One of my dreams has always been to attend a kirtan with Krishna Das. I don’t know how many hours I have spent listening to his music. It always fills me with a sense of joy and understanding that everything is alright. Krishna Das music has also been the main factor behind many of my spiritual experiences. As I sit and listen to the music I tend to float away and where I end up is always different. Due to this, I was eager to experience his kirtan in person. I looked at his website and noticed that he had scheduled his yearly heart of devotion kirtan & workshop in New York. I knew I had to take this opportunity. I could no longer wait until he might cross the sea to play in Europe. I booked my flight ticket and headed to New York. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to get my expectations up so I’d end up disappointed.
Finally, the day was here. I was about to see Krishna Das live for the very first time. I arrived at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew well in advance to get good seats. Luckily I was able to get seats on the front row, sitting just a few meters away from him. The concert started with the special guest Baird Hersey and Prana singing a few songs. It was really beautiful and I was glad I got to experience their music as well. But as they said themselves, we were all waiting for the King of Kirtan. He finally took the stage and sang the wonderful song My Foolish Heart. I could instantly feel the vibration in Krishna Das voice. It touched my very being. After the song, he sat down at his harmonium and begun with the Hanuman Prayer. Directly at the first Ohm, I felt something. A space was created within me. A space where only the kirtan and my awareness existed. Time and space ceased to exist and I was floating in infinity.
As the kirtan began I started singing along. At this moment I could feel Maharaj-jis presence. Everything else ceased to exist and I could feel only his presence. There were no thoughts that would interrupt. I just kept my eyes closed since I felt that it enhanced the experience. I was in my own cocoon where I took in the experience of God chanting and God responding. But the cocoon I was in was not the only mine. It was the space of everyone in the room. With the chanting, everything merged into one. There was no separation in the space. It was a hundred times stronger than what I experienced listening to Krishna Das on my stereo. My state of awareness was something beyond that.
The kirtan practice gives you an opportunity to forget everything else and enter into your divinity. But it also creates an opportunity for practice. As the evening progressed I noticed I couldn’t stay there indefinitely. Sometimes my thoughts came in the way and sometimes my body ached which made me come out of it. The same goes for life. There’s always something trying to take away from your true self. The more we can find ourselves within our divine space, which becomes so apparent during kirtan, the more joy, and happiness we can find in our lives.
The strongest experience during the whole evening was when the band performed one of Krishna Das newer songs called Om Namo Gurudev. As the chants to Maharaj-ji kept repeating I just felt how my heart opened up. Finally, I could not hold it back anymore. The tears just started bursting out of me. But it was not tears of sadness, it was tears of joy. I just felt how my life, my existence, the whole universe was a product of the grace of Maharaj-ji. Being able to experience life was all due to his grace. Every precious moment I owe to him. I owe to God. Even though there were so many people in the room I could not hold back my tears, nor did I want to. These were tears of gratitude and I did not want to hide them from anyone.
As the evening progressed I experienced such genuine joy. People were singing, dancing and there was a smile on every person around me. I remember thinking to myself, I wish I could do this every day of my life. If people would know the feeling that Krishna Das create with his music there would be much less sorrow in the world. I felt so thankful and happy that I would experience it again the next day.
During the workshop, there were fewer people who created a closer feeling. People were asking questions to him and with his answers, you could sense the authenticity within him. He was doing all of this from his heart. Krishna Das was very honest with his answers, which I really appreciated. He gave you an answer that made you think instead of giving you what you only want to hear.
I especially enjoyed his stories of Maharaj-ji. He was able to create a glimpse of who this wonderful saint was. Throughout these two days what was amazing was that you could actually feel Maharaj-ji. In the voice and the music, Maharaj-ji was dancing. With every answer during the workshop, you could sense a lot of it came from the wisdom Krishna Das gather during his time with Maharaj-ji.
I left New York with such great experiences and I had learned so much. Whenever I think back of these two days it brings a smile to my face and I can feel Maharaj-ji within my heart.
Thank you, Krishna Das!