24 episodes

"Call and Response" podcast series is made possible by the Kirtan Wallah Foundation: Your support via direct donations are tax deductible under 501c3 guidelines and go toward new offerings such as this series as well as the the compilation of all of KD’s work on the Path, for the purpose of sharing it with everyone in a variety of media. It is also the intention of Kirtan Wallah Foundation to eventually be able to offer assistance to organizations around the world, whose efforts are in alignment with the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba.

Call and Response with Krishna Das Kirtan Wallah Foundation

    • Religion & Spirituality

"Call and Response" podcast series is made possible by the Kirtan Wallah Foundation: Your support via direct donations are tax deductible under 501c3 guidelines and go toward new offerings such as this series as well as the the compilation of all of KD’s work on the Path, for the purpose of sharing it with everyone in a variety of media. It is also the intention of Kirtan Wallah Foundation to eventually be able to offer assistance to organizations around the world, whose efforts are in alignment with the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba.

    Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck

    Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck

    SPECIAL EDITION – Call and Response Podcast – Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck



    David Nichtern is a senior teacher in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. This tradition combines a contemporary, secular approach to meditation with the ancient practices and philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism. David has created and taught meditation teacher trainer programs worldwide. He has also been a business consultant with companies creating a variety of offerings integrating meditation in a larger health and well-being context. As many of you already know, David is also a well known composer, producer and guitarist – a four-time Emmy winner and a two-time Grammy nominee, and often tours and plays with Krishna Das. In this podcast, the two chat about spirituality and making a living on the heels of the launch of David’s new book : Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck



    If you would like, there is a video version of this podcast to watch.

    CLICK HERE

    Video recording of KD and David’s discussion.

     



    Transcription:

    DAVID NICHTERN: So, the premise of this workshop and, tonight, which is based on the new book is looking at the strands of creative expression, spiritual practice and alignment, inner well-being, and our activity, livelihood. Those three strands.  So, why did I write about that? Because I’ve been really, in a way, juggling those three elements in my life for 45 years. I met my teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche, when I was at Berklee College of Music, studying yoga at the same time and it takes time to do spiritual practice. Some people go quite deeply into it. It takes time to have a music career and then we always have, you know, that sort of ongoing relationship to livelihood, what we call in Buddhism, “right livelihood” which we can talk about a little bit more. So I’ve found, in working on that puzzle myself, I would talk to a lot of people, you know, I’m mentoring a lot of students and there’s always, it lights up people’s interest because I know a lot of people, you know, for example, who are trying to start a yoga studio or you know, kind of a kirtan band, for that matter or a fitness, mindful fitness studio; and they often will be at a loss as to how to manage the business aspect of that and what ends up happening is, it runs aground at a certain point. So, lack of relationship to that kind of practical aspect, which we call “earth”.  They have a lot of heaven and a lot of vision but not much connection to earth. And then on the other hand,  you go to the other part of the world that I occupy and people are very competent and sort of together, like the people you met today, but they may not have much direct connection with creative expression in their lives and also, you know, the idea of meditating or something like that is seen as kind of a waste of time, like why would you do that? Like, I’ve got to address 450 lawyers next week and the people are telling me, “You’d better do it quick.  You’d better get to the point really quick. They’re going to want to know why they’re spending even five minutes doing something like this.” So, I see, just from where I sit, these two worlds, it’s like two gigantic ocean liners coming together and they’re about to crash into each other,

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Ep. 21 | Longing, Ripening and Dada Vaswani

    Ep. 21 | Longing, Ripening and Dada Vaswani

    {Photo by Krishna Das, Auckland Harbor July 2018}

    Ep. 21 Longing, Ripening and Dada Vaswani

    The other people who met Maharajji talk about is the experience of His unconditional love, as you said once, “His unbearable love,” and my guess is that for many people, certainly who’ve not had the experience of Baba in the body and who maybe don’t have… my guess is when you speak of that, many people wish to feel that, to feel unconditional love, maybe that’s why they keep coming, I don’t know. And so, after a lifetime of doing this and becoming a teacher, what can you say? You know, what can you say to people about having that experience, finding that experience?

    “I would say that the more you long for it, the better it is. Period. You have to be where you are. You can’t be anybody else. You can’t be anywhere else. What you can do is look, be yourself 100% and the longing for that love is what brings towards it. Period. End of conversation. That’s it. Nothing else. That’s my only qualification for any of this, is longing. This insane amount of longing that destroyed my life. It destroyed everything I thought I was going to be in life and replaced it with all this nonsense. It was that longing which I brought into this life and when I speak about this love and my Guru and you feel “I want a guru, I want a guru,” that’s a good longing to have because that longing will not leave you until you find what it is you’re longing for. There’s no easy way to get through this. It sucks. Period. I can’t make it all right for anybody but I can tell you that the more longing you have, the better it is. “ – Krishna Das

    Q: Hi. Ram Ram.

    KD: Ram Ram.

    Q: I’m Annapurna.

    KD: Annapurna. Annapurna.

    Q: The gentleman who asked about finding, looking for a guru, finding a guru, one of the more compelling things that you and the other MTM’s talk about…

    KD: Use words, ok?

    Q: the other people who met Maharajji talk about is the experience of His unconditional love as you said once, His unbearable love… and my guess is that for many people, certainly who’ve not had the experience of Baba in the body and who maybe don’t have… my guess is when you speak of that, many people wish to feel that, to feel unconditional love, maybe that’s why they keep coming, I don’t know. And so after a lifetime of doing this and becoming a teacher, what can you say…

    KD: I’m not a teacher, thank you.

    Q: You know, what can you say to people about having that experience, finding that experience…

    KD: I would say that the more you long for it, the better it is. Period. You have to be where you are. You can’t be anybody else. You can’t be anywhere else. What you can do is look, be yourself 100% and the longing for that love is what brings towards it. Period. End of conversation. That’s it. Nothing else. That’s my only qualification for any of this, is longing. This insane amount of longing that destroyed my life. It destroyed everything I thought I was going to be in life and replaced it with all this nonsense. It was that longing which I brought into this life and when I speak about this love and my Guru and you feel “I want a guru, I want a guru,” that’s a good longing to have because that longing will not leave you until you find what it is you’re longing for. There’s no easy way to get through this. It sucks. Period.

    I can’t make it all right for anybody but I can tell you that the more longing you have, the better it is. So what, I shouldn’t talk about Maharajji because it makes people unhappy? That unhappiness is a good thing. And that’s what happened when I met Ram Das. This longing was the longing I already had for something that I didn’t even know what it was, it got crystallized in a way. It got concentrated. It got super infused and then nothing kept me away from that. And it j

    • 21 min
    Graveyard Talks With Sacinandana Swami

    Graveyard Talks With Sacinandana Swami

    SPECIAL EDITION – Call and Response Podcast – Graveyard Talks With Sacinandana Swami

    Sacinandana Swami was born in Germany to an affluent family and, for 42 years, has been a practicing monk in the bhakti tradition. Over the years, he has significantly contributed to the way modern practitioners of bhakti engage in contemplation and meditation. He is a well regarded teacher of spiritual music and spends time teaching and leading retreats throughout Europe and Asia. His love and passion for the life he has lived has been motivated by his desire to help other people grow just as he felt he grew and learned more about his own unique purpose in life, dharma.

    “It’s only through the opening of the intuitive understanding that one can make space for this kind of non-judgmental unconditional understanding, you know? It’s just like the sun. It shines on everything all the time. Everything. It doesn’t measure, evaluate, judge and see who’s worthy of sunlight. It’s just, it’s its nature and it’s the nature of these great beings. It’s the nature of God, of the Lord, of the Divine to be that Love.” – Krishna Das

    KD: So, I’m here with my good friend, Sacinandana Swami: in Germany. I’ve been on tour and we are continuing what we call our Graveyard Talks. So, how many years ago was it, in Munich? We went for a walk.

    SACINANDANA SWAMI: I think it was about ten years at least and we were talking, we were so much into the discussions that I noted at one stage, “Your program is already starting. It has started.” And then you said to me, “Don’t worry, let’s finish this. The program cannot start without me.”

    KD: Yeah, yeah. We were looking… we looked for a place to sit down and we found this beautiful little quiet graveyard with a nice bench and we sat there and spoke and here we are today in another graveyard in Germany outside of Berlin.

    SACINANDANA SWAMI: Something that comes to my mind is that time moves in cycles. We were then on a graveyard. We are now in a graveyard, and maybe one of us will be on a graveyard again somewhere.

    KD: Fairly soon, you know. In a different way, yeah.

    SACINANDANA SWAMI: In a different way. And it’s the question for me is, “What do we consider of the best use of our time in this human life that is really worthwhile to invest and might even outlive the graveyard on which we are eventually, where we are landing?”

    KD: You know, I always talk with people about the importance of spiritual practice, but I’ve come to believe that the reason we do spiritual practice is to become good human beings, be people that are kind and compassionate and aware of other people’s suffering and pain and just naturally want to do what they can to help that situation. It takes tremendous strength to break the habit of only thinking about one’s self all the time, and thinking that, and even unconsciously believing that, that what “I think” and what “I feel” is the most important thing in the universe, and not seeing other people. It takes a tremendous amount of work on one’s self to, to even become aware that other people, they’re in their own worlds as well, and if we can’t help ourselves, how can we help anybody else?

    SACINANDANA SWAMI: Yeah yeah. And the funny thing is that sometimes who are even trying to escape and help themselves by taking to a spiritual path still remain self-centered.

    KD: Yeah.

    SACINANDANA SWAMI: We have some dramatic sounds in the back.

    KD: Yeah. Thunder. It’s amazing.

    SACINANDANA SWAMI: We get to some good subjects and nature gets her drumsticks out and does a thunder roll.  Yes, I remember last year I was walking around a sacred mountain, the Govardhan Mountain in Vrindavan and I passed two people, pilgrims who were discussing in Bengali the three essential teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a Saintly personality, and they

    • 33 min
    Ep. 20 | Compassion for Abusers

    Ep. 20 | Compassion for Abusers

    Ep. 20 ~ Compassion for Abusers

    I know the basis of all this is we’re One, we’re Love, we’re Compassion, we enfold. And then I go home and I’m on the periphery of a group that deals with abused animals. And I really have a hard time putting together “We are One, We are Compassion” with how do I go about treating the abusers.  Now I know what I want to do, but that would put me in jail. I’m stuck in this place that says, “you shouldn’t do that” and I know that that’s, I know I’m right, and I know that’s my ego and all of what I’m studying or learning or becoming is to get rid of the ego, to let the ego go. 

    “Ramana Maharshi said, “If you ask the thief to be the policeman, there will be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made.” So, you’re asking the thief to make everybody else obey the rules whereas you’re already a thief and you’re not obeying the rules yourself. These things you’re talking about, they’re not things to be used to either beat yourself up with or beat other people up with. Nor is it something that you’re supposed to think about. These are things that you realize through practice.  In the meantime, you try to get through life doing as little damage as possible to yourself and the people around you.” – Krishna Das

    Q: I’ve been meaning to ask you this question but I’ve never gotten up the nerve to.

    KD: Next question.

    Q: Ok, I go to Bhakti Fest, I come here, I have a Guru, I know the basis of all this is we’re One, we’re Love, we’re Compassion, we enfold. And then I go home and I’m on the periphery of a group that deals with abused animals. And I really have a hard time putting together “We are One, We are Compassion” with how do I go about treating the abusers.  Now I know what I want to do, but that would put me in jail. I’m stuck in this place that says, “you shouldn’t do that” and I know that that’s, I know I’m right, and I know that’s my ego and all of what I’m studying or learning or becoming is to get rid of the ego, to let the ego go.

    KD: Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

    Q: I’m in a lot of conflict.

    KD: Who’s going to get rid of the ego? The ego’s not gonna.

    Q: So how do I incorporate these abusers?

    KD: Ramana Maharshi said, “If you ask the thief to be the policeman, there will be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made.” So, you’re asking the thief to make everybody else obey the rules whereas you’re already a thief and you’re not obeying the rules yourself. These things you’re talking about, they’re not things to be used to either beat yourself up with or beat other people up with. Nor is it something that you’re supposed to think about. These are things that you realize through practice.  In the meantime, you try to get through life doing as little damage as possible to yourself and the people around you. Period. If you’re treating abused animals and abusing people, what are you doing? First of all, every one of your own actions creates a karma in the first place. That’s where you should be focused the most. What is your motivation for your own actions? If it’s anger, what are you going to create with anger? More hatred. More anger. More suffering. So, as that guy said, “Take the splinter out of your own eye first.” Wow. Oh, it’s Shivaratri, of course. We have to talk about Jesus. Take the splinter out of your own eye first, and then things will look different, and then you can operate on everybody else. So, it’s good that you see what you’re caught in, but you’re trying to figure it out, you’re trying to pick yourself up like this. But you can’t, there’s no leverage. You have to quiet your mind, calm yourself down and take responsibility for your actions. Thinking and knowing that thoughts are actions as well. They don’t make as big a ripple

    • 10 min
    Ep. 19 | Spiritual Love and Worldly Love

    Ep. 19 | Spiritual Love and Worldly Love

    Ep. 19 ~ Spiritual Love and Worldly Love

    I wanted to ask if you could talk a bit about your relationship with Maharajji and maybe the difference between love as we know it in the sense of a romantic relationship or relationships, and the love you felt when you were with Maharajji.



    “He (Maharajji”, being completely free of subjectivity, would mirror what we needed to see for us, what we wanted to see but inside of that subjective take on Him, He would manifest real love.”- Krishna Das

    Q: I wanted to ask if you could talk a bit about your relationship with Maharajji and maybe the difference between love as we know it in the sense of a romantic relationship or relationships, and the love you felt when you were with Maharajji.

    KD: Thanks for thinking that I know the difference. You know, ok, each of us lives in our own world, each one of us, our own individual worlds. It’s a completely subjective reality. I look out at you and I see you and whatever I see kind of pushes buttons in my head and so I think I know, ok, that’s what that person’s like. That person’s grumpy. That person hates me. This one loves me. You know, this is what we do all day long. 24-7 for our whole lives. And it was no different with Maharajji on our side. We were seeing our projection of Guru. Our version of Guru and He, being the indwelling presence in each, in the Heart of everyone, every being in the universe, that’s what a real Guru is, that’s what God is, that’s what True Self is. Guru, God, and Self are not different. Capital “S” Self. And He being completely free of subjectivity, would mirror what we needed to see for us, what we wanted to see but inside of that subjective take on Him, He would manifest real love. Whereas you know, our lives, that kind of love doesn’t usually come up too much and if it does arise, it doesn’t stay very long because we want something and we need something and so we try to get that love, find that love on the outside as if there is an outside. That’s the funny thing. We assume there is because we have car accidents with cars that are on the outside, we have relationships with people we feel are on the outside, we go through our whole lives as if we’re on the inside and everything else is on the outside. It may not be like that. And Guru is, you can’t even say what a Guru is but I was going to say, the Guru knows that, whether He knows He knows, or He doesn’t know He knows, it doesn’t matter. But the Guru is that indwelling awareness in each Being, Presence, Awareness, Reality, Love. That’s real love. And so being with a Being like that lets you kind of enter that room where the real love lives and that’s within you, within us, it’s not outside. But, because we think it’s outside, we get attached to the different forms of people and I got very attached to Maharajji’s body and I suffered terribly when it disappeared. That was my problem. Not His. He wasn’t attached to my body, in fact, He wasn’t attached to anybody. Not even His own body. So, because He saw that that’s not reality, you know? We, in this room, we all sit here and each one of us probably, if not, don’t raise your hand, don’t let anybody know, but most of us sit here and we think that, you know, I’m Me and you’re You. Right? And based on that we go through our lives. We like some people. We don’t like other people. We want this. We don’t want that. We go through, based on who we think we are. Underneath who we think we are, always here always present, is real love. That’s Guru. That’s God. And to be with somebody who can allow you to feel that, who can open you up to feeling that, is a great blessing.

    And you know, there’s a great book called “Love Everyone.” I don’t know if you know about it. It’s a pretty new book about Maharajji and it was compiled from the diaries of ma

    • 25 min
    Ep. 18 | How To Develop Faith

    Ep. 18 | How To Develop Faith

    Ep. 18 ~ How To Develop Faith

    Tell me a little bit about how your faith… and trust in the universe that happened over time… how did it develop for you? How do you develop faith?



    “The mind can’t conceive of what’s not a thought. Emotions can’t feel anything that’s not a feeling, an emotional feeling. The body and the senses can’t receive anything that’s not a sense input. Faith and grace, they have nothing to do with the body and the mind or the emotions. It’s a blessing that comes to us due to a combination of our good karmas, the work that we’ve already done in our life and in our lives before if you believe in that, and the kindness of the Saints who have realized what this is all about and we’ve all, if we’re interested in this nonsense at all, it’s because we have a connection with some lineage at some time with our own past already. It’s not an accident.”- Krishna Das

    Q: Hey KD, how do you…. You tell me a little bit about about faith, how you… because I know about your, I’ve seen your movies and stuff and you followed Ram Das and then went to India but, and certainly the miracles, but tell me a little bit about how your faith, you know, and trust in the universe that happened over time… how did it develop for you? How do you develop faith?

    KD: Next question.  You know, there’s a very interesting line in the Bible, what’s his name? That Saint, Paul, he said, “By Grace was I saved through faith.” You don’t, the mind can’t conceive of what’s not a thought. Emotions can’t feel anything that’s not a feeling, an emotional feeling. The body and the senses can’t receive anything that’s not a sense input. Faith and grace, they have nothing to do with the body and the mind or the emotions. It’s a blessing that comes to us due to a combination of our good karmas, the work that we’ve already done in our life and in our lives before, if you believe in that, and the kindness of the Saints who have realized what this is all about and we’ve all, if we’re interested in this nonsense at all, it’s because we have a connection with some lineage at some time with our own past already. It’s not an accident. There’s no accidents. We’re here because we’ve been connected to something and in this life we’re trying to reconnect again. It’s a longing we feel to do that. Where does that longing come from? You didn’t get it from watching TV as a kid. Otherwise I’d have a hell of a lot more. What do I mean,”kid”? I would have a hell of a lot more right now. So those are blessings. It’s all blessing. Blessings. You know, it’s the nature of a true saint, they have no reason to be here except for the fact that we don’t know who we are, so because of our suffering and our pain these Beings who have gone beyond any kind of personal self-interest remain around for our sake. It’s called compassion. And so through the compassion of the Saints, which is a quality of God itself, compassion, kindness, caring, through that presence of those Beings who are once again, no different that who we already are in our deepest Being, not who we think we are, that’s a whole other story, or a million other stories, but who we really are, it’s through those blessings and that grace and our own longing which comes, which is the fruit of our own work on ourself in the past, so those two meet and then faith happens, Now what does faith mean?  Faith means that you believe something that you just absolutely can’t f*****g prove. There’s no way you can prove it. Why do you believe it? Why do you think there’s anything more to find in life? Stupid. Or, smart. A lot of people would say you’re stupid, but I think it’s the opposite, so it’s that longing inside of us that’s pulling us inside to where it all is and we follow that because there’s a part of us tha

    • 6 min

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