KIM LAWTON, guest anchor: A look now at the ancient Hindu practice of kirtan. It's a call-and-response chanting of Sankrit mantras that started in India as a path to enlightenment. Practitioners believe the chanting awakens the love of God which is present in everyone's heart. This form of meditation is gaining popularity here in the U.S. Krishna Das, an internationally known spiritual teacher, led a kirtan workshop in New York.

KRISHNA DAS: Kirtan means chanting - chanting the names of God, the Divine Name. The names that I chant mostly come from India and are part of the Vedic tradition. All these names are really our own true names, and that they're all doors into our own true being, our deepest part, what they call the atman, the self.

Every repetition of the Name, just like every time you sit down to do practice - whatever kind of practice, meditation, chanting - just that movement which pulls you out of that constant daily dream that we live in. And eventually we wake up.

Krisna Das

I sing from that longing in my own heart to become who I really am - to find that place inside of me.

The more you sing, the more you let go, the deeper you go. And then the deeper you go, the more you let go.

It's just the question of opening your eyes and looking around and trying to find something to help release the tension and the knots in your own heart. If you want your life to be filled with sweetness and kindness and compassion and caring, then that's the kind of person you need to become.

It's through that river of the Name that takes you to the ocean. And if you're just going to dip your finger in it or you toe, you know, well, you're not going to get to the ocean. We are trying to jump in, and the only thing stopping us is our own stuff. So we keep on redirecting and remembering - putting it back together by going inside.

Spiritual Chanting

The ancient Hindu practice of kirtan is a call-and-response form of meditation and spiritual chanting that is gaining popularity in the United States.