Japa Meditation and Kirtan
In Bhakti Yoga practice, there are two types of mantra meditation: “Japa” and “Kirtan”.
Japa is a quiet and personal meditation where one chants on 108 prayer beads; chanting the Hare Krishna mantra softly to oneself and listening to it attentively. Chanting Krishna’s name in mantra meditation is to concentrate on hearing the sound of the holy names. Early morning hours are ideal. At the Temple after the Mangala Aarti devotees do Japa meditation.
Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare
kīrtan – (usually done in a group) on the other hand, is a joyous congregational meditation on the same sound vibration. The musical instruments such as Harmonium, Mridanga, and Kartal (cymbals) are played which gives an ecstatic feeling. At Temple, kirtan is performed during every Aarti and occasions. There are many Aartis, Vaishnav Bhajans on which Kirtan is done but of all, the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is particularly performed as a means of deliverance for this age.