Chanting is the repetitive rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often at only one or two pitches or tones. The presence of chanting occurs in many different belief traditions, though the prescribed practice or intended effects may differ slightly. Many have found chanting to increase connection to the Divine, heal mental blockages, protect the mind, and work to heal physical ailments.
Anjula: For you who don’t know, Krishna Das is known as the rock star of Yoga. He’s a kirtan singer. Could you just break down a little what kirtan is? Krishna Das: Kirtan is a chanting practice. It’s a spiritual practice, a meditational practice, but it involves singing and chanting.
When one hears a chant like Aum Namoh Bhagvate Vasudevaya, it is not a Grammy award ceremony that comes to mind as the setting of such chanting; but that is precisely what Krishna Das has been able to do—take cherished age-old Indian kirtans to a global stage such as the Grammys.
“I understand there are people who feel that what happens in the West with chanting is ridiculous—what do we know about chanting?” says Krishna Das, the white guy from Long Island whose name is synonymous with Indian mantric music in America. “That’s really dumb.
If the Kirtan world had rockstars, it would Krishna Das. Originally from Long Island KD, as he is affectionately known, spent the late 60s travelling and living in India where he met his guru Neem Karoli Baba, known to most as Maharaj-ji.