Bhakti Revolution – Kirtaniyas


Who are The Kirtaniyas?

A neo-bhakti revolution, The Kirtaniyas are sacred singers. A group of young Hare Krishna devotees whose members; Vijay, Rasika, Nitai and Sarasvati travel the planet chanting the names of God, or Kirtan.

Kirtan (to repeat in Sanskrit) is an Indian devotional tradition that involves call and response chanting. The chants are usually mantras that include the names of God. Probably the most famous is the Hare Krishna or Maha Mantra.

Loosely based in Los Angeles, California, the Kirtaniyas marked their ascension appearing at this year’s Bhakti Fest near Joshua Tree, California. Bhakti Fest is a 4-day festival. Bhakti is the yoga of devotion. One who practices bhakti is called a bhakta. This years Bhakti fest features performers including Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, and Deva Premal and Miten.

The Kirtaniyas philosophy

“Kirtan is nectar for your ears. You open your ears and your heart and let it in. it’s simple. It works with repetition, any time of the day any times of the night… anywhere.” Nitai says in a recent interview in LA Yoga and Ayurveda Magazine. “We’ve both been chanting all out lives. Even in the wombs of our mothers, because they were chanting.” He says of himself and Vijay.

Broken down the word Man…tra has a very specific meaning; Man- means mind; -tra means to free,

Also recently quoted in Los Angeles Yoga and Ayurveda Magazine Vijay says, “To call out and have someone open their heart and call back. It’s an expression of love.”

The emergence of The Kirtaniyas

The Kirtaniyas are a part of an existing viable Kirtan scene in Los Angeles. Every week in Los Angeles’s west side there are a number of weekly Kirtans. Some in homes, some in yoga studio and performance spaces some in temples. What distinguishes the Kirtaniyas from the others their youth: decidedly ecstatic, shamelessly sensual, discernibly devotional the auspiciously funky four are based out of the Radha Govinda Mandir on Rose Avenue in Venice (aka the Rose Temple).


The Kirtaniyas have performed with a lot of big kirtan performers including; Shyamdas, Wah!, MC Yogi, Dave Stringer, Saul David Ray, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja and Arjuna Baba, to name a few.

The Kirtaniyas bring a western-groove-accessibility to the traditional Vedic practice. Still adhering to the form, they infuse the ancient call-and-response prayer with an ecstatic energy.

The Kirtaniyas are skilled performers. Classically trained violinist Sarasvati, husband Vija, native Angelino Rasika and Hawaii-born Nitai have accrued a decidedly loyal following. Their appearance at Bhakti Fest will bring them to a larger audience.

“It’s a Kirtan emersion,” Vijay says. “Bhakti Fest is one of the most amazing conscious gatherings I’ve ever been to or know about on the planet. It’s a four-day, non-stop 24/7 kirtan. It’s like being in another world for a weekend.” He describes the music festival celebrating devotion through chanting, Yoga, meditation and community on 450 acres near Joshua tree in Joshua Tree Retreat Center.

The Kirtaniyas are riding the crest of the latest wave of Krishna Consciousness. Like others before it’s infused with a youthful enthusiasm that fuel the forward momentum.

“[A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami] Prabhupada came and did his thing with the hippies in the ‘60s. That’s what’s going on with the Kirtanyiers. I’m asking how can we be most effective in sharing this amazing process?” Vijay says

5 Responses to Bhakti Revolution – Kirtaniyas
  1. physical therapy los angeles
    November 2, 2010 | 11:07 am

    I’m always looking for something new to try and learn about and this seems like just the thing! I’ve always been interested in mantras1


  2. Ale González
    March 7, 2011 | 8:52 am

    Please come to Monterrey Mexicooo!!!!! we need some peace around here…. and we are a lot of people in search of it….
    with love… AGV =P

  3. Dr. Farley from Yellow Toenails Treatment
    April 28, 2011 | 11:44 am

    Mantras have always been an essential part of my relaxation and spiritual process, great to see more people incorporate this into their spiritual life.

  4. Jen from Backup Camera
    November 4, 2011 | 5:00 pm

    My yoga teacher has talked about The Kirtaniyas before! It made me want to look them up which is how I found this site. I am eager to learn more about them and their music.

  5. Sophia@Forex Trading
    November 10, 2011 | 5:33 am

    One kind art can touch people’s heart, that is Kirtan. It brings us back to quiet mood, which we have been far away from.