When Rock meets devotional

Jan 15, 2015, 07:49 IST | Hassan M Kamal

We can hear elements of Rock in your music style. Can Bhakti and Rock come together? What challenges did you face while making your album, Kirtan Wallah

Q. We can hear elements of Rock in your music style. Can Bhakti and Rock come together? What challenges did you face while making your album, Kirtan Wallah?
A. Bhakti and Rock come together in me. Rock is a style of music, what’s happening (here) is repeating the name. What’s spiritual is what dissolves the mind, the chanting. The challenge is always the same when you are recording — to ensure that the Bhav and the feeling is transmitted through the music and isn’t lost in the studio in the recording process.

Krishna Das conducting a session
Often touted as the Rockstar of Yoga, Krishna Das (born Jeffrey Kagel) mixes Rock with Hindu devotional music kirtan. Kirtan Wallah is the latest album of the vocalist, who was nominated in the Best New Age Album category in 2013 Grammy Awards for his label, Live Ananda.

Q. Where did you learn to play Indian instruments? And who have been your biggest inspirations so far?
A. The harmonium is similar to the piano. As a child I took piano lessons. I can’t play any other Indian instruments. My biggest inspiration was singing with the Kirtan wallahs at the Kainchi temple (in Uttarakhand). Being exposed to that kind of spiritual practice was one of India’s greatest gifts that I take back with me.

Krishna Das conducting a session
Krishna Das conducting a session

Q. India has been witnessing a growth in Hindu nationalism, and cases of religious teachers/heads of organisations involved in morally corrupt practices have emerged. People suggest that it has been affecting the image of Hinduism as a peaceful religion, built over centuries. Do you feel hurt/affected by how Hinduism has now begun to be portrayed in India?
A. I don’t think it’s Hinduism that’s being portrayed badly. Individuals who are posing as religious leaders are corrupt. Hinduism is an extraordinarily deep beautiful spiritual path. It is pure from Day One till the end of time. It is the motives of deluded, selfish and corrupt individuals that bring shame to something that is pure. The No 1 requirement on the spiritual path is honesty with one’s self and others. Great saints never owned anything or ran organisations. They had no personal desires to satisfy. They lived only with compassion for those didn’t know what life is about. All human activity is based on self-centered desire. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. One must eat and breathe. Humans run religious and other organisations; humans are complex with different types of motives. Corruption in organisations is not new and no one should be surprised that it happens. More importantly, nobody should be surprised that in this day and age, where it’s difficult to keep secrets, corruption won’t become public knowledge.

Workshop On: Today, 7 pm
At: The Spiritual Company Centre, Dadar (W).
Performance On: January 16, 7 pm onwards
At: Yogi Sabhagriha, Dadar (E).
Entry: Rs 750 onwards
Call: 9619322123/ 9699105699

Go to top