60 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
    • 5.0 • 82 Ratings

"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.

    Ep. 50 | Sadhus, and Nirvana in Samsara

    Ep. 50 | Sadhus, and Nirvana in Samsara

    Call and Response Ep. 50 Sadhus, and Nirvana in Samsara

    “For Maharajji, everybody was His near and His dear. Everyone. And in order to stay in that space, you couldn’t hold on to your stuff. It had to go.” – Krishna Das

    KD: That reminds me of this story. One time, a wandering sadhu came to Kainchi and came to see Maharajji and he, he was, he didn’t have much stuff. He had like, a pot, a water pot, and just a couple of shawls or something. And he sits down in front of Maharajji and he says, “We’re really disappointed in you.” He says to Maharajji, “What is all these temples and all these people serving you and all this stuff. What is all this opulence? What is all this?” And Maharajji said, “Yeah, yeah, I know. Hey, can you give me ten rupees?” And the guy says, he gets very uptight. “No, no come on. You have, you have hidden in your lungi over there around the left side hanging there in the thing there, there’s, you have some money. Give it to me. Give it to me.” So the sadhu takes it. “Give me it. Give me it.” He takes his pouch of money. He drops it in the fire. All the money. And the guy flipped out. And he said, “What have you done? This was my retirement money. I have nothing and I’ve saved for years.” And Maharajji said, “Oh, what happened? Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” And He takes these long tongs and He reaches into the fire and He pulls out brand new one hundred rupee notes.

    Bob: Oh, really?

    KD: And hands them to the sadhu like this. One by one. The sadhu just starts weeping, you know?

    Bob: Really? That’s so cool.

    KD: Yeah, there’s another story like that. You know, everyone who came to Maharajji, in order to approach, for most of the beings who approached Maharajji, you always had to give something up. You had to let go of something in order to really… So one time, Maharajji was walking in the street in Vrindavan. This is a long time ago, even, maybe in the 50s. And He’s walking down the street and coming the other way is this jungly sadhu with the long jutta hair and the ashes, a really fierce guy. And they see each other and they go, “Oh.” And they run to each other and they hug and they jump around and they’re dancing and they say, “Oh, it’s so great to see you after so long!” “Oh, yes, it’s been so many years!” “This is so great!” And it turns out they had spent much time in the mountains many, many years before, you know, doing sadhana together. So, they enjoy their company for a little while and then Maharajji says to the sadhu, “Ok, brother, now you should go now. I have to go.” And the sadhu says, “What are you talking about? After all these years we meet? I’m not going to leave you. I’m going to stay with you.” He said, “Oh, no. You don’t understand. I’m only with householders and worldly people now. You don’t, it’s not good for you. You don’t want to hang out with me. Really.” “I don’t care what you say. I’m not leaving you. I’m not leaving you.” “Ok.”

    So, they began to walk from Vrindavan to Mathura, which is about 18 kilometers and it’s the middle of the summer. It’s about 120 degrees. The middle of the day. And in those days, there was nothing. Now, it’s like, built-up. But in those days it was like desert. So, they’re walking. And in the distance, and Maharajji told this to Mr. Tiwari who told me. He said, “We were dying of thirst.” And in the distance, they see a well and they go running towards the well and they get to the well. There’s a woman there getting from the well and Maharajji gets there first and He puts His hands out, and says, “Pour water for me.” So, the lady pours the water from the bucket into His hands and He’s drinking, you know, like this. And then, the sadhu arrives and he puts out his gourd pot, right? And the woman pours water into the pot and as she’s pouring, Maharajji starts chatting her up, because that’s what He does. He t

    • 17 min
    Special Edition Conversations With KD May 9, 2020

    Special Edition Conversations With KD May 9, 2020

    Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD May 9, 2020



    Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.

    “These are all the names of what lives within us as who we are. Already. It’s not something else. It’s not somewhere else. It’s within us. All these names lead to the same place. They’re the names of the same place. All these so-called deities are forms of our own true nature… whatever you sing is fine. It doesn’t make any difference. Sing what you’d like. If you think about it, you’re not doing it. So, I would just do it.” – Krishna Das

    Hey everybody.

    Let’s welcome each other to our minds.

    Let’s, let’s all close our eyes for a minute.  So, now we’re united in the space of the heart. This is where we always are together with all beings. It’s just as if we’re sitting in one room together. This room happens to be earth at this moment. Just be with the breath. Take a few deep, long, deep breaths. Let the body relax. All that tension we carry around, bouncing off the walls of our homes, just let it go.

    Sharon Salzberg and I once were doing a workshop in LA and we had such a nice time. So, at the end, I said “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all live together?” And then I laughed. I said, “Well, that’s what we’re doing. That’s earth.”

    Earth is our home at this point. It just didn’t give us a user manual. We’re having to figure that out.

    So, this time that we… we’re so apparently disconnected from everything is… can be very useful, and it is useful, even if we’re suffering and with all the difficulty. It’s going to change the way we sit in ourselves. It has to, regardless of what we think about it, and make us much more aware of our own stuff and everybody else’s stuff, but also aware that we need to care about other people, too, in this world, not just our close friends and family, but everything anyone on this planet does affects everybody. And at some point the amount of toxicity causes suffering for everyone. The main toxicity is the selfishness and the self-centeredness that we carry within us.

    So, all the practices that we do are all about one thing, and that’s to release us from the prison of egoistic self-centered actions and considerations. So, there are two paths to that. One is the path of, you could say “devotion” or “loving kindness, caring,” and the other path is a path of jnana or wisdom, which they say it’s more difficult to follow because of our attachment to our bodies. But really there’s only one path and that path is each of our lives. And within that life that we’re living, we need to find a way to become good human beings. And it’s only from following the path of Dharma, the spiritual path, that we can become good human beings, whatever that means to each of us.  Our motivations begin to come from kindness and compassion. Our caring about other people increases, so our obsession with ourselves decreases and how we feel and “How am I, how am I now? How am I now? How am I now?” All day long. You know, the movie of “me.”

    So how do we free ourselves from this prison of me-ness, of ego, of the belief that we are separate from everybody, and it’s around that sense of separateness that all our suffering revolves. When that planet of “me” dissolves, there’s nothing for the suffering to revolve around, to orbit around. It goes and find somebody else to bother.

    So, let’s take some questions and then we’ll just see how the day goes.

    Q: Thank you so much for this and for everything you’re doing right now, it’s so wonderful and so nourishing.

    • 2 hr 16 min
    Ep. 49 | How KD Met Robert Thurman

    Ep. 49 | How KD Met Robert Thurman

    Call and Response Ep. 49 | How KD Met Robert Thurman

    “It was a wild time. There were a lot of… the Westerners in India, everybody would go to see teachers, different teachers and then when the seasons changed, all these different people would meet in the cities on their way somewhere else and exchange information and this kind of stuff and then you would go off in a different direction and it was an incredible amount of beautiful seeds were planted in those days. It was amazing, just amazing.” – Krishna Das

    KD: She said, I should introduce Bob. Bob and I met because both of our photos are on the wall at the post office. Most wanted. You know? And actually, I first met Bob and Nena on the ridge in Almora in 1971. Right?

    Bob: Yes.

    KD: 1971. Ram Das and I and a few others were on our way up further into the mountains and somehow, we didn’t have phones, we didn’t have iphones… how did we?

    Bob: Well, it was by accident.

    KD: It was by accident. Oh. By accident.

    Bob: We were there in our van. We had a Volkswagon van at the time and these two kids in the car and we were there shopping, you know, coming down from Crank’s Ridge where we lived without Lama Govinda and you guys were there on your way to…

    KD: Our way to Kausani.

    Bob: That’s right, Kausani. Where you were having a retreat and there we all met. That was really fun.

    KD: Yeah. I spent a rainy season up there.

    Bob: You guys were all wearing white.

    KD: White, my ass.

    Bob: You were like, so pure. We were like, amazed at how pure you were.

    KD: I wore white for maybe one minute.

    Bob: And we had this car on this thing and there were a lot of hippies there at the time. And so we were actually the local ambulance. Whenever things would go wrong, we’d drive them to the hospital in Nainital.

    KD: Yeah, right.

    Bob: And I think that was not one of those

    KD: Right, right. It was a wild time. There were a lot of… the Westerners in India, everybody would go to see teachers, different teachers and then when the seasons changed, all these different people would meet in the cities on their way somewhere else and exchange information and this kind of stuff and then you would go off in a different direction and it was an incredible amount of beautiful seeds were planted in those days. It was amazing, just amazing. “You saw who? Oh, wow. Yeah, ok. I think I’ll go over there. Ok, yeah. I’m going to go see that one and this one.” It was amazing. Yeah, and great times. And the first waves of Tibetans were coming out of Tibet at that time. Maybe not the first wave, but a very large amount of Tibetans were coming out for the first time and it was incredible. I was in Bodhgaya at that time and I remember Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa just walking down the road from Gaya, you know? It was amazing. Such a wonderful, wonderful time. So, Bob is, Bob is one of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s closest and oldest disciples, especially Western disciples. He’s know His Holiness for so many years and he’s a master of all the different schools of philosophy and when he talks, it’s, what comes, it just comes through, I mean there’s no, I don’t think he’s editing at all. It’s just pouring through and it comes from such a beautiful space. It’s extraordinary. So, I know that you’ll really appreciate that this weekend.

    Bob: Well, that’s very kind of you, KD but…

    KD: It’s a loving kindness weekend.

    Bob: One time I introduced the Dalai Lama at Sanders Theater at Harvard when He first came to America and I gave a big thing about Avalokiteshvara and a thousand arms.

    KD: Yeah, yeah.

    Bob: I gave a huge thing like that, then He came out, you know, and people were applauding, you know, how after you introduce somebody and He walked and as He walked by me He paused, you know, we shook hands and He said, “Don’t over-introduce me. Don’t over-introduce me,” he said.

    • 17 min
    Special Edition Conversations With KD May 7, 2020

    Special Edition Conversations With KD May 7, 2020

    Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD May 7, 2020



    Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.

    “All we have is what’s in front of our faces, which is the ups and downs of life. So, you have to learn to deal with those situations in the best way… and there’s no God outside of your Self, your true Self. And that true Self is the same in every Being. So, if you treat other people the way you would like to be treated, you won’t have any problems at all.” – Krishna Das

    “Ram nam karne se sab pura ho jata”

    My Guru used to say that to us quite often.

    “From going on repeating these Names, everything is accomplished. Everything is accomplished.” A very simple statement. Easy to kind of just say, “Oh, yeah, ok,” but I’ve been thinking about that, or trying to truly believe that for 50 years or so. 40 Years. 45 years. So, if I truly believed that what He said, that from repeating these Names, everything is accomplished, I would probably be giving more of myself to the practice as I’m doing it. But, you know, we have our own karmic predicaments that we live in. Very distracted lives. Very fast lives. Although it’s a little bit slower these days. Although we can fill it up with stuff quite easily.

    I remember many many years ago, before I went to India I was up in the mountains of New Mexico with Ram Das at the Lama Foundation for about a month in the winter. It was fantastic. And every day we would spend many hours meeting together, singing, talking, meditating. And we heard about this New York artist who had moved out to New Mexico and lived just down the hill, down the mountain from where the Lama was, and he had been to India and he knew how to meditate. This was Big Time. So a group of us went down to meet with him, to see him. And we spent a couple of hours with him, talking to him. I just sat in the back of the room, listening. And as we were leaving, I was the last one to go out the door. As I was about to go out the door, he grabbed my arm and he looked at me and he said, “You. You have to find out why it is you can’t give yourself 100% to whatever you’re doing.”

    Oh.

    He nailed me to the wall. That was unbelievable. That was in 19-, the winter of, let’s see, ’69. That’s what? 50 years ago? I can still feel his hand on my arm. You know, if we look at ourselves, we notice how difficult it is to be fully engaged in something. We’re not talking about watching a movie where you’re fully lost for as long as the movie’s on or some kind of entertainment, but whatever you’re doing, being fully engaged. Not thinking about the future, not the past, not this and that, not the chatter that goes on in the brain all the time, but truly present. Truly present and aware.

    So, I’ve been working on that a long time. Or, at least noticing how little of myself I really can give to each moment. So, when it comes to chanting or a practice that you do regularly, you create a situation where you’re training yourself to let go and come back. Let go and come back. Over and over again. It doesn’t, it’s not about up here. It’s about in here. And it’s not an intellectual process. It’s not a learning process. It’s a training process. So, little by little your Being gets familiar with these sounds, with these Names in this case, and you begin to relax into the Name. And the Name, as we come to know it, has been brought into this world by a Being who has fully realized the reality of that Name, the reality of what is Named, and has brought that Name into this world for us as a practice, as a doorway into that Name, into the reality, which is our own true nature, which is our soul.

    The love we’re looking for exists within us. It lives within us.

    • 53 min
    Ep. 48 | Hanuman, Mrs. Hanuman, and Time Machines

    Ep. 48 | Hanuman, Mrs. Hanuman, and Time Machines

    Call and Response Ep. 48 | Hanuman, Mrs. Hanuman, and Time Machines 

    “When you attain that oneness, you’re also one with all Beings in all moments of time, past, present and future. So, because, after all, time is like a space, it’s like a subtler space than space is. You know, time, it’s a space of time, a space of duration, of continuum. Right? And so, everything is past and future. So, when you become Buddha, you’re all in all moments of the future, so then you become aware that everyone else will eventually become Buddha, and not only that but you then manifest to accelerate that process so they can do it as quickly as possible. The really dense ones might take a million lifetimes. The quicker ones, a hundred, etcetera. But You’re going to work on it with them. That’s your attitude. This is the sci-fi idea of Kalachakra, ok?” – Robert Thurman

    KD: Yeah. All these practices, all these traditions really are here for us to help us overcome the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, which for the most part are at least limiting, to say the least. So all these practices are so based in love. Some years ago, one of the lamas I study with, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, invited me to sing at one of His retreats where He was going to teach on devotion. Now, in Tibetan Buddhism, devotion is not talked about separately as a subject usually. It’s part of the practices. But Rinpoche was going to discuss that aspect of devotion separately. So, He asked me to sing and so I sang and, but one of the things He said, over and over is that, if we don’t love ourselves, how will we ever really love all Beings? Not to mention, another Being? Real love. And it was very interesting to see some of His students react to that because, you know, Buddhists. What are you going to do with them? You know? So intellectual sometimes, you know? Thinking about stuff and understanding the philosophy and I remember one time, I said to Rinpoche, because I don’t take that many teachings with Him but we became very friendly at one point and I said, “Rinpoche, don’t underestimate the ability of Westerners to not understand what you’re talking about.”And He went… and then, by the next year, He had reorganized His teachings.  It was very interesting because I think He realized that we talk a good game, but when it comes to the nitty gritty, we hide. Our issues cloud the sun. Like the clouds, they block the sun, so… and of course, Her Loving Kindness talks about this all the time, you know, how to, how offering Loving Kindness to others heals our own hearts. And Maharajji used to say, “Don’t think about yourself.” You know? When I was going to kill myself that time… I was going to jump in the river behind the temple, you know? It was about six inches deep, but I figured if I got my head, you know, stuck under a rock, I could probably get it done, you know? So He said, “What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Jump in the river?” He said, “You can’t die.” He said, “Worldly people don’t die.” He said, “Only Jesus died the real death.” What is He talking about?  Only Jesus died? And He looked, “Yeah. Why? Because He never thought of Himself.” What is the real death? What’s the death of the ego? When thoughts of “me” no longer arise. When it isn’t about “me” anymore. “How am I doing?” “How am I doing now?” “Am I wearing the right clothes?” “Am I sitting straight enough?”  “Did I put on enough makeup?” “I got that…” what is it they call that stuff? “acne medicine” it’s been so long since I had a pimple. I don’t remember because I don’t have a mind either, you know? So, you know, He never thought of Himself. Thoughts of “me” never arose in that Being. And of course, all I did was think about myself. And I said, “Baba, all I do is think about myself. What am I going to do?” And He looks at me, “Attachment. Ha!” He wasn’t buying it. So

    • 23 min
    Special Edition Conversations With KD April 30, 2020

    Special Edition Conversations With KD April 30, 2020

    Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD April 30, 2020



    Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.

    “Ram Dass, my best friend, one of my best friends, long-term spiritual friends and elders, just died a month or two ago. He’s so present. Any time I think of him, he’s present. I’m not looking for signs. I feel his presence. And you will feel your people’s presence if you just allow yourself to. You won’t be able to touch them physically. But that doesn’t mean they’re not here. Because we’re attached to our physical bodies. Because we identify with our physical and emotional parts. We can’t imagine something without that. However, there are many Beings, many many more Beings out of the body than are in bodies I’m sure. I’ve heard that many times. And if you want to feel those things, one has to open up to these realities through practice.” – Krishna Das

    So, you know, when we add a practice to our day, it changes the way we sit in the moment. It just does.

    It just changes the way we sit in the moment and it’s not about whether we’re doing it well or we’re not doing it well or we’re having any particular type of experience. That’s one of our biggest problems. We’re expecting something. We have an idea that we have to get something. You know, I remember sitting in front of Maharajji and I almost laughed out loud because I saw that I was sitting there and I was waiting for something to happen and when I thought about what it was I was waiting to happen, I realized I was waiting for a moment when I would not be here, when I’d be gone. And I laughed because I realized, or I understood at that moment that I would never be gone. There was no time. There was no moment anywhere, ever where I would be gone. There will come a time I hope when I am not attached and identified with my thoughts and my negative emotions, especially. But I’ll only be more here then. More present. So, this whole feeling of wanting to be gone means I wanted to be freed from my unhappiness and my crazy neurotic mind. It was driving me crazy. My self-judging, my self-loathing, all the programs.

    So, yeah.

    Anyway, that’s the deal. Let’s see some questions.

    Q: I would like to ask how to find hope in difficult times.

    I know what you mean, but it’s really not hope that you want. It’s faith that you want. Maybe I’m picking at straws here but hope is like blind faith. Faith that you have no reason to feel hope because it’s out of your hands. It’s just like, you know, you put your hope in something else. You imagine maybe some time will come when you won’t feel so bad. But faith is something you get from… Faith means, in a way, it can also mean confidence in yourself.  Confidence that you can deal with whatever arises in a good way and that’s a big thing. I was sitting with Maharajji in an apartment building in Bombay. At the time it was called that. Around Christmas 1972. And we’d been sitting for hours. He was lying on the bed. He was lying this way. He’d sit up. Then He’d lie down this way and He’d sit up. And I was just watching Him. Watching Him quietly. All of a sudden, He sits up and He looks at me and He says, “Courage is a really big thing.”

    I was like, “What’s going to happen?” You know?

    And the Indian devotee there, he was the only one there. He looked at me and he said… He looked at Baba and said, “But Oh Baba, but God takes care of His devotees.” Maharajji just shot Him a glance and He looked back at me and He said, “Courage is a really big thing.”

    Courage is a really big thing.

    There have been times in my life when… that it was enough to deal with life as it appears to us, as it arrives in our moment, in our life, in our space. So,

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
82 Ratings

82 Ratings

Brian Nuckols 777 ,

Jai Jai Guru Dev

Love, serve, remember. Thanks Krishna Das for the wisdom and compassion. Ram Ram!

sconchi2 ,

Thank you

Beautiful podcast. Love hearing your lessons at work. A step back from the negativity. Much appreciated

EditorAndChief ,

Thank You

Thank you for your offerings of love and solace. 🌻✨

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