Recorded in the midst of the swirling love-verse that is BhaktiFest, Vish graces the podcast with his wisdom, heart and humor. Visvambhar or “Vish” as he is affectionately known uses kirtan as his vehicle for delivering knowledge on how to incorporate practical devotion into your daily life. Our conversation covered his unique take on Bhakti Yoga, growing up in ISKCON, the many different philosophical paths, daily practice and the joy of kirtan. I’ve known Vish for a few years now and to see him rise to become not just a magnificent kirtan wallah but also a wisdom leader is remarkable. Listen with love!
Intro rant – The elections, fires and what we can do
Please support the Mayapuris fundraising drive for their new album – 9islands – CLICK HERE
Visvambhar ‘Vish’ Sheth –
Visvambhar ‘Vish’ Sheth is the lead singer of the internationally acclaimed group ‘The Mayapuris’, a headlining Kirtan group that has rocked stages from India to Florida, Australia to South Africa. Starting at the age of 5, Vish has spent his life leading Kirtans in the ISKCON (Vaisnava) tradition. He is a multi-instrumentalist, and a master of the Mridanga drum and performs in traditional as well as fusion styles. Vish started performing in the modern yoga studio culture 2007, and since then he has performed at countless studio gatherings and well known spiritual venues like Bhaktifest, Omega Institute, Wanderlust, Beloved Festival, Floyd Festival, and many others. In addition to being a master percussionist, Vish also plays many instruments – harmonium, bamboo flute, guitar, sitar, and bass. Vish is an in-demand sideman as well, and has toured with Kirtan pioneer Jai Uttal and is also a performing and recording artist with the renowned world-beat ensemble, The Hanumen. Vish has not only mastered his art but has a rare capacity to invoke the ‘rasa’ or the essence of the transcendental energies that define the Kirtan path.
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