This weeks offering from the Hanumen is beautiful song called “I Love You.” Please support the Hanumen! Let’s make this a great week for this incredible Mantra Music group.
To buys ticket for any of The Hanumen’s extensive summer tour click here!
Also- we are anxiously awaiting the release of Devadas’s first Mantralogy record! He is the co-writer of the sound track for Krishna Das’s documentary, One Track Heart, and the producer of Nina Rao’s latest album. Brooklyn Mellows is a deeply devotional album, and Devadas’s voice is so mesmerizing. Street date for this release is May 28- but you can pre-order now, and get a t-shirt as well, and receive your album right on May 28.
Brooklyn Mellows is the Mantralogy debut of NYC kirtaniya Devadas, with over 2 hours of bhajan and kirtan featuring Terrence Pompey, Nina Rao, Anjula Saraswati Prasad, Mark Gorman, Sundar Das, Richard Davis, Genevieve Walker, J Mascis, Nirmala, Shyama, Ambika and more.
Please join us at Brooklyn Yoga School, located at 82 6th Ave in Brooklyn, NY 11215, for the CD release party. Evening includes live kirtan with Devadas and friends and a first-listen to the new cd. Admission is free! CDs and T-Shirts will be on sale!
It promises to be an exciting summer for Mantralogy Kirtan and Sacred Mantra Music~ Also, stay tuned for news on this years Bhajan Boats.
We are so excited to share with you Zydeco Hare Krishna! The first single from the Hanumen’s self titled debut Mantralogy release.
When Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, it was given to the readers one chapter at a time. We will be sharing the songs from this album in the same way. Every week, please check out the Mantralogy site to find out which song is available-every week until the album street date- June 25.
Also, don’t miss out on the Devadas Brooklyn Mellows Pre-order. Order this incredible new offering, with a fun novel t shirt, which ships to you by the end of May. Don’t miss out on this special offering!
And keep your eyes peeled for Jahnavi Harrison’s new album, which she is recording with Gaura Vani now. Her voice is luminous and she is a brilliant devotional musician. We anticipate this release with incredible excitement.
OUR JUNE 2013 TOUR
After his successful tour with Gopi Kinnicutt to the Maha Kumbha Mela, Vish is gearing up to lead his own retreat this summer:
A Himalayan Adventure – A Spiritual Retreat and Pilgrimage – June 20th to July 2nd
Relax, renew, and get invigorated with daily kirtan and yoga in the fresh Himalayan mountain-air.
Since India is very hot during this time, we head up to the cool mountains areas: breath-taking views, trekking, kirtan, white-water rafting, yoga, story-telling, as we visit the source of holy river Ganga, and several other places around the Himalayas.
This retreat will be an immersion in the legends of the Himalayas, ancient Vedic stories, their application in our daily lives, and lots of kirtan singing and dancing. We invoke the sacred energies through in-depth stories and chants that highlight the significance of each site.
What You Can Expect: breath-taking views, life-changing insights, trekking through the mountains, heart-awakening kirtan, opportunities for transformation, yoga, white-water rafting, story-telling, wholesome vegetarian food, friendships, bathing in holy waters, puja-offerings, mantra meditation.
Hrishikesh – the famous Beatles hot-spot at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Gangotri – An adventurous trek to the glacier source of the holy Ganges, situated at a height of 3042 m above sea level.
for more info please check out:http://kirtanyogaretreats.wordpress.com/
Inviting all Kirtan and Mantra Music Lovers!
Please come join us in New Vrindaban for the 2013 24 Hour Kirtan, June 15-16
2013! Be part of this epic cycle of a full 24 Hours of the best Maha
Mantra meditation of the year. Non-stop Bhakti in an idyllic rural farm
community in West Virginia, known as New Vrindaban. Come see an authentic
Radha-Krishna temple right here in the States, and hear the incredible,
melodious musicians who come from all over the world to lead hundreds of
chanters in a glorious day and night of unbroken prayer to the Divine.
Many chanters come to this, who are undiscovered, but topmost in their
realization and dedication to Bhakti. They are chanters who have the ability
to bring you to a place of sacred heart opening that you thought was
previously unattainable. Feel the layers of dust peel away from the mirror
of the heart as the hours unfold, and be surrounded by hundreds of other
wonderful souls doing the same! Also worth seeing is The Palace of Gold and
the incredible Rose Garden, both famous tourist attractions in West
A small entry fee of 25 dollars (or more, according to your means and
desire) is requested which covers both your entry into the Kirtan and pure
vegetarian meals during the festival. The accommodations are separate and
limited, so book early to assure your spot. This event has sold out for the
past few years, and will sell out this year. Accommodations on site can be
booked through the New Vrindaban website. newvrindaban.com
Camping on site is also an option. Please consider joining Gaura Vani and
this crew of worldwide chant masters for a life transforming day of full
immersion in the Bhav.
More info to come, throughout the spring!
To my dear Uncle Shyam,
Much has been written about you by those who are more qualified to encapsulate who you are in your entirety. As I bring you to my mind’s eye, or play one of your signature tunes on the harmonium, I just feel deeply grateful for the sanga I was able to share with you.
Growing up in a fairly insular Vaishnava community, my first experiences of doing kirtan in the broader ‘yoga world’ were sometimes bewildering or distasteful. The ISKCON youth trying to do so, were making an outreaching endeavour that our parent’s generation had not been so interested in previously. In trying to establish and transplant a whole spiritual, cultural movement to the West during the 70s and 80s, many of them became necessarily inward focused and reluctant to engage in interfaith/interlineage dialogue for fear of diluting or muddying what their teacher had given them. Now we as their children began to reach out to this broader spiritual community, not sure what we would find. In 2009 a group of us, myself, Gaura Vani and the Mayapuris, embarked on a cross North America kirtan tour and our first stop was near Albany, where we connected with you.
You took us, a pack of 2nd generation Hare Krishna kids out for an afternoon stroll through the woods. I didn’t know much about you, but was instantly charmed by your unapologetic dhoti wearing; the way you trudged along the forest paths with us, chatting about this and that, then would suddenly launch into a Brijbhasa stanza on the groves of Vrindaban, or the dazzling beauty of Krishna. We were surprised to feel at home with you, especially when you sat us down on a picnic bench and pulled out a baggie of prasad from your daily worship.
Even after this first meeting, it took me a while to get used to your kirtan. Growing up in the ISKCON Gaudiya Vaishnava community, I have been trained to be naturally wary of eccentric displays of enthusiasm or emotion in a devotional context, especially in public gathering. This cautionary attitude is encouraged to try to prevent ‘sahajayism’ – the external show of a much higher level of devotional ecstasy than one is actually qualified to experience. I was initially alarmed by the way you sang with barely containable gusto, frequent jokes in both Hindi and English, shuddering shoulder shakes and sometimes a Joe Cocker growl – I couldn’t put you in a box, but soon I couldn’t help feeling deep affection either. You were just being you – uniquely Shyam, able to put everyone at ease with good humour, before singing to your Lord with true depth and gravitas.
As we traversed the yoga and spiritual communities of North America and further afield, I quickly became accustomed to encountering a broad spectrum of ideas about spirituality and bhakti, much more nebulous than I had ever experienced before. In the midst of much spandex and speculation, your straight talking presence was a balm. Where we were worried about whether or not traditional dress would cut the right image to share our offerings, you were totally cool in your airy bundi kurta, baseball cap and dhoti. Where we were struggling to juggle the navigate a new arena, you were in your element, bringing your baggies of homemade prasad, and discussing pure bhakti philosophy over lunch with whoever would listen. You became an instant Uncle, a well wisher and an ever ready source of wisdom, humour, and devotion.
Once over dinner you told a group of us how you had been waiting for years for the Hare Krishna kids to grow up and join you at the kirtan festivals. Your affection for us, and your open and enthusiastic way of sharing the teachings of your own Pushti Marg tradition was eye opening. Your passion for the Bhagavatam – recounting the stories of Sri Krishna’s pastimes, enthused us to take seriously the wealth that we had perhaps taken for granted through childhood.
Your sole motive was to inspire bhakti, to ignite a genuine love for Sri Krishna. Though you were a Sanskrit scholar, highly learned in the teachings of your own lineage and of others, and I am exactly the opposite, you would enthusiastically engage me in comparative discussion of our traditions. Once we sat in your temple room and you taught me a beautiful pada by one of the Ashtachhap poets on Radha and Krishna. With the Hudson sparkling outside the window, we dove into the poetry and could’ve been on the bank of the Yamuna – you had this ability to bring the colour and sweetness of the land of Vrindavan into a simple moment. Later in a long car ride you asked me to teach you the Siksastakam by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and I did my best to carefully translate each word, though you could already understand so much. Though I knew historically our lineages were in some tension, with Sriman Vallabhacarya and Sri Caitanya both being titled ‘Mahaprabhu’, I found your respectful interest and enquiry touching and telling of your broad mindedness.
Whilst I was lucky to share many a kirtan with you, and play violin in most, pushing myself to wrap around the classical ragas you chose at different times of day, there is one time that we shared that I remember most fondly. You had asked me to come and play violin for your kirtan in Westport, Connecticut, but first needed to spend one night and day at your family home for the annual Schaffer family meeting. You encouraged me to come along, though insisted I would have to hide during the day as the meeting was highly private and my presence would be very inappropriate. I warily accepted and soon found myself being welcomed in a large, grand home, surrounded by towering trees. Coming from a North American Jewish heritage on one side, I somehow felt right at home with the odd mix of chit chat over bagels upstairs, and sitting with you in the carpeted basement, chanting japa as you performed your puja for Thakurji. You made the effort to cook for him even then, though it was practical – all in one in a rice cooker. Upstairs, we mingled with your gracious family, and I was touched to see the way they loved and respected you, despite the fact that you were clearly an oddball.
You explained to me that it was the family tradition to go to a fancy charity ball after the family meeting, and again, insisted I come. Everyone was dressed up in suits and fancy jewellery, and even you pulled out a blue sports jacket and ‘proper shoes’. Unprepared, I had only a cotton punjabi dress but held my breath and we dove into the thick of Connecticut’s moneyed partygoers. The evening was a lesson to me in Vaisnava behaviour. My grandfather-guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada used to say that you could recognise a Vaisnava by the fact that he was a perfect gentleman, and I observed this fully that night. Though we both felt out of place, I was impressed with how you connected genuinely with everyone and found ways to drop in spiritual encouragement in every exchange. The party boasted a buffet from all over the world, but every table contained a vast array of different non-vegetarian dishes. We looked at each other and without having to say anything, we made a bee-line for the bread rolls and sliced tomatoes. Loading up our plates we sat in a corner on two chairs, offered it mentally to Krishna and with a ‘Mahaprasad ki jai!’ tucked in. It was surreal, but gave me deep encouragement that a lover of God can remain a loving ambassador, no matter what the circumstances. Our simple bonding over our shared values reminded me how ridiculous it is when different lovers of God bicker amongst each other over slight differences in practise.
Thank you for diving deep into your own practise and sharing the wealth you found so openly with all. Thank for helping me to appreciate my own tradition more deeply, and for helping me to better honour others. Thank you for the poetic, creative, urgent, full, focused, ever curious way that you lived your life. If anyone showed a seed of interest in bhakti, you were ready to water them with affection, encouragement, and guidance until it flowered. For this, and so much more, thank you. I miss you, but I know that you will be wherever the kirtan is, so see you soon.
From GAURA VANI
“He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas (devotees) die,
When thou art living still in sound.
A Vaishnava dies to live,
And while living spreads the holy name around.”
FROM SRUTI RAM
My dear brother Shyam das has left this body behind and taken a lighter form in the presence of His beloved Krishna.
We all know how he lived and loved the life he enjoyed.
Last summer I related a story I had about a mutual friend to Shyam. After completing my list of complaints I awaited his advice. He looked at me and smiled and said “Delete”. We both laughed and agreed. I never forgot the manner in which he could cut through the maya and remember what was really important. I use this method till this day.
He always was supportive, kind, generous and loving. It seems impossible to think of anyone else who could give so much to so many.
But he left us with a community of loving souls to cherish and to continue building the Bhava for all to experience.
Now that we have to depend more on each other to continue, we have a responsibility to feed the Bhava account of the universe so others can know that through Love of the Divine we are continually loving each other.
Tell each other that we really do love each and every one of our associates—-it might be the last time we have that opportunity.
To all my Guru bhai—-I Love YOU–sincerely—-SrutiRam
There was no one else like him. He was a kind of divine lunatic… a fountainhead of bhava, a wellspring of esoteric scriptural knowledge, a Mad Scientist of kirtan, weaving poetic discourse and mantra together into rich, dizzying tapestries, and above all a real force of Love… kind, open-hearted and generous to the core. What’s that famous Kerouac quote? About the Mad Ones? The ones “mad to live…” “the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” That’s him, to me.
I’ve heard my Guru say, of certain great teachers, that their life is their real message. To me, as a seeker, Shyam’s is one worthy of great consideration, as it was steeped in service, in devotion, in kirtan, in satsang, and in generosity. All one can really do is pranam to the spirit in which he lived.
FROM JOHN DE KADT
Shyamdas I will miss your crazy brilliant wisdom… Your true deep raw song to the one…. Your giant sense of play… Your sharp mind…. And your honey filled heart.
We will miss you terribly sweet brother… The world will not be the same without Shyamdas…. You have gone to the one you love …. To be love )).
FROM VISH OF THE MAYAPURIS
Just the night before hearing of his tragic departure from this world I watched ‘Enlighten Up’ on netflix. When I saw Shyamdas in Vrindavan I felt like crying. A wave of emotion washed over me. I felt so much appreciation for one who understood Vraja and associated with the holy residents so intimately. He connected many people to the Dham and he brought Vrindavan with him wherever he was. I am devastated.
I can only pray to meet you again in the presence of your Thakurji.
Shyamdasji, to me you are a dear friend, a teacher, a pure vaisnava, vrajavasi, bhav singer, sanskrit/vrajbhasa scholar, delicious cook, bhakti conduit, my quirky uncle that I love very much. Your gain, our loss as we offer each other our condolences. Sri Krsna Sharanam Mama
FROM BENJY WERTHEIMER
As I sat to lead a chant at a meditation retreat, an exquisite picture of Shyam Das flashed on my phone … along with the news of his passing.
This is a retreat where mauna -voluntary silence – is the order of the day. Yet at such a time I am compelled to share my loving remembrance of a man who, like Neem Karoli Baba’s characterization of Jesus, “lost himself in love.”
He invited all in his presence to do the same.
I’ll never forget our first meeting – Omega Ecstatic Chant 2004 – and how, once he knew I spoke Hindi, he’d no longer converse with me in English … and it was clearly out of love! He knew I was aching for a chance to speak in a language that I loved and rarely could share here in the US…
In his teaching, in his singing, in his stories and truly brilliant discourses on the heart of Bhakti, he beckoned us always to lose ourselves in Love. He did so from a place where music, unerring devotion, deep scholarship and uninhibited joie de vivre joined in an irresistible invitation to dive into our hearts … and there to find God.
And now he has taken the ultimate step in losing yourself to Love … he is now eternally with his Beloved.
Though it is sad for us in this realm to never again hear his voice, play music with him or hug him as I so loved to do, this world has been immeasurably blessed by his all-too-short visit here.
Shyamdas Bhai, I will miss you…
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF OUR APPRECIATIONS. MORE TO COME. OUR SHYAMDAS WILL BE SO MISSED.
Mantralogy is excited to offer the beloved Saraswati Harmony design on a new garment for winter. The cold season is not over yet. We still have a fire in our woodstove in May in Upstate NY, so I will be wearing my Harmony top till then. And realistically it will come in handy on the cooler nights of summer. Offered for 40$. Yoga studios can make ora no minimum order, so think about it. It’s fun, and affordable in this yoga world of the ubercostly yoga garment. Try it on for size! email@example.com.
January is a long, cold month in Upstate, NY. Come warm your bodies and hearts and check out this film at Key 2 Joy Yoga just 5 minutes north of Albany NY. Keli and Sachi, Mantralogy co-founders, will be on hand to answer questions about the film and about the path of Bhakti Yoga. They will also lead a fun, heart-felt Kirtan. Lovers of Bhakti and Kirtan unite this winter. Only 10$. Visit www.key2joy.com for more info. or e mail Keli directly at firstname.lastname@example.org! See you there.
Five hundred years ago, in a tiny village in Bengal, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made a prediction that the chanting of the Holy Names of the Divine would be practiced by communities in every town and village all over the world. When I first heard this 20 years ago, I was very skeptical. I thought it was a lovely image, and nothing more. How little faith I had. Chaitanya’s prediction is coming true! Everywhere around the globe, Kirtan is being sung! How wonderful and amazing that we are all alive on this planet as Kirtan and Mantra Music reach the tipping point and begin to spread rapid fire in all directions. We at Mantralogy, are feeling very blessed indeed.
News from around the Globe:
Gaura Vani is just home from a successful tour of South Africa and is slated to return to the studio this spring to produce some wonderful new Kirtan, including Jahnavi Harrison’s debut solo album. There are many other wonderful and surprise new Kirtan offerings coming in 2013. Keep your eyes peeled.
Jahnavi has begun a London Kirtan Project with Krishna devotees from the UK with great success. Thank you to this beautiful soul for her incredible Bhakti and dedication.
The Mayapuris are teaming up with Gopi Kinnicutt for a trip of a life time to the Kumbha Mela this February. Gaura and Gopi will also be heading to Italy this fall for another fantastic transformational retreat to the sacred places of St. Francis and more! sambandhayoga.com for details and to register.
Prema Hara have been touring both the US and Europe and their album Tears of Love is Mantralogy’s top pick of Silenzio Music distribution in Germany, Austria and Swizerland! Their music can be heard in listening stations all over these three prominent Kirtan loving countries, spreading nectar to ears everywhere they go.
SRI KIRTAN took the mid-west by storm! A perennial Bhaktifest favorite, they were opening mid western hearts with their energetic kirtan this summer and will do it again next year. The many moments of their seva to the kirtan community are too many to mention here. Please see their website for more info.
Ben and Prajna have been making beautiful offerings on the pacific side of this country and plan on coming East in the fall. Contact email@example.com if you’d like to have them come to your studio or venue on the east coast! Let’s get them out here to spread the love!
Mantralogy would like to thank all of you for making any of what we do possible. We have had so many amazing times, with so many wonderful people. A special thanks to the producers of Ecstatic Chant, 24 Hour Kirtan, Bhakti Fest, Wanderlust, The Call and Response Foundation. Shyam das, Krishna das, Nina Rao and Sri Kirtan and Gaura Vani for their contributions to the NYC BHAJAN Boat which donated over 10,000$ to various charities. And a very special thanks to all the many small yoga studios everywhere which kindle and feed the Bhakti home fires in every town and village, especially Sadhana, Yoga Mandali, Govinda’s Studio, and Bodhi Holistic Spa.
Thank you Radhanath Swami, Sacinandana Swami, and all the other many wonderful friends and family members that are too numerous to mention here, but who manifest so much love and Bhakti so we never lose sight of what we are doing.
Lastly, if you have not yet seen The Women of Bhakti documentary, please consider a screening. Mantralogy is proud to be part of this unique and wonderful offering by producer and senior teacher in the Bhakti movement, Jahnava Hausner.
A Happy, Happy New Year to all!!! Sankirtan Yajna Ki Jai!!
A warm heart felt thanks to everyone who took part in the Mantra Music Revolution of 2012. Let’s keep the heart fire stoked for the next year and many years to come.
on behalf of Mantralogy,
Keli Lalita dasi