Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

“Kirtan Under the Stars” at the SRF Encinitas Ashram Center

September 20, 2022

“A MAGICAL EVENING...”

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The Golden Lotus Towers at Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram in Encinitas, California, during the “Kirtan Under the Stars”

“The kirtan has me floating on air….As you chanted ‘Thousands of suns and moons’….the moon burst forth from behind the clouds!” one attendee conveyed after this year’s “Kirtan Under the Stars,” held on September 10 on the grounds of the SRF Encinitas Ashram Center, established in 1937 by Paramahansa Yogananda.

This inspiring event was introduced in 2016 and has become a much-loved evening of devotional chanting for SRF members and friends, who were greatly looking forward to its resuming after it had been temporarily paused due to the pandemic.

Nuns Kirtan Group on Stage 2022
The SRF nuns’ kirtan group leading devotional chanting while playing traditional Indian instruments

Paramahansa Yogananda taught, and encouraged, devotional chanting to his students during the more than three decades he lived in the West. He composed many chants now published in his book Cosmic Chants, where he explains in his Prelude to the book: “One who sings these spiritualized songs, Cosmic Chants, with true devotion will find God-communion and ecstatic joy, and through them the healing of body, mind, and soul”

A Welcome Change in the Weather

Unfortunately, the weather forecast — for rain and possible thunderstorms — was not favorable for this year’s event, and consequently preparations were made by the volunteer staff and monastics for the possibility of moving the event indoors.

But the many silent prayers sent heavenward must have reached the Divine Mother’s ear: by an apparent act of grace, the rain stopped, and patchy clouds with blue skies allowed the teams of volunteers just enough time to set up hundreds of chairs, the large stage, and lighting and sound systems beneath the boundless skies for this evening of soul-stirring chanting and devotion to God.

Kirtan Under the Stars Large Group exp
Nearly 600 participants join in chanting to the Divine.

A magical evening, permeated with God and Guru’s presence…and a full moon! Gratitude fills our hearts!” —A participant

After the event…I just saw a sea of smiling, beaming faces. Everyone was so uplifted, happy, and inspired.” —SRF monastic

Words do not suffice to describe the beauty and joy of the evening. What a divine night….chanting with hundreds of devotees under the moon and stars. This event will be long remembered with great love and appreciation.” —A volunteer assisting with preparations

Experience the Joy of Chanting

Recordings of kirtan chanting led by SRF monastics are available for downloading from the SRF Bookstore, and can be found along with other SRF music on most popular streaming services. Search “Self-Realization Fellowship” on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube Music, Deezer, Pandora, iHeart radio, and more to find available SRF recordings.

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