कीर्तन; IAST: Kīrtana), also rendered as Kirtan, is a Sanskrit word that means "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story, specifically in Indian religions. It also refers to a genre of religious performance arts, connoting a musical form of narration or shared recitation, particularly of spiritual or religious ideas, native to the Indian subcontinent.

Quotes edit

The History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume 6 edit

The History and Culture of the Indian People, vol 6, Delhi Sultanate, ed RC Majumdar, pages 633-635
  • The two great biographies of the great Vaishnava saint Chaitanya, namely, the Chaitanya-charitamrita and the Chaitanya-bhaga-vata.... Both the books refer to a famous episode in the life of Lord Chaitanya. He had introduced the system of public worship in the form of kirtan (a sort of congregational song loudly sung together by a large number of men in public streets to the accompaniment of special musical instruments). This enraged the Muslim qazi, and one day when Chaitanya’s devotees were singing the name of God in the streets of Nadiya (Navadvipa in Bengal), he came out, struck blows upon everybody on whom he could lay hands, broke the musical instruments, and threatened with dire punishment all the Hindus who would dare join a kirtan party in this way in his city of Nadiya. To prevent the recurrence of public kirtan, the qazi patrolled the streets of Nadiya with a party. The people of Nadiya got afraid, but Chaitanya decided to defy the qazi’s orders, and brought out a large kirtan party which was joined by thousands. The qazi was at first wild with anger and held out the threat that he would destroy the caste of all the Hindus of Nadiya; but terror seized him when his eyes fell upon the vast concourse of people in a menacing attitude. He fled, and his house was wrecked by the angry crowd. The Chaitanya-bhagavata does not describe the sequel. But the other work, Chaitanya-charitémrita, describes how Chaitanya sent for the qazi who was now in a more chastened mood, and the two had a cordial talk.
  • Throughout the Chaitanya-bhagavata there are casual references to Hindus being constantly oppressed by the fear that the public performance of kirtan, and even singing religious songs loudly in one’s own house, would provoke the Sultan and bring untold miseries upon the people of Nadiya. A section of them was therefore angry with the Vaishnavas, and once a rumour was spread that the Sultan had sent two boats full of soldiers to Nadiya to arrest those who sang kirtan. Many people expressed their amazement that Chaitanya and his followers were engaged in loudly singing kirtan at Rama-keli near the capital city, Gauda, without any fear of the terrible Muslim king living so near.

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