Why do people chant slokas and hymns to praise God? What is the need?

There are two approaches behind praising God.

  1. An ordinary devotee’s love for God is purely materialistic. He wants good things to happen to him, he wants money, wealth and possessions; he wants to escape from suffering. He believes God is like an over-sized superman. Human beings want and love appreciation, words of praise, honors etc and they will positively respond, even out of the way, to help you when you praise and adore them. These devotees apply the same yardstick to God too and hope to reap the benefits in shortcut!
  2. A true and serious devotee who has real bhakti in his heart starts loving God as his dearest. When you are deeply in love with a girl without any pretense, you start appreciating openly her beautiful looks, her manners, her qualities etc. You derive joy in showering your praise because it comes deep from your heart. You write poems about her; send her love letters/ messages etc. These things just come out naturally out of your emotional overflow of love towards her. In the same way, true devotees of God definitely get joy in singing hymns and praising his divine qualities.

When the love of a boy culminates into marriage with the girl, then all the former words of praise don’t flow any more. Their love is so matured now that it is no longer dependent on verbal expressions. In the same way, when a bhakta’s love on God matures into Jnyana (spiritual knowledge), then the devotee no longer feels the urge to keep praising the lord. He turns inwards; he silently meditates on God and start feeling the Sat-chit-Ananda inside.