Kirtan and Process Theology
beginning a dialog between two global traditions
by Jay McDaniel
What is Process Theology?
by Jay McDaniel
Process Theology is a way of thinking and interacting with the world influenced by the "ecological philosophy" of the late philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead. He emphasized that everything is iinterrelated, that everything is becoming, that everything is alive in its way, and that the universe is enfolded in a divine Life in whom all life unfolds. People influenced by Whitehead live in all parts of the world: North America, South America, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Europe. Some are Jewish, some Christian, some Muslim, some Buddhist, some Hindu, some Taoist, some Confucian. Some are spiritually interested but not spiritually affiliated. The articles in this website are explorations on a wide variety of topics in the spirit of process theology.
Process theology proposes that the Life in whom all lives unfold is within each living being as a lure toward personal happiness and social well-being, toward peace of mind and social justice, toward inner joy and beloved community. The Life - God -- comes to us in many ways and with help from many imaginal presences, each with unique vitality. One of the beautiful faces can be Tara.
What is Kirtan?
Kirtan or kirtana (Punjabi: ਕੀਰਤਨ, Sanskrit: "praise, eulogy"; also
sankirtan is call-and-response chanting or "responsory" performed in India's bhakti devotional traditions. A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtankar. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas, the two-headed mrdanga or pakawaj drum, and karatal hand cymbals. It is a major practice in Vaisnava devotionalism, Sikhism, the Sant traditions, and some forms of Buddhism, as well as other religious groups....more
Satsangs: occasions where people come together through music, meditation, and wisdom to be immersed in divine Love.
Kitzie Stern interviews Jai Uttal
Kitzie Stern interviews Dave Stringer
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Love's Oblivion: Mary Annointing Jesus' Feet
The Challenge of Hyper-Individualism
Theology for Nones: Spritual but Not Religious
Whitehead's Idea of God
What do Process Thinkers Believe?
Can a Christian Be a Buddhist, Too?
God Almighty? No Way!
What You Seek is Seeking You: Hartshorne and Rumi
Singing the Mantras
Reflections from Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson,
a process theologian and minister who practices Kirtan:
“Here is what I notice about kirtan and process thought: What comes to mind is, like process thought, kirtan affirms the individual and the community. What I mean is that when we do kirtan in a group it is still a solitary process, we are experiencing our own relationship with the divine…we are feeling God in our heart and we are opening our hearts in response to God. When we do that in a group we are also having a collective experience. Our voice join with the voices of others and becomes one with them, even while retaining its uniqueness. In this way kirtan affirms the individual and the whole.
I think about why and how singing the mantras can transform the world. I say this because there can seem to be a focus the individual benefits of this spiritual practice without an emphasis on the rest of the world or, especially, on activism. I have had to think about this because I’ve wanted to reconcile my kirtan practice with my work in the world, which lately includes a very real urgency for what I believe is a need for radical revolutionary change.
What I’ve come to is that the practice of kirtan opens our hearts in extraordinary ways, and with an open heart we can open to the world. Jai Uttal talks about this in the interview, and my experience bears this out – I live a deep and abiding joy even as I know the dire state of the world…even amidst sorrow or deep concern for the world, it is the joy that allows me to live with an open, broken heart. Remembering that kirtan is prayer, it is bhakti yoga, a path of devotion – so the element of devotion to God is essential for me. (And especially if you remember my utter devotion to Hanuman!)
If we are devoted to God we will be in service to the world because there is no separation between God and the world. We are One.”
Can Singing Mantras Help the World