Lalita Marmika dance during kiirtana is a purely spiritual dance and Kaoshikii is a psycho-spiritual dance. It starts in the psychic level and culminates in the spiritual level. And Tandava is a physico- psycho-spiritual dance.
– Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
This dance is easy to perform. Arms are to be held out above the chest of the body, horizontally, with palms upward. The elbows should not go below the chest level. The step is 1-2-3, with one big toe behind the other heel bend the supporting knee, then 1-2-3 on the other side, and with the other big toe behind the other heel and bend the supporting knee. Close the eyes as often as possible and feel an all-encompassing oneness.
The siddha mantra which is used in the kiirtans of Ananda Marga is BABA NAM KEVALAM, which can be translated as ‘only the name of the Lord’. ‘Baba’ means ‘my Beloved’, ‘Nam’ means ‘name’ or ‘vibration’ and ‘Kevalam’ means ‘only’. So the literal meaning of the mantra is ‘my beloved is all there is’ or, more simply, ‘Infinite Love is all there is’.
This ideation in the kiirtan can be enhanced so that when the first syllable ‘Ba’ is uttered, the feeling should be that I am crossing the threshold and entering the new world; and when the last syllable ‘lam’ is uttered, the feeling should be that I have accomplished my duty. If kiirtan is done with these feelings, within 2-3 minutes the effect of kiirtan will have its play (Shrii Shrii Anandamurti).
Beats: Ba-1, Ba-2, Nam-3, 4, Ke-1, Va-2, Lam-3, 4.
There are different ways of doing kiirtan.
Nama Kiirtan is to chant the name of the Lord over and over again. The word ‘nama’ means ‘name’. In Nama Kiirtan, the whole siddha mantra should be uttered fully in each phase of the tune to which it is sung – Baba Nam Kevalam – and not just a part of it. This is because a siddha mantra must necessarily have eight syllables.
There are different forms of Nama Kiirtan:
- Kiirtan in rows: In this normal form of Nama Kiirtan there is usually a direct focal point in front, usually a table (puja table) with a pratiik (spiritual symbol) and a photo of the Guru, which everyone faces as they sing kiirtan, while doing the Laliita Marmika dance.
- Akhanda Kiirtan – Akhanda means ‘endless’. This is the form of Nama Kiirtan that is danced around a puja (altar) table in an anti-clockwise direction. The focal point is the centre of the room. This kiirtan should be done in a circle for at least three hours while dancing Laliita Marmika. After the 3 hours, there is no limit of time, it can last for some hours, or extended to several days. However, the length of the chosen time should be multiples of 3 hours, i.e. 6, 9, 12, 24 hours, etc. Often the ‘leaders’ of the kiirtan will be in a corner facing the puja table, or they may be part of the circumambulating singers and dancers. This is perhaps the most potent of all the kiirtans, as the rotational effect gives the feeling of the whole Universe dancing around a Cosmic Nucleus.
- Avartha Kiirtan – Avartha means ‘turning’. This form of Nama Kiirtan is danced facing in all the 6 directions, in turn, changing the tune/melody of the kiirtan for each direction. This kiirtan is recommended to be done acapella style (without instruments). It is a sweet, gentle kiirtan, and each direction has a different ideation. As far as possible, the hands should always be held above shoulder height, preferably stretched above the head, with the arms being at least with 90 degrees angles – throughout the kiirtan. One should dance with the eyes completely closed, concentrating on either the Ajina Cakra (pituitary gland) or Sahasrara Cakra (pineal gland). When dancing collectively all should use the same Cakra. While dancing, there are special ideations for each of the 6 directions:
|Direction||Ideation for each direction of Avartha Kiirtan|
|1st Front||I am the embodiment of sincerity.|
|2nd Right||I have an innate/inner love for the Supreme.|
|3rd Back||I purify my mind by the flame/fire of devotion (I am the vital force or fire of Brahma: the Supreme Entity).|
|4th Left||I am over coming all internal and external obstacles (I have come to fulfill a great mission).|
|5th Front-down||Oh Parama Puruśa (Supreme Consciousness), take me on your lap (I want to sit on your lap – feel like a child crying for its mother).|
|6th Front-up||I surrender my everything completely to You (I exist for the welfare of all).|
- Nagar Kiirtan – Nagar means ‘town’. This form of Nama Kiirtan is a collective kiirtan danced along the streets of a city or a town. It is done in public places with the intention of introducing the concept of kiirtan to the public or to celebrate any special occasion.
Other types of kiirtan are:
- Katha Kiirtan – Kiirtan involving stories interspersed with kiirtan singing or songs of the Lord, such as the Prabhat Samgiita collection of songs. The alternating stories arouse inspiration and intense devotion. The vibration is heightened as people tell spiritual stories, anecdotes or experiences which are split up by having kiirtan or songs in between. It is normal for participants to be seated in a circle and not dancing. Usually an evening activity.
- Pada Kiirtan – Kiirtan which is like poetry, involving singing about the Lord, telling about the qualities of the Lord.
- Pala Kiirtan – Many persons take different roles in the kiirtan performance, which involve longer programs with different dialogues.
Meditation is a must for psycho-spiritual advancement, but it is most difficult to control the mind especially with the increasing complexities of modern society. Nama Kiirtan with the Laliita Marmika dance has many benefits. Namely, it purifies the mind and prepares it for meditation, accelerating our movement towards the Supreme. Thanks to achieving mental clarity, this allows a practitioner to easily find solutions for their problems and get relief for physical and mental imbalances. Since it engages both the motor organs (i.e. legs, arms, voice) and sensory organs (i.e. ears, and subtly our eyes and skin to some extent) it is a tremendous help in making our mind one pointed, and clear.
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, the Guru of Ananda Marga, has given the example of a person who sits for 40 minutes of meditation, but whose mind continually jumps from one thing to another. But if that person had done 30 minutes of kiirtan, then 10 minutes of meditation, then the meditation will be of far more worth.