Swami Sivananda: “People sit together and sing the names of the Lord with harmony and concord and with Suddha or Divine Bhava. This is Sankirtan… It elevates the mind quickly and intensifies the Bhava to a maximum degree… There must be perfect harmony and concord, one Svara, one Tala, when Sankirtan is conducted. Then only will be joy (Ananda) and elevation of the mind.
“All the members.. should observe Niyamas for their rapid growth. They should do Japa…should observe fasting on Ekadasi, should observe Mouna or vow of silence for two hours daily…
“The first manifestation of God is ether or sound. Sound is the Guna (quality) of ether. Sounds are vibrations. They give rise to definite forms. Each sound produces a form in the visible world and combinations of sound create complicated shapes. The text books of science describe certain experiments which show that notes produced by certain instruments trace out on a bed of sand definite geometrical figures. It is ths demonstrated that rhythmic vibrations give rise to regular geometrical figures. The Hindu books on music tell us that the various muscial tunes, Ragas and Raginis have each a particular shape which the books graphically describe.
“For instance, the Megha Raga is said to bear a majestic figure seated on an elephant. The Basanta Raga is described as a beautiful youth decked with flowers.All this means that the particular Raga or Ragini, when accurately sung, produces aerial etheric vibrations which create the particular shape. This view received corroborations from the experiments carried out by Mrs Watts Hughes, the gifted author of ‘Vpoice Figure’.
“Thus, the repeated singing of the Name of the Lord gradually builds up forms of the Devatas or the special manifestations of the Deity, whom you seek to worship and this serves as a focus to concentrate the benign influence of the Being which, radiating from the centre, penetrates the worshipper of the Kirtanist.
“Sankirtan brings Darshan of God or attainment of divine consciousness in this Kali Yuga…Sankirtan is the easiest, surest, safest, quickest was for attaining God-consciousness.
“If one does Sankirtan from the bottom of one’s heart with full bhava and Prem, even the tress, birds and animals will be deeply influenced… Rishis and Siddhas visit the place where Sankirtan is held.”
The above is an excerpt from Swami Sivananda’s work called “Bhakati & Sankirtan” (pgs. 89, 90. 92, 94, 96)