Tag Archive: Music

Krishna Das New Release

Written by Sam Slovick (from LA Yoga Magazine May 2010)

“Chanting is called a practice for one reason: It only works if we do it. Chanting has been my main practice for years, but it took me a long time to realize that it’s only by doing it regularly that we begin to experience ourselves changing. If we want to get wet we have to jump into the water. If we want to stay wet we have to learn to swim, or at least float!” ––KD from Chants of a Lifetime

Krishna Das (KD) is drenched. He’s standing under a cloudburst of grace with his feet in a puddle of love. If you stand anywhere near him you’re going to get wet.

His karmic trajectory is well documented. He put out the call for transcendence in the summer of love and the response materialized as the living embodiment of the Simian God, Hanuman, in the form of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. KD crawled out of a bottomless pit of despair in New York all the way to the subcontinent and…well…you can read the rest in his new book, Chants of a Lifetime.

Four decades later, the street-certified kirtan road dog who opened the door for generations of western seekers has transcended the role of portal keeper to the East. The lotus has blossomed; a career crescendo manifested in the release of his new CD, Heart As Wide As The World has certified his bhakti adhikara.

Krishna Das brings a lot of light. Presumably, he also casts a commensurate shadow, but all I can see is the reflected glare from his gleaming king-sized tour bus in the parking lot just outside the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. The show he is sharing with Deva Premal, Miten and Manose is, of course, sold out.

“Krishna Das is my name. My guru gave me that name in India in 1972. It means servant of God,” he says. “It’s something to grow up into, I think. When you first start doing spiritual practice, it’s very much you’re trying to pull that splinter out, that nail you stepped on. You’re trying to get it out of your foot.

My practice, of course, you would say is chanting. Obviously that’s my main practice. But that’s really just a part of the practice. The context that all the chanting is done within is trying to be in the presence of that love all the time.

The practice and the path seem to be about your own pain and removing your own pain and suffering. But the more you do this stuff, the older you get, you begin to see that your own pain is no better or less or more than anyone else’s pain. You kind of lose the ability to cut off and keep people at a distance. Then your practice begins to get…how to deal with…” He pauses, “How do you keep your heart open with the huge, humungous amount of suffering in the world?”

Deva Premal & Miten Ancient Mantras

Written by Sam Slovick (from LA Yoga Magazine March 2010)

It’s early afternoon; the sun sparkles on waves crashing on the beach below the bluffs. Deva Premal and Miten are in repose in Malibu sitting in the expanse of a large tastefully appointed living room bathed in a reflected glow.

They’re light-hearted. They’re laughing a lot. Not a counterfeit smile or moment of manufactured bliss in the space between the words. In soundless relief, no remnant of stress lingers from the relentless grind of their perpetual trans-continental touring schedule… because it’s effortless for them. They move in a sannyasic bliss fueled by devotion. The mystery of how the globe-trotting mantra singers maintain their collective bliss on tour is about to reveal itself without words.

Deva and Miten lean into our conversation over a glass of coconut water. I ask the two of them questions and they answer as one.

How did you get so lucky?

“That’s what I keep asking myself,” Deva says. “We were galley slaves in our last lives,” Miten adds.

How do you do what you do? That is…how does the mechanism of your modality, your practice of healing by mantra work?

“Deva’s a translucent channel for the mantras to move through,” Miten says, “She was born to her father chanting the Gayatri [mantra]. People don’t understand the difference between a language that is energetic and a language that is created by the mind.”

“The meaning is secondary. The word table is not the table,” Deva cuts to the heart of the matter. “With Sanskrit, the word anon is the sound vibration of bliss. In sound the energy of bliss. We have to say bliss; we have to make it smaller by putting it into an English word. Just the sound; anon, If we were sensitive enough we’d just feel the entire scope of that energy that’s contained in this sound.”

Miten sits motionless in a comfortable silence as she continues.