The Birth of Kirtan: The Life and Teachings of Chaitanya is the biography of a mystic saint who pioneered devotional yoga (Bhakti) in sixteenth-century India and started the practice of sacred chanting (kirtan) that has now spread around the world. While Chaitanya’s practice has become a global movement over the last five hundred years, little is generally known about this spiritual reformer, as the two principal texts recounting his life were written in Bengali in the sixteenth century. In The Birth of Kirtan, Bhakti scholar and teacher Ranchor Prime adapts these two narratives into a moving and emotionally charged English-language biography for a modern audience. His poetic retelling is complemented by full-color reproductions of never-before-published nineteenth-century paintings of Chaitanya’s life.
Ranchor Prime is the author of several books on the culture and spirituality of India, speaking to Hindu environmental issues as a Hindu religious scholar. He is an advisor on religion and conservation to the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, and he is co-founder and director of Friends of Vrindavan, an environmental charity aimed at protecting sacred forests in India. He lives in London.