The Krishna Consciousness movement has spread all over the world
through the musical chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu popularised the chanting of the holy names
of Krishna all over India. The maha-mantra is a transcendental
sound vibration which awakens love of God in our hearts and minds.
Hare Krishna devotees are seen chanting, singing and performing
music in cities and towns all over the world. As with all other
activities, music is considered a sacred offering to God.
Although devotees today use many different musical styles, originally
devotional music was based on Indian musical concepts of Rag and
Tal. Rag is the melodic form while Tal is the rhythmic form.
Rag is derived from a Sanskrit root meaning 'to colour'. The underlying
idea being that certain melodic shapes and scales produce an emotional
experience and 'colour' the mind.
Tal is best described as time measure and has two main constituents;
the duration of the time measure and the distribution of stress
within the time measure. Tal, like Rag serves as a basis for composition
Devotees most often use the mrdanga (a drum), harmonium
(a hand organ), and karatalas (hand cymbals). Lord Krishna
is often depicted playing the flute. For more details have a look
at the Devotional Instruments
Since ISKCON has had a worldwide following, some devotional songs
have been popularised by western artists including George
Harrison and more recently Kula Shaker.
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