“CHANTS OF A LIFETIME”
SEARCHING FOR A HEART OF GOLD
By Krishna Das
In a Bill Moyers interview entitled “Love’s Confusing Joy” about the ecstatic poetry of the twelfth-century mystic, Rumi; contemporary Scholar, Coleman Barks said:
“If you think there is an important difference between a Muslim and a Jew, and a Christian and a Buddhist, and a Hindu, and a Shamanist; if you think there is an important difference between those categories, you are making a division between your heart, what you love with, and your ability to act in the world. Because the heart is the same, it leaps beyond those categories. There is some impulse to worship and to love that is common in everyone.”
“Chants of a Lifetime – Searching for a heart of gold”is just such a book to transcend these categories and transport us into the beauty of spiritual unity.
Talk about not judging a book by its cover! I might just as easily have passed on this book thinking it too esoteric for my taste, if a complimentary copy from Hay House publishers hadn’t literally shown up on my front door step recently. Now I am very glad it did.
So don’t be subdued by the title or the cultural diversity of such a masterpiece. Definitely take a chance on this universal story of human development. You will be thrilled you did. You may also be surprised by how much you relate to it even if you’ve never left this country.
Jeff Kagel, Donned Krishna Das by his Indian Guru, grew up in a Jewish family on long Island in the 1960‘s. He attributes The Blues and Rock and Roll as the roots of the evolution of his Kirtan music career.
Like many of us, he was dissatisfied with life, lacking a sense of meaning and purpose in his ordinary, daily life. So he answered his calling beyond the confines of the safety of his familiar, if painful origins, gave up a promising career in Rock and Roll and stepped into the fear and excitement of the unknown.
Through his writing and music (C.D. included with the book) he generously shares with us the fruits of his experiences traveling to India over many years in this beautiful account of his spiritual pilgrimage.
And what better gift to share than love; which is the bottom line of his message. But it’s not just the conventional form of “love” that he learned about.
He speaks candidly and from the heart about his hard-earned, personal experience with the most unique form of love thre is; self-love, from which all other love flows. A love that always exists within us and can only discovered through our unique path. Krishna Das’ self-disclosure of his personal vulnerability throughout his life is one of the many beautiful facets of this gemstone.
My experience reading “Chants of a Lifetime” felt as deeply personal as his relationship with his guru; what we would translate as a mentor.
Of all the forms of spiritual practice, he chose chanting as his path. Or perhaps, chanting chose him. But, as he readily points out, we can choose any path for spiritual practice, as long as we pursue it with pure intention.
The writing is so vivid (like watching the movie “Avatar” wearing 3-D glasses) that I felt like I was accompanying him through his adventures.
I listened to the C.D. of his chanting as I read which augmented the already rich experience of his mystical journey.
I have continued to listen to his chanting as part of my formal meditation practice. But hearing the chants in my heart and soul as I negociate the challenges of my ordinary daily life is the truly liberating gift of his music; allowing them to guide me through my day, as he says, “like a leaf floating on top of a stream of water.
I could go on longer than the book itself, but I will defer you now to the search for the not-so-hidden “gold” in this work of art, as well as in your own heart.