Category Archives: kirtan

Krishna Das chants in the Spring

The song that reaches us from beyond all that we know is the answer to the yearning we have sent out as a signal.

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Between the posts of Passover and Easter, the themes of emancipation and renewal welcome in the Spring with a pagan delight. I found it interesting that this holiday weekend was bookended by attending a kirtan and watching a documentary – both with Krishna Das. Well, sort of- we got to meet him Thursday night, which inspired us to see the documentary about his life on Sunday.

The kirtan Thursday night was the first time we had seen Krishna Das.  He leads the kirtan while paying harmonium, joined by a tabla, bass, guitarist, percussionist, and singing chime player.   It was a benefit for the Tibetan House of Hope that currently houses, feeds, clothes, educates and loves 140 children who would otherwise be homeless. The children aren’t put up for adoption but live and are raised in a Tibetan community where they dance and thrive together.

“I don’t know why they wanted a Jewish Hindu to sing Buddhist chants, he laughed, “People think I’m Hindu because I sing these songs.” “I’m not Hindu, I’m from Long Island.  I think being a good human being on this planet is what is needed now. That’s what I’m going for.”

Kirtan is wonderfully inclusive. He sang two lines and then the audience repeated back. The audience becomes part of the prayer, even if they don’t know it. The ensemble hypnotically settles you into a meditative state and then press into the tempo, raising it up until your atoms are dancing, whether you have gotten out of your chair or not. High vibration!

There are people who follow him around, like the Grateful Dead but without the drugs and as many strung-out and lost feelings.

I encourage you to see the documentary One Track Heart about his life.  It points up the difficulty of finding and staying on our path. He was solidly on his path, but allowed self-blame, doubt and his ego to mislead him. When he made his way back, I felt like I had made the journey with him. The feeling that prevailed opened me up to viewing my own path with renewed perspective.

Wherever you are, may Spring find you fully.