Hari Vrndavn had a calling to music, the arts and spirituality from a very young age. Born into a Hindu family from Sri Lanka, he was raised in the UK. He was a musical prodigy and studied South Indian Classical music, learning from many of India’s greatest artists. He began touring at the age of 13 and had the privilege of working and touring with stalwarts like Sitar Maestro, Ravi Shankar and Ex-Beatle George Harrison.

At an early age, Hari had a great affinity for spirituality and had taken on many leadership roles working with children and youth, especially in helping to educate in human values and spirituality.

Working with young people is still one of his ideals, as Hari sees them as our future and our hope.

For the past several years, Hari has had the good fortune to travel the world extensively, leading kirtan and satsang for thousands. He possesses the remarkable ability to open the heart through his music and also his storytelling. His modern, youthful and simple approach aids in making even the most profound spiritual ideals understandable and fun. Dancing during kirtan is not only encouraged — it is inevitable!

Kirtan is the nourishment of the bhakta. Good kirtan should become hypnotic. It should start in a way and end in way that the Divine Name (more so even than the music) is left pumping through the veins, so that it can’t be shaken out of one’s head, and so that voluntarily or involuntarily, the Name (which is arguably more powerful than the described Divine itself) can’t be shaken from the mind. It’s such a powerful tool, and so underestimated. Kirtan is an easy and enjoyable activity to concentrate on the Divine, to meditate, or indeed to just be.

Coming home from a hectic and stressful day in the office and then having to deal with the issues of the home can seem too much… but just sitting down to a little soothing music can make the whole day seem so much lighter before having to move to the housework or other tasks.

Music, and the vibrations it makes, have enormous power. The whole of creation is made from vibration. All matter is made up of vibration and energy, but moving at different speeds, hence creating different states and even different emotions. When the body is agitated and angry for example, we can’t help but shout! It’s a reflex of the energy within us at the time. The sounds on the outside also affect our inside.

Music is the language of the Heart… it transcends so many barriers. Kirtan, or chanting to express love to the Divine through song and music, is as aspect of Devotion that is shared in every religion. Even if music isn’t used in the recitation of the religious scriptures, some sort of musical tone or metre is used! This is one of the strings that connects every faith together.

Hence how potent can music be, now that it is mixed with the Name of God? It’s now like having a cookie, but adding chocolate chips to it. It only gets better and better, sweeter and sweeter.

The fact that the holy Name is mixed with music means that emotion can be added to the Name. So much can be expressed through music and using the music as a language. It is easy to converse with the Divine! Depending on our mood with the Lord at the time, we can use the right music to explore or intensify that mood; and even more useful is that if we are not in the right mood or mind set, we can use music to bring us back to where we need to be.

Music has the power to express, the power to heal, the power to unite. Its profundity is underrated. We use music for everything; even a jingle in an advertisement makes our mind immediately connect with the product with which it is advertising. I still remember many of the TV jingles from when I was a child! The mind associates music with what it’s programmed to.

No one needs to be a rock star or a professional singer to express themselves; to express love! It’s plain and simple that the Divine is hearing the music of our hearts, not the sound we produce, and hence even if we sound like crows being strangled; the sound of strangling is soaked with the Love of the divine; He’s relishing it as much as he’s relishing the nightingales that exists among us! It’s all about the love behind the expression; not the expression itself. So fill your heart, and sing to the Divine!

Sri Kirtan Bhakti Ki Jai!