There are many great stories of the Eastern spiritual renaissance taking hold in the West. There’s Richard Alpert to Ram Dass, Yogananda’s revolution in Los Angeles, Swami Vivekananda bringing Vedanta to the States. And then there’s the story of Srila Prabhuphad and the Hare Krishna movement. It’s one of the most extraordinary stories of human manifestation in the 20th Century. Really. He arrived in America in 1965 at age 69 with $20, a type writer and a mantra. That’s it. And in the front row for the entire phenomena was Shyamasundar Das who was “the Swami’s” private secretary for seven years. His new book “Chasing Rhinos with The Swami” chronicles his life, times and adventures with him from 1967 until 1975. Our podcast talked a lot about the early days of the movement, how it took hold in the Haight Ashbury in the Summer of Love, what Krishna Consciousness is and a few amazingly intimate stories of life with A. C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI. No matter what you may think of the Hare Krishna movement, I urge you to put all that aside and listen with an open heart and mind. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, I hung on every word!
About Shyamasundar Das:
I was born in the body of Samuel Speerstra, in Salem, Oregon in May,1942. From early childhood I thrived on adventure and risk. After graduating from Reed College in 1965, I met Bhaktivedanta Swami in San Francisco in January 1967, and immediately became his disciple Shyamasundar Das. The Swami wed me to my girlfriend Melanie (Malati Devi Dasi) in a smoke-filled storefront in Haight-Ashbury we called the Radha-Krishna Temple.
In 1968, to please Swamiji, I traveled with five chosen devotees to London. There, we witnessed firsthand Krishna’s magic display; we befriended the Beatles and, courtesy of Apple Records, spread Hare Krishna Mantra around the world. In October 1970, the Swami took twenty of his Western disciples to India, and together-as Prabhupad and his Dancing White Elephants–we barnstormed the country. In June 1971, Prabhupad accepted me as his Personal Secretary. I was by Prabhupad’s side, day and night, in Europe, USA, Africa, Asia, Australia-even behind Brezhnev’s Iron Curtain. I never saw him sleep, I never saw him make an error of any kind. How did I get this lucky, to observe close-up the life of the Perfect Person? Srila Prabhupad, the Magic Man himself!
To buy the book click here or visit chasingrhinos.com
I’ve had a few yoga teachers on the podcast but there was something about this conversation with maha yogi Steve Ross that really sparked my contemplation and imagination like I hadn’t felt before. Sure Steve teaches “yoga” in the form of a pretty challenging asana class but he is really a portal into an entire world of knowledge, humor and very profound wisdom that come from his over 40 years of practice. We spent an hour talking about the differences between the western and eastern maps of consciousness, how to make sense of these confusing times, free will and the very essence of our place in the universe. Sounds pretty deep, right? It was. Steve is truly one of the great yogis practicing in the west today.
“Named “guru of LA by Vanity Fair, Steve Ross has practices and taught various styles of yoga and meditation for over thirty years. Host of the wildly popular yoga show on the Oxygen network, Inhale, Steve is also the author of the best selling book “Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons Why There’s Nothing to Worry About.”
His diverse and unique background as having been both a vedic monk and professional rock musician, brings an authenticity and fun filled atmosphere in his classes, meditations and workshops.
Human sexuality and the extremely fascinating yet complex rabbit hole that encompasses is one of the most fascinating topics to explore. My good friend Zoë Kors and I spent an hour barely scratching the surface of our cultures relationship to sex, our hang ups, the politics around it and most specifically women’s issues and why they are so important. Zoë is an expert in helping women to get in touch with their core divinity that allows them to be the most potent manifestations of their incarnations. I really enjoyed this topic and wonder why I don’t talk about it more on IAH, so I’ll be sure to have Zoë back on. Enjoy.
Zoë Kors is committed to transforming the way we hold our sexuality—both individually and culturally—and to creating a compassionate, loving world through the cultivation of a sisterhood of wildly-expressed women.
Zoë is the former Senior Editor and Creative Director of LA Yoga Magazine and Origin Magazine. She is a frequent contributor to Elephant Journal, MindBodyGreen, and Aloha.com. Her article, “6 Ways to Have Radically Intimate Sex”, quickly went viral and is currently at nearly 2 million views with 20,000 Facebook shares.
She is a certified Co-Active Coach with the prestigious Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, CA, and has a thriving private practice. Zoë’s work reflects her extensive study of Tantra, Zen Buddhism, meditation, yoga, breathwork, and other Eastern disciplines, which she blends with more process-oriented modalities of Western psychotherapy and Co-Active Coaching.
Live from the MIND/WAVE event in downtown Los Angeles comes this very special episode on the topic of “Spiritual Materialism.” Myself, Daniele Bolelli, Cory Allen and Michael Philip sat atop gloriously high pulpits adorned with emeralds and holy water to instruct all of you on the virtues of sacred practice! Really, we sat on wooden chairs talking about the pitfalls of spiritual materialism and how western influences can make for strange bedfellows with eastern modalities. The other guys on the stage are wonderfully sharp and thoughtful and are all great podcast hosts in and of their own right. I highly recommend you check them all out. Also, I hope we get a chance to do more of these live events that get all of us in the same room. We only started to scratch the surface.
Chris Ryan returns to the podcast! It was so great to have him back and to dive into the mysteries of the human condition and why we do the things we do. Chris is one of the brightest minds around and together we dove into the potentials and optimism of the current state affairs, AI and social media. We of course, also talk about Chris’s expertise as it relates to the hunter gatherer era and how it informs our current views on sex, gender roles and sexual identity. Also, read “Sex and Dawn” if you haven’t already!
Christopher and his work have been featured just about everywhere, including: MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Times of London, Playboy, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Outside,El Pais, La Vanguardia, Salon, Seed, and Big Think.
A featured speaker from TED in Long Beach, CA to The Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House to the Einstein Forum in Pottsdam, Germany, Chris has consulted at various hospitals in Spain, provided expert testimony in a Canadian constitutional hearing, and appeared in well over a dozen documentary films.
This episode is brought to you by: Siddhi Herbals, Inc.
There are many great teachers and musicians who have come on the IAH podcast but I have to say that the magic, wisdom and love that Jai Uttal brought to the kitchen table was like nothing else. Jai effortlessly weaves together stories, knowledge and devotion into one voice like few others can do. We talked about his early days studying with Ali Akbar Khan, the landscape of spirituality and the 1960s, his passion for Indian classical music and kirtan and of course Neem Karoli Baba. Hearing Jai tell these stories had me forgetting that I was supposed to be on the other side of the table guiding the conversation. It was as if I was I was floating down the Ganga yearning for more of the unique musical magic that Jai creates. His new album “Roots, Rock, Rama!” is out now.
Jai Uttal has been rightly hailed as a world music pioneer. Singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, he was among the first to hear the universal heartbeat in the variegated rhythms of the globe. But his powerful, plangent voice and panoramic musical vision have also long been at the core of the yoga community’s tradition of call-and response devotional chanting known as kirtan. While his music is deeply rooted in Indian classical tradition—he studied long and hard under the Indian sarod master Ali Akbar Khan—it is also plentifully imbued with echoes of reggae, rock, folk, Brazilian music, Bollywood and other sounds from across the musical universe. All of these diverse and colorful strands are woven together beautifully on Roots, Rock, Rama!
Why are relationships so hard? If you’re anything like I am you’ve spent immeasurable time and effort clawing away at romantic relationships that just never seem to work out. For me personally, it’s been by far the biggest supplier of grist for the mill. When the offer came across my desk to have Stan on the podcast I immediately jumped on it because I not only wanted to bring his wisdom to you but I also wanted to get into the deep end of my own issues. I got so much out of this one. We talked about the patterns within relationships, our nervous systems, gender roles and history, neurobiology and why that plays a role and techniques for dealing with conflict. Stan is smart, wise, very well educated and compassionate. Check out his site, books and this podcast!
Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, is a clinician, researcher, teacher, and developer of A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT). He has a clinical practice in Calabasas, CA, where he has specialized for the last 15 years in working with couples and individuals who wish to be in relationships. He and his wife, Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin, developed the PACT Institute for the purpose of training other psychotherapists to use this method in their clinical practice.
In addition, Dr. Tatkin teaches and supervises first- through third-year family medicine residents at Kaiser Permanente, Woodland Hills, CA, and is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. He is on the board of directors of Lifespan Learning Institute and serves as a core member on Relationships First, a nonprofit organization founded by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.
Pick up a copy of Wired for Love:
In so many ways todays comedians are really the philosophers of the day. The medium allows these great minds to tackle tricky, touchy and controversial subjects in a way that can’t be done without humor to offset peoples preconceived notions or the dreaded political correctness. Adrienne Airhart is no exception to this art – she came by the kitchen table to talk about her life as a comedian, how psychedelics are influencing her work and how a difficult and traumatic early life led to a breakthrough in becoming an incredibly strong woman. I really enjoyed getting into her mind and thought waves, I hope you do too!
Intro Rant: Death. Yes, death.
Adrienne Airhart is a comedian, writer and “cannabis professional.” My degree is in linguistics, with an emphasis on the history of the English language. By night I am a stand up comedian, a presence which bleeds into much of my creative writing, as humor is the tie that brings compassion and education into interesting text. My favorite topics involve cannabis and general “woke-ness”, ranging from environmental issues, cultural divides, psychedelics, and learning how to survive a scary political climate.