“My thank you, to Krishna Das” – BLOG by Jacqualine Haller
(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11, “The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)
Krishna Das generously contributed an “OM” to my 5th Guided Meditation CD titled “Grace.”
Who you might ask is Krishna Das? Let’s start here.
Krishna Das is an incredible vocalist from the Unites States, lovingly known as the Godfather of Kirtan. I am not sure where he got that reference from, but he does give off a kind of Godfather aura in the very best way. Amongst many things, he is a Kirtan wallah (someone who leads others in a kirtan experience). In my mind, he has changed the landscape of chanting in North America and has inspired many after him to pick up the practice.
You may recall seeing him perform on the Grammys in 2013, where his album, “Live Ananda” was nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. I was blown away and completely impressed to see how the Grammy’s were so forward thinking in not only what they were recognizing, but who they chose to perform. Some of these Kirtan wallah’s are like superstars in their own right, and while this might be a very North American view on it (and some yogi’s might view my comment as ego-based), I don’t believe they are recognized nearly enough for dedicating their lives to this practice. But that will be for another blog.
Why ask for an OM from Krishna Das?
If you have ever heard his incredibly grounding voice, this question answers itself. He has an authentic quality to the sound that comes through him. It’s a no bullshit sound. It compels you to sit down, let go of your addiction to the distraction around you and go within.
It is the sound of no-nonsense, no-drama. I enjoy my meditations in that environment very much.
In early 2016, I flew down to Nassau, Bahamas to attend a retreat with Krishna Das. There is a beautiful Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas where it was hosted. It is an incredible place to visit and stay, if you have the opportunity to go. Ashram living, Bahamas style! If you have experienced Ashram living in India, this in comparison will blow your mind.
At the time, Krishna Das had decided to take a year off from all the travel he does around the world. This was his last workshop for a while. I flew down with a gift for him and my request. An afternoon of dialogue and kirtan, I get in line and patiently wait my turn. I have my gift bag in hand, which I feel is already getting some looks.
It’s my turn.
I thank him for the workshop, and wish him a relaxing year ahead. I wanted as little attention to it as possible. I reach down and place the bag in his hand and ramble off that it was a little something for him and I was on my way.
As lovely as that was, I have to tell you I was grateful it was over. I think I built so much in my head about asking him, that it had created nervousness in me that isn’t really who I am. My card to him was simple enough and explained it all; I had flown to the Bahamas to ask him for an OM.
He responded. No drama, no nonsense… just the gift of ‘yes.’
Christmas day, December 25, 2016 7:17pm. I had offered a community meditation class at Jaya Yoga Centre in Toronto. I remember finishing the class and coming into the reception area to leave the students in quiet. I glance at my phone. There was an email from Krishna Das saying that Nina, his lovely assistant and Kirtan wallah in her own right, would be in contact with me to get this going.
Spring 2018, a friend and I make the trip to Kripalu for a Krishna Das weekend retreat. Another incredible place of healing and calm. And just like the moment in Nassau, an afternoon of dialogue and mantra. I make my way to the front to give him a final copy of my Meditation CD “Grace.” He was humble and grounded about it, in Krishna Das style.
If you have never heard of Krishna Das, I would encourage you to seek out any of his 14 albums. You won’t be disappointed. To learn more about Krishna Das, his incredible life journey and to tap into any of his amazing albums, visit www.krishnadas.com.
Which is my favourite?
“Shri Guru Charanam” from his album “Live On Earth.”
What does “Shri Guru Charanam” mean?
“I surrender to the feet of the Guru (Gura means teacher), and find my refuge in God.”
To download “Grace,” my 5th Guided Meditation Album in the Jaya Meditation Collection, that has Krishna Das as my guest chanter, visit www.jayameditation.com.
My deepest thank you to him. While he was beyond humble when I shared my mumbled words of thanks, his contribution is significant to me.
With great respect, I honor his life work and his grounding OM.