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!
Every now and then if you keep your eyes, mind and heart open you come across a teacher that will strike a chord of curiosity inside of you. Jai Dev Singh is that. Each time that I’ve seen him in person I clearly get some radiant transmission that’s telling me this guy is doing something that’s working. Really, go see for yourself. Our podcast went through a brief history of the Kundalini yoga tradition, an examination of the word itself, various meditation transmissions, the fusion of consciousness and practice and so so much more. Jai Dev really is a mystic doing great works in the world around us. Visit his website, watch his videos and most of all – enjoy this episode!
INTRO RANT: complacency vs. action, Martin Luther King
Jai Dev Singh is a yogi and teacher. His innovative Yoga and Ayurveda courses have been attended and studied by thousands of people throughout the world. His flagship teachings are offered through The Complete Course of Ayurveda, The Radiant Body Home Course and The Life-Force Academy.
Jai Dev is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and previously served as the Clinical Director at the California College of Ayurveda, as well as the director of the college’s Pancha Karma Center.
He is a Kundalini Yoga teacher, certified by the Kundalini Research Institute. Jai Dev serves on the board of the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology. He is a partner at Floracopeia, Inc.
DYING TO KNOW CROWD FUND: igg.me/at/dyingtoknow
Live from the “Open Your Heart in Paradise” retreat in Maui, I’m joined by Krishna Das for a devotionally potent episode of the show. Not only is KD one of the important transmitters of Neem Karoli Baba’s teachings via his music, he’s also become one of the wisest, most vulnerable and real teachers on the path of love. Our time together covered taking a look at who we think we are, projections onto each other, sharing of his own current vulnerabilities and struggles, the practice of kirtan itself and the need to have fierce compassion in the face of trying times. I can’t say enough about KD and his importance in my life – I hope this episode covers some of that.
For Krishna Das, the journey started in the late 60’s. Krishna Das met spiritual seeker Ram Dass; he traveled across the country with Ram Dass as his student, captivated by the stories of his recent trip to India where he had met the legendary guru Neem Karoli Baba, known to most as Maharaj-ji. Finally, following his heart, in August 1970, Krishna Das left behind his dreams of being a rock star and made his way to meet this remarkable Being. Basking in the love of Maharaj-ji in the three years that followed, KD’s heart was drawn to the practice of Bhakthi Yoga – the yoga of devotion and after two and a half years with Maharaj-ji, he returned to USA – alas, six months after his return, word came that Maharaj-ji had died.
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When Philip Goldberg’s now seminal book “American Veda” came out sometime in 2010 I was immediately drawn to it in a way that I’m not drawn to most books. Finally there was something out there that put this entire scene I find myself a part of into a historical context. Phil stopped by the kitchen table to talk about this, the history of yoga in America, Emerson and Thoreau, taking a look at cultural appropriation, the evolution of yogic methodologies and so much more. If you practice yoga in America I highly recommend that you listen to this podcast. Phil’s wisdom, humor and straight ahead thoughtfulness will enlighten your worldview on not just your own practice but also to the practice as a whole.
Be sure to visit Phil’s site for a bunch of upcoming events including The Beatles Musical Journey to India and many other talks and programs.
Also, be sure to check out Phil’s amazing podcast Spirit Matters!
Philip Goldberg is the author or co-author of numerous books; a public speaker and workshop leader; a spiritual counselor, meditation teacher and ordained Interfaith Minister. He lives in Los Angeles and blogs regularly on Huffington Post and Elephant Journal.
To pick up a copy of American Veda click here:
The Book of the Month selection is “The Journey Within” by Radhanath Swami. There really is no equal for this book in that there’s nothing else like it out.
Click on the image to purchase
It’s a step by step breakdown of the practice of bhakti yoga with as little dogma as possible. If you’re new to the path of yoga or an old time practitioner, this book gives new light to the origins and depths of these practices. Highly recommended reading.
Ever wondered how to be “ultra spiritual”? Look no further! The great JP Sears makes his way on to the podcast to discuss ultra-spirituality, laughter in the spiritual world, our true roles and identities and offers a whole new lens to look at non-attachment with. JP goes beyond just being the Andy Kaufman of the spiritual world – he is truly a wise, accomplished and vast spiritual teacher. Check out what he’s doing beyond just the insanely brilliant viral videos and you get thrusted into the idea of questioning everything you think you know.
From his website “I’m an emotional healing coach, international teacher, world traveler, and curious student of life. My work is intended to empower people to empower themselves to live more meaningful lives.
I run a very busy one-on-one client practice (most sessions are via skype) where I’m fortunate enough to work with people everyday on healing their hearts, resolving self-sabotage, and stepping into their true power.
I also lead retreats around the world on different healing and personal empowerment themes for like minded and like hearted people to come together and learn, grow, and heal.
I also make videos. I’m very active on my YouTube channel, where I regularly release videos to help people help themselves. I also make comedy videos known as my ‘Ultra Spiritual’ series. Aside from the entertainment value of these humorous videos, they also carry important underlying messages (at least I think so, but I’m biased because they’re my videos).”
My dear friend, brother, teacher and all around inspiration Govind Das stops by the kitchen table to talk with me about what yoga means in a 21st Century application, the path of bhakti, how to combat the Maya, embracing ones dharma and finding compassion in these troubling times. Govind Das is truly one of the great American yoga teachers and you should check out his classes and offerings whenever possible.
INTRO TOPIC – my confusion around the new age community and the recent police brutality events.
Govind Das first came to yoga while living in Los Angeles in 1994 because of health concerns- specifically ulcerative colitis/crohn’s/inflammatory bowel disease… After years of many different practices with the intention of healing(hatha yoga, ayurveda, buddhist meditation etc), Ira Rosen found his yogic “home’ in the path of Bhakti Yoga… the aspect of yoga frequently described as the “yoga of the heart” or “the yoga of love and devotion”. Not by avoiding or denying our life and health challenges, but only by accepting and courageously moving through and forward, the flower of our full appreciation and devotion to Life blooms. It is in this tradition of “Bhakti/Devotion” where Ira was given his spiritual name- Govind Das or simply “Govindas” which means “servant of the Divine”… This path of service is at the root of his spiritual life- to serve the Love and Spirit that lives in the hearts of all. His journey has led him to India on 5 different occasions to immerse himself in the ways of the yoga tradition at the Ashram of his “Guru” or main spirtual teacher- Neem Karoli Baba, as well as spending time in holy yogic places like Vrindavan, Varanasi, Rishikesh and many more… Through his journeys to the “motherland of yoga”- India, Govindas has been blessed to enjoy the “darshan” or be in the company of many yogic saints, sadhus, and wise teachers- It is from these transmissions that Govindas shares the authenticity of the Bhakti path… As well Govindas would like to express heartfelt gratitude to his yoga teachers here in California – Bryan Kest, Saul David Raye, Shiva Rea, and Mark Whitwell… and bow to his Bhakti and Kirtan teachers Ram Dass, Jai Uttal, Bhagavan Das, Krishna Das, Shyam Das, Raghu Markusand many many more…
While hundreds are practicing yoga and singing kirtan, Sridhar and I find a quiet place to sit down and do a podcast in the middle of the annual Shakti Fest festival in Joshua Tree, California. Our conversation takes on a wide biographical tone in that I used Sridhar’s amazing life as the backdrop for a discussion on the practice of yoga, the wisdom of Bhakti and the complicated nature behind this whole guru thing. Sridhar has one of the most colorful lives I’ve ever come across and I can say without any ego, that’s saying a lot.
While many people may know him as the Godfather of Bhakti Fest, Sridhar Silberfein has a long and storied history in the spirituality and health and wellness communities. He arranged to have Swami Satchidananda on stage at Woodstock to lead the Western world’s first mass Sanskrit chanting. And since the 1970s, one of the first stops in the US for many great spiritual teachers has been the Center for Spiritual Studies, a nonprofit organization Sridhar founded. Sridhar’s mission for everyone he meets or influences is to provide assistance to go deeper into Sadhana (or spiritual practice)—even if it requires a dose of tough love.