Spirituality & Music

Krishna Das – Ep. 42 – Spirituality & Music

This week on, Pilgrim Heart, Krishna Das answers questions about spirituality & music.

What is the best way to deal with prejudice and misconceptions about our personal practice? KD answers this and addresses where the real power of chanting and kirtan comes from.


Show Notes


Sub Ek (Opening) – Krishna Das is asked about performing Kirtan for prisoners in West Virginia. Initially, the audience began to get into the music. When it came time for “Hare Krishna,” however, he lost the crowd. The way that those men had been exposed to that song and their misunderstanding kept them from letting the music in, unlike the rest of the performance. Without their preconceptions and labels, they were able to enjoy the music and let the Name do its work.

An audience member asks KD how he deals with moments like this, where someone’s religious prejudices and misconceptions come into play. KD doesn’t let this sort of thing get him down. KD does not see the music he plays as religious; his music is spiritual. To KD being spiritual means working on yourself and your spirit.


“You don’t have to lay anything on people; you just have to meet them where they are. You don’t have to challenge people. I don’t think it is useful.”

– KD, on sharing practice

KD on Music (07:45) – Has KD’s experience or perception of Western music changed since he first left for India?

Another music question regarding a particularly moving Townes Van Zandt song that KD sometimes likes to play during mic check. He discusses Van Zandt’s extraordinary songwriting and his heartbreaking story.


Guru (13:30) – In what way does Krishna Das try to emulate his Guru?


“I try to enter into that loving presence and live in that loving presence as much as I can. That is the real Guru, that love. Not the Baba, not the body, not the blanket, not the cute little smile and pat on the head. The being in there, the love in there, is the Guru. I do try to emulate that as much as I can, but not externally, that’s not it at all.”

– KD, on emulating the Guru

Chanting and Spiritualism (15:45) – What role does KD see music playing in the spiritual shift that is currently taking place in the West?


“It’s the repetition of ‘The Name’ that is planting the seeds within us of reality, so to speak, not the music. The music makes it easier to take the medicine.”

– KD, on the power of chanting


To hear more of what Maharaji’s had to say about the principal of Sub Ek check out THIS EXCERPT from Kesav Das’s book, Barefoot in the Heart: Remembering Neem Karoli Baba.” If you are interested in hearing more from Krishna Das, check out the Awakened Heart Blog.

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