Nothing to do with aromatics here—I’ve just returned from a weekend or Kirtan with Krishna Das at Yogaville, the Virginia Ashram started by Sri Swami Satchidananda, the founder of Integral Yoga. And all I can say is: So Sweet!
Over 3 days we had 6 sessions with KD, each at least 2 hours. It included the usual chanting, singing the holy names in Sanskrit—this is one of my favorite things to do. But the added bonus is that when you attend a workshop with the Sweet Creature (my name for him,) you get to sit around and listen to him talk and it’s really worth while: he has gone through enough hell to not care any more. He tells it like it is, as he sees it, and this is harder to find than you may think. It’s easy to find people who love to shout their opinions, but another question entirely to find someone who can and will talk about the really hard and painful realities of the heart, the spirit, experience, self delusion and self doubt. And not only does he talk about this stuff but he does it with no agenda. By this I mean there is no ulterior motive to sell you anything. There is no dogma, no dharma, no religion, nothing to buy, nothing to sign up for, no one to bow to, no one to follow, nothing. You can buy a CD if you want. Or you can download off the internet. People do both and KD doesn’t appear to be bothered that these chants are bootlegged so much.
He just explains what he has learned in his very interesting and intense life. He doesn’t even pretend that it’s going to work for you, he just says this is what he knows, period. And then he tells you that it’s not much. Basically he feels that by chanting the holy names of God in Sanskrit, the core of ourselves, which is love, will begin, “gradually but inevitably” to come through, that this chanting will uncover all the stuff that covers our true nature, our true selves. Enough people are interested in this philosophy, or belief, or whatever you want to call it, to pack every event he does. It’s just a relief to sit there with him, as I feel an honesty and strength I don’t feel in too many places. Call it an authenticity if you like, and a completely bare one. My Father had it. My Golden retriever had it. It’s like being home. I know a few other people who have it too, but I think it’s gets more prominent the older one gets.
Yes, this is a love fest, a wallow in admiration and delight with the Sweet Creature. I have no choice—he makes me realize how happy I can be.
And he’s irritable. I love that. Of course he is! How could you not be? I am! So is Tom! I can totally and completely relate to being irritated and aggravated—the Sweet Creature calls it “moping.” I can’t even imagine how irritating it would be to be him, despite all the love and bliss. And so I rarely go talk to him, as he does everything in his power to discourage it. But he reminds me of my father in that regard, and so I just feel fond and delighted and sometimes I want to go up and give him a little push. His baleful look absolutely connects me back to hanging out with my dad. It’s completely delightful. And so sweet…did I say that already?
So we sit around and he talks about his experiences and most of the time his point seems to be just how bad it got, and how his guru Maharaji (Neem Karoli Baba) saved his life, so many times. And he speaks so frankly, and it’s all so ridiculous, as is just about everything, that it’s completely riveting. And he is hilarious, and getting funnier all the time. His energy and humor is like someone who has spent a long life time on the pilgrammage to hell and back and finally he’s been so hurt, and so tired, and had so many close calls, and so many disappointments, crashes, and deaths, that he just can’t be bothered with any of that bullshit anymore. It’s like when someone you love very much dies, you can’t fake anything for a long long time. You simply don’t have the interest.
I had never had any interest in kirtan, or chanting, and, if anything, the idea of Krishna Das sounded like more New Age crap to me. This was in the early 21st century. After my mother and Robear died I found myself holding the “Door of Faith” CD in the music store one night. I still can’t explain why I was attracted to it but I could not put it down, so I bought it and took it home and played the entire thing sitting on my bed, shoes still on I think, silently reading the lyrics as he sang in that beautiful baritone, through the entire album and then replayed the whole thing. The next morning I started trying to sing along, and that made it even better. I had never imagined anything so sweet. And the interesting thing is that I play KD constantly and I never get sick of him. It’s always a treat to hear that Sweet Creature.
So before I begin to sound like a nut, I’ll stop this entry, with his website, and you have any interest you can check out his website