“Though one can’t appreciate kirtan (let alone hatha yoga or Buddhism) simply by

reading about it—and it certainly isn’t something you can do on Facebook—a

little scholarly perspective can add to it anyway. Steven Rosen has written an

absolutely fascinating book called The Yoga of Kirtan, http://www.yogaofkirtan.com.

He interviews people like Jai Uttal, Dave Stringer, Krishna Das and others, and

lays out a historical and philosophical foundation to give you a deeper understanding of what’s happening over and above the simple joy and bliss we get  from chanting. I’m only halfway through at this moment but it’s obvious he’s the best guy to do the interviews, because he knows what he’s talking about; an intellectual who’s not showing off how intellectual he is. The book includes a CD sample of many of the artists. Get ahold of the book. You will not regret it.”

Frank Barnett, From the Global Facebook Group Kirtan is Yoga Too



“In The Yoga of Kirtan, Steven Rosen takes us behind the scenes of the popular kirtan movement to explore the personal histories and perspectives of 21 chant-leaders. Many of his interviewees are among the most famous contemporary proponents of devotional chanting, and some represent chanting traditions beyond Hinduism (i.e, Sikhism, Judaism). We learn how expressing love for the Supreme with one’s own voice deeply enriches the chanter’s life—and, in the case of these gifted folks, the lives of everyone else within ear-shot, too! All report being so profoundly benefited by their participation in chanting that they simply had to share it with others. Their accounts testify to devotional chanting’s unequivocally positive impact despite philosophical differences across practitioners.

     The author’s long experience of bhakti yoga within the community of Krishna devotees provides him unprecedented insight and access into that chanting-rich world, while explaining his editorial emphasis and his choices of some interviewees less well known in the wider circle of kirtan. Each interview contributes to an impression of the surprisingly diverse influences shaping the contemporary chanting scene (a fact vividly underscored in the collection of beautiful mantras included on the companion CD). Most helpful is his accent on the historical and spiritual significance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the 16th century Begali popularizer of devotional chanting, both within the interviews and in an appendix. In sum, this book reports the reflections of travelers who reached the farther shore of ecstasy through chanting the Names and praises of the Divine; we are better equipped in our own journey for having read it.

Dr. Kurt “Kailash” Bruder (author of Following Sound into Silence: Chanting Your Way Beyond Ego into Bliss)



“This is definitely the go-to book for anyone wanting to acclimate themselves to the increasingly popular art of call-and-response chant. The twenty-one interviews are charming and engaging. More importantly, you will gain a keen appreciation for the multifarious paths of Kirtan practitioners — of how they came to their practice, and how varied are their views on what they see themselves as doing when they facilitate chant. Some are full-on musicians; some are scholars; most are eternal seekers. All meet in the chanting of divine names to get closer to God … in any language. This truth, and much more, comes across clearly thanks to Rosen’s beautiful and generous approach to his interviews. I myself particularly loved the Introduction and Appendices Rosen provides. This book is at the top of my list of gifts to give to friends and family who don’t quite ‘get’ what I’m doing!”

The Kirtan Rabbi. Rabbi Andrew Hahn, Ph.D. leads kirtan in vibrational Hebrew. His new CD, Kirtan Rabbi: Live! is available through his website:  www.KirtanRabbi.com



“It seems these days so much of the new music we hear is dark and aggressive. Kirtan—celebratory chant music from India—is a welcome change of pace, filling the atmosphere with blessings rather than curses.

     Steven Rosen has produced a superb, highly readable book documenting the kirtan movement in America. He explains where this amazing spirit-based music comes from, and interviews 21 kirtan performers leading the kirtan revolution in the West. We learn how these talented singers and musicians (most of them Western-born) discovered kirtan, and how it has transformed their lives.

     Delightfully, Rosen includes a CD with songs by 11 of the artists he's introduced. If you've never heard kirtan before, this music will galvanize your spiritual life. If you're already familiar with the genre, you'll enjoy finding so many great artists represented on one bliss-igniting CD.

     Rosen is a Vaishnava scholar steeped in Krishna devotion, which embraces kirtan as one of its foremost spiritual practices. This is one form of spiritual work that’s no work at all; the music lifts you effortlessly to a joyous state of divine awareness. Rosen’s book and CD will undoubtedly lead many aspirants to that bliss-filled experience.”

Linda Johnsen, co-author, Kirtan! Chanting as a Spiritual Path




“The Yoga of Kirtan is an excellent guide for one’s own spiritual journey as one reads, nay, listens, to the narratives of the stations covered in the life pilgrimages these kirtana-karas have taken. They have all started from different places, traversed many different paths and then become immersed in this special ecstasy of the love of God in Her (is not Radha sung to as one Divinity?) multifarious forms.

   The accompanying CD with eleven tracks renders an experiential dimension to the work, enhancing its value a hundredfold.

—Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama/ Rishikesh

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“Reading The Yoga of Kirtan while retuning home from work at midnight or later on the subway has been an ispiring and exhilarating experience. Interviews with kirtan artists and devotees such as Shymdas and Krishna Das have furthered my love of kirtan and devotion to my spiritual practice. I felt while reading that not only was I in the company of saints, but that I was able to have satsang with the greatest kirtan performers of the day. Indeed, the vibrant tradition of Sri Chaitanya continues in this era of the Kali Yuga! Rosen's book enables all of us to experience the bliss of what it is like to chant the many names of God. This is definitely the newest “must have” book for all yogis—especially for those who are just now awakening to the experience of yogic spirituality.”

Purnima Langen, Jivamukti Yoga, Certified Teacher, Jivamukti Yoga School, NYC



“I hate books like this—they‘re too good to put down, and there goes your routine.  Fortunately, books as rewarding (and hard to put down) are few and far between. The interviews touch the heart, and several eye-openers provide astounding insights into hidden spiritual truths. A must read! And then there‘s the CD. Thank you, Satyaraja (Steven), for a matchless resource!”

Hladini Shakti Das, hospice chaplain, disciple of Tamal Krishna Goswami



“Rosen’s interviews with some of the most popular kirtan performers provide insight into the artists and their work, and the meaning behind the kirtan phenomenon. Steven Rosen’s books never fail to illuminate, and this one is no exception. He is like a spiritual Studs Terkel, whose keen interest in the people he interviews and their viewpoints draws them out of themselves and always makes for enjoyable reading. I especially like the biographical format, in which we learn something of the life story of the artists and what steered them to kirtan. I also like that he included chanters from outside the Hindu tradition, like Yofiyah and Snatam Kaur. The CD alone is worth the price of the book. I especially like Dravida Das’s stacatto chanting in ‘Namaste Sri Radhe,’ and Jai Uttal’s innovative instrumentation in ‘Radharani Kijay.’”

Adam R. Bernstein, Attorney at law



“Rosen’s book will interest both yoga students and kirtan enthusiasts who wish to understand the deeper significance of their practice. Those who already lead kirtan and longtime practitioners of sacred chant will expand their satsang, their spiritual community, as they connect with these dedicated maestros of chant through the intimate dialogues.”

Jubilee Q. Cooke, ethnomusicologist, School of Music, University of Washington

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“This book arrived at the exact right moment: NOW!! It will serve to spread divine love and to help other beings with the same intention inside their hearts. Steven Rosen is teaching profound truths and sharing with us stories of how the world’s present Kirtan-wallahs arrived on the path; this will increase our faith and make us aware that such happiness is also possible for us. We are indebted for such a wonderful book! Love and Blessings.”

Claudia Stocki, R.Y.T., Dita Yoga



“Steven Rosen’s Yoga of Kirtan takes the phenomenon of sacred chanting—a phenomenon that is electrifiying yoga studios across the country—and unlocks its inner significance with clarity, depth, and sensitivity to its cultural and religious roots. Rosen wisely chooses to engage the kirtan singers in lively personal conversations, thus allowing the rich voices behind the phenomenon to speak (and, through the included audio CD, sing) for themselves.  Personally, I greatly appreciated Rosen’s marked efforts to avoid sectarianism and his obvious commitment to presenting diversity in the kirtan world. The result, I think, is a book that thoughtfully celebrates the universality of kirtan, while still bearing testament to the impact of Hindu culture in the West.”

Vineet Chander,Coordinator for Hindu Life, Princeton University



“This book is a must read for the seasoned yogi or yogini, but it is also a must for the neophyte practitioner and even for the mildly curious. Both teachers and students of Hinduism will also find much between these covers. Add to that a CD with over 70 minutes of kirtan music, and this is a package that is not to be missed.”

Lakshmi Nrisimha Dasa, ISKCON representative
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“Every time I listen to the CD, I feel like clapping my hands, jumping on my feet, and dancing to the tune of the music—truly inspiring. Both the book and the CD break the tradition and are a pioneering work well worth owning.

Deepak Shimkhada, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California

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“. . . As a presentation of the subject of kirtan and of what it means to its practitioners, this book is bound to remain the definitive introduction for years to come. There is no quarrel at all with the data and the heartfelt testimonials here. Nor is there any doubt that devotional music . . . has created a quality of artistic achievement and experience that the corresponding secular endeavours can never match.”

Koenraad Elst, Belgian writer and noted Orientalist



“I always wanted to know what these kirtaniyas were thinking, but I could only guess at the internal melodies of their thoughts and feelings. Steven Rosen has brought not only their music to my ears, but their experiences. I can now relate much more personally to the intent of each individual, and the insights help me to go deeper into sacred realities myself. I am very grateful for the revelation of the persons behind the performances. This book helps people enter into the subtle intent of various types of kirtan.”

Nrisimhananda Das, ISKCON Television



“Mr. Rosen's book is a wonderful history of kirtan, both ancient and recent, in the form of conversations with the musicians and illuminations by the author, whose personal experience of kirtan is considerable on its own. The fact that we are given insights into the personal journeys of so many contemporary kirtaniyas provides a broad depth of feeling that might otherwise have been missing if this book had been written strictly from either an objective position or a singular point of view. And since kirtan is all about the personal expression of our relationship to the Divine, Rosen's book serves as an inspiration for all of us to dive deeply into our own personal journey of kirtan.”

Harry Seldom, Video Editor, Mantra Media Design



“The Yoga of Kirtan” is an important book because it brings together a large number of incisive interviews by the most recognized and talented singers of the holy names. The interviewer puts forward good, provoking questions in a structured manner to the kirtaniyas, but he allows them to speak freely their own realization. This makes for an entertaining and serious book, very personal and spiritual.”

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami (sannyasi and ISKCON guru)



“I particularly welcome Steven Rosen’s new book because it contributes to what I believe is a necessary evolution, if not revolution, away from the constricting categories of national, religious, social, cultural and other identities that tend to obliterate our status as individuals. . . . The individual stories in this collection, although united thematically through a love for chanting and spirituality, stand on their own as presentations of unique individual experience . . .”

Charles S. J. White, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, American University, Washington, D. C.

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