About this blog
Krishna das (born Jeffrey Kagel; May 31, 1947, New York) is an American vocalist known for his performances of Hindu devotional music known as kirtan (chanting the names of God). In August 1970 Jeffrey traveled to India where he became a devotee of the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba (maharaj-ji, devotee of the Hindu deity Hanuman) who gave him the spiritual initiation and the name Krishna das, which means the servant of Krishna. Krishna das has for many years studied the Buddhist meditation and the Vaishnava practice of bhakti-yoga. He has released fourteen albums since 1996. He performed at the 2013 Grammy Awards, where his album Live Ananda (2012) was nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. Krishna das's albums contain Hindu bhajans and kirtans of famous mantras, such as Hare Krishna and Om Namah Sivaya. Krishna Das travels extensively, performing concerts and engaged in teaching activities.
Кришна дас (имя при рождении - Джеффри Кагель; родился 31 мая 1947, Нью-Йорк) - американский певец и музыкант, которого называют самым известным западным исполнителем индуистской религиозной музыки в стиле киртан (воспевание имён Бога). В августе 1970 года Джеффри посетил Индию, где обучался у индуистского гуру Ним Кароли Бабы (махарадж-джи, преданного индуистского божества Ханумана), который дал ему духовное посвящение и имя Кришна дас, означающее слуга Кришны. Кришна дас в течение многих лет изучал буддийские медитационные практики и вайшнавскую практику бхакти-йоги. C 1996 года выпустил четырнадцать альбомов. В 2013 году альбом Кришны Даса "Live Ananda" был номинирован на премию Грэмми в категории "Лучший альбом нью-эйдж". Альбомы Кришны Даса содержат индуистские бхаджаны и киртаны известных мантр, таких как Харе Кришна и Ом намах Шивая. Кришна Дас активно путешествует, выступая с концертами и занимаясь преподавательской деятельностью.
Entries in this blog
Maharaj-ji said to me: 'Courage is a really important thing. Courage is a big thing.' I tell you the truth; there've been times
when all I had was the remembering of those words. I was 99%!o(MISSING)ver the cliff and I just had the memory of those few words and it was enough to bring me back.
- Krishna Das
‘Radhe Govinda’ at Friday night’s kirtan on Maui at Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat with Ram Dass, Love Serve Remember and so many great teachers and friends.
We really believe everything we think. It’s probably THE definition of insanity.
- Krishna Das, at today’s workshop at Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat
"That first time I was in Auschwitz (on a Bearing Witness Retreat with Zen Peacemakers), I had my harmonium with me because I had been singing in Europe, so I took it into the women’s barracks and I thought, “I will do some Devi Puja here. I will sing to the Goddess, the perfect woman who embodies all the women.” So I got in there and I put up the harmonium, I was just about to sing and I thought to myself, “Well…” First of all, it was so full. I don’t think I’ve ever sang to more people than the beings I felt in that barracks, empty barracks. I don’t have these kinds of experiences, but I just felt it, so I asked them, 'What should I sing to you?'..."
- Krishna Das
Watch the full conversation below from 2015 with KD's dear friend, Roshi Bernie Glassman, who left his body last Sunday. It's full of honest, raw personal experiences from Zen Peacemakers' Bearing Witness Retreats. Includes a rare video of KD chanting in Birkenau.
In the late 90’s as I traveled around chanting, these very fierce looking shaven-headed beings would approach me after the chanting was over and with great seriousness would say, “Bernie sent me.” I was too afraid to ask any questions for a long time, but finally one night I blurted out, “Who’s Bernie?” I was told they were talking about a Zen roshi, Roshi Bernie Glassman whom I had never met but had heard about. I heard that he took people on “homeless” retreats in the streets of New York, that he also took people to Auschwitz with his non-profit Zen Peacemakers, where they stayed for a week, offering prayers and religious ceremonies. I thought that this must be an amazing guy. Then I him, and his wife Eve , at Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas during the week before New Year’s Eve 2000. For me it was love at first sight. We got very close. One day he handed me some lines in English of a prayer from the Japanese Buddhist Canon that Bernie and his students chanted regularly. He said, “Can you do something with this?” I said, “Like what?” He said “We Buddhists aren’t so good with melody. Maybe you could come up with a good melody so we can sing it in our ceremonies.” “Well, I’ll try” “And at the next gathering of the Peacemaker Community, you can sing it.” I smiled and though ‘Jeez! Nothing like a little pressure,’ but just said, “OK. Great!”
The gathering was not for 11 months so I figured I might be able to get it together. I carried that paper around with me and looked at it from every different angle but it still wasn’t happening. At one point, I emailed him to ask if I could mess with the words a little because they didn’t flow well in English. I got a very Zen response, “Mess.”
There were 2 weeks left before the gathering. I was sitting one day looking at the ocean and the whole thing just dropped on me. I realized that it would also be a good melody for the Hanuman Chaleesa. The prayer reflects Bernie’s great compassion and caring for all Beings, not just the ones we can see but all Beings in all stages and planes of existence. It is an offering to all Beings of a meal to allay the pain of the unending, relentless hungers that can never be satisfied. After I had sung the prayer at the Peacemaker gathering, I got an email from Bernie saying that I could now start working on the rest of the prayer. I wrote back that it would take me at least 3 lifetimes to do it. I got another one-word email response from him, “Two.”
- Krishna Das
Bernie's Chalisa / Gate of Sweet Nectar Liner Notes, from Door of Faith. Bernie Glassman left his body this past Sunday.
We’re totally asleep, living in dreamland all day long, all life long. We’ve completely identified with the clouds and we never see the sky. We might have a feeling it’s there but we never look at it. The clouds are our thoughts our emotions. The sky is our true nature.
"We sing the Chalisa to remind Hanuman who he is, and in the very last verse, we ask him to come live in our hearts. Hanuman is the "knower of all hearts" and lives only to serve God within us and prepare us to live fully in the spirit. His entrance into our lives brings about the fulfillment of every desire. It's not necessary to ask Hanuman for anything, for he knows all. But as human beings, we honor and express the longing in our own hearts, recognizing our predicament - that we are stuck in the feeling of separateness. This reaching out destroys the sense of distance from the Beloved."
- Krishna Das, from Flow of Grace
Live from the gorgeous United Palace Theater in NYC after the film screening of "Mantra - Sounds into Silence".
From inside the chant we will understand everything we need to know, from within. Everything we need is inside of us.
- Krishna Das
“In the old days with Maharaj-ji, many times I would stand on the side and look out at the people who were looking at him. They were heavy and dark, and I would see them open up like flowers. It was the most beautiful thing in the world to see. To see them blossom like that in his presence. In that space that was generated around him. When I sing, I get to see the same thing. I see people come in and they bring their whole day with them. Maybe the stock markets’ crashed again, maybe their boss is yelling at them again. They come in and we sit down and start to chant and everybody gets lifted up into that space. It’s the most beautiful thing to see somebody drop their shit and relax and open up. That happens when I go around and sing and talk with people. It’s an incredible blessing to be part of that.”
- Krishna Das
Maharaj-ji used to always say, “Ram nam karne se sab pura ho jata.” From repeating these Names, Ram Nam, the Names of God, everything is brought to fullness and completion. The heart is made full, your life is made full, the karmas are completed in full. It’s a ripening process. It’s not required to learn anything. What is required is to train ourselves through these practices to release the negativity, to release the thoughts, the obsessive flow of thinking that just slaughters us all day long. That’s why we’re responding to the call. Because it’s the call to come home, to come back, to come home to ourselves.
“The thing about being with Maharaj-ji, being in his presence and that love, was that we were relieved of the responsibility of being our cranky old selves. We were allowed to just let go, we didn’t have to be those people that we were.”
– Krishna Das
Once I was very much in love with a woman. I was telling my Indian father, Mr. Tewari, about it and he was listening very patiently. When I finished he said, ‘My boy, relationships are business. Do your business. Enjoy your business. But love is what lasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Real love is who we are; it’s not between people. It’s not affection, it’s not caring, not attachment. It’s actually who we are. It’s our true nature.
- Krishna Das