Sankirtan yoga refers to taking the name of god. According to the Puranas, the glory of the Supreme Being lies in his Name. Hence, the easiest way to attain the lord is by remembering him. Swami Sivananda, the founder of Divine Life Society, defines Sankirtan as the Swarupa (indispensable nature), Dhwani (sound) and the essence of Vedas. In fact, both the Vedas and Sankirtan originate from the same source. In Sankirtan people sit together and remember God by singing his name harmoniously. But the most important thing is the bhava (thought or feeling). If the person is taking the Lord`s name with utmost devotion, then He will answer thee devotee`s call.
Sankirtan is further considered to be a science that has the power to lift the mind and spirits to its farthest extent. Sankirtan Yoga is the easiest and best way to realize God. In modern times when it has become increasingly difficult for people to practice austerities, practice Brahmacharya or Raja Yoga, singing His name is quite easy. Any common man can practice it as it does not require deep intelligence to comprehend Jnana Yoga or Sadhana.
According to belief there is Shakti in God`s name. It has the power to eradicate all the `mala` or impurities of mind. In fact there are three types of obstacles in the path to attain God: Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana. In order to get rid of this, selfless service, intellectual seeking and upasana are recommended. However, Sankirtan Yoga can achieve all these single-handedly because nothing is more powerful than His name. Even if it is the veil of Maya that deludes man, taking the name of God will help man to severe the worldly ties. Thus Sankirtan enables one to realise the Brahman.
However, the concept of Sankirtan Yoga is not something new to the Indian ethos. It had existed in its history and came to the forefront during the Bhakti movement. This religious movement denied that costly rituals and the knowledge of the religious texts can only take a devotee closer to God. Rather it propagated that God can be realised by simple means of taking his name or worshipping him with utmost devotion. The ideals of Sankirtan can be said to have originated from this movement.