Just back from Bhakti Fest and what a wild ride it was! Bhakti Fest is a four day pilgrimage, filled with the sacred healing sounds of 24 hour a day Kirtan and all forms of Mantra Music. Also there is amazing Yoga, delicious Prasadam (sacred, blessed food), breath work, meditation and healing modalities of all kinds. In other words, a mini heavenly planet. People from all walks of life were there to bask in the condensed wealth of bhava~a spiritually ecstatic atmosphere. I can’t speak for everyone, I can only tell of my own experience. But by Saturday everything was making me cry. The Shyam das version of the Madhurastakam (Song of Sweetness), with the beautiful Deva Premal and Miten singing along, accompanied by Mantralogy’s own Sri Kirtan, and Arjuna of Krishna das fame on Tabla, had me pouring my eyes out. Something cracked open inside me that had been closed up for too long, as we sang about all the incredibly sweet (in the words of Shyam das “freakin” ridiculously sweet”) qualities of Sri Krishna and His beloved Radha.
I left Shyam das’s Kirtan and went straight to watch the Hanumen. As I entered the big tent, which is located by the main stage, I was met by the sight of people brought to tears, their ears filled with the poetry of John de Kadt, Gaura’s melodies and Benjy’s unstoppable rhythms. Plus, Puru’s rocking bass injecting a steady and solid foundation. In my opinion, nothing beats being with a bunch of folks singing and the feeling of satisfaction that only an inner pilgrimage of the heart can give. I don’t want to blow the whistle on him, but a certain drummer, who won’t be named right now, but might have beem wearing a cowboy hat, had tears pouring down his cheeks. There is no denying that the Holy Name melt the heart.
Later that night, as the sun went down, people nestled in, taking shelter of the cool night air. We were treated to hearing the ever amazing Krishna das. He never disappoints. Krisha das brings the listeners to places deep and wide, in terms of spiritual ecstacy, time and again. That night was no exception. As the desert sun gave way to a starry night, we sat together drank in the sound.
Now a little word about the Shakti Ma presence of Kamaniya, Ishwari, Prajna, Vrinda and Dhanya! These women know how to break hearts with their devotion. What more can I say? Each woman has her own flavor of Bhava. Ishwari was called ” the Patti Smith” of Kirtan, within ear shot of me. Prajna and Kamaniya carry themselves with the potency of gandharvas, angels who sing kirtan for the pleasure of God. The two Mayapuri grrrls can call on some wild power from places most of us hope to find NEXT lifetime.
Other hightlights were the morning Hanuman Chalisas by Nina Rao and Zack Leary, and of course Prema Hara, who gifted us with their tender morning ragas. Prema Hara’s music is a smooth boat trip down the Yamuna. Delightful, meandering and full of devotion. Thank you, Kesavaacharya and Kamaniya for being so amazing.
Thank you also to Shridar for creating this wonderful fest and for all the many beautiful people dealing with things like the port-o-potties and the trash and the electic and water supplies. Mantralogy bows to you and hopes for many returns to the Sacred land of the Joshua Tree.
Quick Reminder! Don’t forget to order your tickets for the NYC Bhajan Boat Benefit Cruise on Sept 30. Tickets are flying!
Free down loads from 24 Hour Kirtan in New Vrindavan are now on mantralogy.com