Mantras are sounds that were revealed to people in the various states of samadhi, sounds that have originated from the higher states of consciousness. Everything has a vibration and a sound. Even love has a sound, if you can hear it. It has a wavelength, if you can feel.
The first effect of mantra is that it releases tension: physical, mental, and emotional. Tension is preventing us from reaching a higher state of awareness. If we use a suitable sound that has power - and mantras are just such sounds - we have a powerful tool to influence the brain and the whole body, right down to the cellular structure. Mantra is also subtle enough to influence the energy, mental and psychic bodies, which cannot be accessed by more gross tools and techniques.
Kirtan is a form of yogic song consisting of mantras. The words of the kirtan are mantras. They usually do not have any specific intellectual meaning; they just contain special vibrations and combinations of vibrations that beneficially affect our being. In kirtan, the person who is leading the kirtan sings first and then the others repeat together. Kirtan plays an important role in spiritual life. It is not important if one has a good voice or not. The key is to really let go and sing with an open heart, without noticing how the person next to you is singing. Then it can be an elevating and liberating experience and one feels wonderful afterwards.
The benefits of kirtan:
• Relaxes us and boosts our energy
• Creates a sense of joy and mental peace
• Releases fears, neuroses, depression, repressed emotions and stress
• Enhances blood circulation
• “Opens the heart" and purifies the environment.