As a long-time fan of Krishna Das, I really enjoyed hearing some of his story…
Join Krishna Das (acknowledged as the Chant Master of American Yoga by the New York Times) as he shares how he entered into the practice of chanting and what it means to him today, as well as his relationship with Maharaj-ji.
Layering traditional Hindu kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, Krishna Das has been called yoga’s “rock star.” With a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, Krishna Das — known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD — has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling chant artist of all time, with over 300,000 records sold.
KD spent the late ’60’s traveling across the country as a student of Ram Dass, and in August 1970, he finally made the journey to India, which led him to Ram Dass’ own beloved guru, Neem Karoli Baba, known to most as Maharaj-ji.
Given the name Krishna Das, KD began to chant as part of following the path of Bhakti yoga — the yoga of devotion.
After two and a half years with Maharaj-ji, returned to USA – alas, six months after his return, word came that Maharaj-ji had died.
He took solace in music, finding peace and strength in both his Bhakti yoga practice as well as in such heroes as Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, and Bruce Springsteen (whom he laughingly calls “the Bodhisattva of New Jersey”). KD also co-founded Triloka Records, a California-based label specializing in world music, releasing such artists as Jai Uttal, sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Khan, and legendary jazz musician/composer Jackie McLean.
In 1994, KD started leading chant at Jivamukti Yoga Center, NYC, with an ever-growing audience of yoga students which has led to chant with people all around the world.
Since 1996 KD has recorded 14 albums including his latest ones ‘Heart as Wide as the World” and ‘Chants of a Lifetime’ (book + CD).
“The chanting just hits you and you want to be a part of it,” KD promises. “That’s the point of this whole thing. That’s what cuts through all the ‘stuff’. You get lit up. You don’t have to know what it means.”
“You get lit up. You don’t have to know what it means.” That’s exactly the point. It always makes me sad if people refuse to chant unless they get every word they’re about to chant translated into their language – it all need to be “rationalised”. Does it matter? Can we not just enjoy how kirtan speaks to our hearts, not our brains?