This past weekend I made the wonderful journey to Yogaville (where I underwent my yoga teacher’s training program) to see Krishna Das. This was my first time seeing Krishna Das, and I was without a doubt blown away.
If you’ve never heard of Krishna Das, well, he’s kind of a big deal in the yoga/chanting world. After spending almost three years in India, under the guidance of his beloved teacher, Maharaj-ji, Krishna Das fully immersed himself in learning the chants of Kirtan. Kirtan, which means “to repeat and chant the names of God” (God in terms of any religion, presence, universal life–atheism included), is a practice that is meant to help purify the heart. Once Krishna Das returned to America, he decided to begin his path of sharing the blessed gift of Kirtan with others. This path has led him to becoming a prominent name throughout the world.
The cool part about Krishna Das is that he’s certainly not your typical stereotyped spiritual leader, which lends himself to be relatable to almost all types of people. He’s incredibly down-to-earth, throwing in tons of humor, wit, and even a few cuss words every now and then as he shares his experiences of India and life in general. He doesn’t claim to be “right”, is always up for a good debate, and cherishes the fact that everyone’s perspectives are different.
Coming into the program, I honestly did not previously know much about Krishna Das. Nor did I know a tremendous amount about chanting, and I certainly did not consider myself to have a naturally-talented singing voice, so I wasn’t initially sure what to expect of the Krishna Das program in which I had come to participate at Yogaville. However, after the first song all my doubts were immediately washed away.
Krishna Das’s concerts are call-and-response styled performances, meaning he would sing two lines, and then the crowd would repeat those two lines together. Imagine a room full of around 200 smiling faces all sharing the words and tune of the exact same song, singing in harmony with one another. Such a vivid, powerful energy was created that seemed to burst throughout the room and was able to last for pretty much the entire weekend.
This naturally created energy in combination with Krishna Das’s strong, deep vocals, ringing through the room with such a remarkable power, had a crowd of all different faces, ages, and paths tapping their feet and clapping their hands. Those who couldn’t keep this tremendous energy created bolted to a seat quickly flocked to the back of the room. As the night went on, more and more dancers filled the back, eventually spilling out towards the center of the room.
Along with Krishna Das, who played the harmonium, was an incredibly talented violinist as well as a very skillful drummer. There was also a bassist and percussionist who helped enhance the performance. The blissful music of the violin with the energy of the drums and the rhythm of the base, all just worked so well in combination with Krishna Das’s warm, deep voice.
Whether you think singing/chanting/yoga is your thing or not, Krishna Das is undoubtedly an incredible performance worth seeing. I heard more than a few audience members commenting on how they felt a natural high after the 2-hour Kirtan performances, and seeing so many uplifted, happy faces brimming with energy surround you, it’s almost impossible not to feel good yourself.
Below is a short video clip from the weekend. It doesn’t even begin to capture the live experience of Krishna Das, but for those who are fully unfamiliar with Krishna Das, it’s a decent preview into what he does.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdbI0aKFdcE]