The Kashi Kirtan Wallas lead satsang (the ashram community—those on the path or just visiting guests) in kirtan. Kirtan is devotional and ecstatic chanting. It is an ancient practice of the bhakti yogi. The Wallahs are experienced musicians and bhakti yogis that lead the satsang through a joyful spiritual music experience, in which everyone participates. No musical, yoga or chanting experience is required. Anyone can sing Kirtan. The Wallahs simply lead the way.
The Wallahs use their experience to bring the community into union. Kirtan combines mantra and music in a powerful, heart-opening practice that eases the mind and lifts the spirits. Kirtan (and mantra) work with the power of Sanskrit (Naad Yoga, the yoga of sound), tapping into the spiritual energy that surrounds and permeates everything within and around us. The ancient bij, or seed, sounds inside the mantras unleash the passion of the heart. Practicing kirtan can help to still the mind and relax the body.
Human beings express and share their love of God through music. Lifting your voice to God or Goddess, singing the praises of the Divine and exalting the play of nature and love have sustained humanity through the ages. Every spiritual tradition sings of love for God, yoga included.
Kashi Kirtan Wallahs come from an interfaith path and the musical instruments reflect that diversity. The Wallahs use djembe and mridanga drums, bells, zills, cymbals, tambourines, guitar, violin, harmonium and their voices as they lead Kirtan. No instrument is off limits. An integral part of activities at Kashi Atlanta ashram, the Wallahs lead Kirtan at darshan (including the Wednesday night classes with Swami Jay Devi, the CYTT training and intensives); special classes, such as Maha Yoga and restorative yoga; and pujas. The Wallahs occasionally perform in a concert format at the ashram, or in the public at events such as Chantlanta.