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Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold Hardcover – February 15, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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About the Author

 

In the winter of 1968, Krishna Das met spiritual seeker Ram Dass and was enthralled by the stories of his recent trip to India, where he met the legendary guru Neem Karoli Baba. Soon thereafter, he left behind his dreams of being a rock ’n’ roll star and was on his way to India to meet this remarkable Being. In the three years he spent there with Neem Karoli Baba, Krishna Das’s heart was drawn to the practice of Bhakti Yoga—the yoga of devotion—and especially to the practice of kirtan (chanting the Divine Names).

Krishna Das returned to the United States and, as he continued chanting, developed his signature style, fusing traditional kirtan structure with Western harmonic and rhythmic sensibilities. He travels the world, leading call-and-response kirtans and sharing this deep, experiential practice with thousands of people.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; Har/Com edition (February 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401920225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401920227
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By John E. Welshons on February 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In May of 1973, when I first met Ram Dass in Tampa, Florida, a young fellow named "Krishna Das" was traveling with him. "K.D.," as we came to refer to him, was a quiet, gentle soul who - in those days - spoke softly and infrequently. But when he sang, his songs to God opened up the Heavens . . . and pure Love and Light poured from his heart, and from the hearts of those who had the opportunity to be in the "Presence" his songs invoked.
It was May 22, 1973. We were sitting on "Crescent Hill" on the campus of the University of South Florida as the sun was setting in the West. Krishna Das was leading nearly 3000 people in the Indian form of devotional singing known as "kirtan." Celestial music began to flow in, and out, and around, and through the gathering . . . floating on the warm, majestic, tropical evening breeze . . . holy sounds magically lifting our hearts into the realms of the Spirit.
Now, some 37 years later, Krishna Das has become known as the foremost "kirtan-walla" in America . . . an accolade that is well deserved because he is simply the best. And it is my pleasure and honor to be able to highly recommend his new auto-biography . . . a beautiful journey of the heart . . . Chants of a Lifetime . . .
It is the story of a profound journey from confusion and emptiness into the Heart of Love. Anyone who lived through the Sixties and Seventies, or who seeks a greater understanding of the spiritual transformations those years engendered will find this book both fascinating and insightful. And anyone who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the many dimensions of yoga will find much to savor and reflect on in this delightful, inspirational story of one man's sincere search for the path to Truth . . . and his exuberant gratitude about finding it.
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Format: Paperback
I don't lose books.

I lost this one.

A few years ago, I bought "Chants of a Lifetime" in Los Angeles, got on the plane, read a few chapters, put it aside and walked off the plane without it.

I realized right away I didn't have it.

But I didn't go back for it.

You read books when you're ready for them. Clearly I wasn't ready for the memoir of a desperately unhappy kid who falls in love with Neem Karoli Baba, finds ultimate happiness through his guru, loses it and regains it by chanting the names of God in a language he doesn't understand.

What changed for me?

First is an echo of a decades-ago conversation I had with the great short story writer Andre Dubus. I asked him why he went to Mass every day. He said; "Because if Ronald Reagan defines ultimate reality, I'd have to shoot myself!" That's pretty much how I have come to feel about most of what now passes for news: If this is reality, I need to find something else.

Better believe I have looked hard. And found lots of wisdom. But nothing grabbed me, shook me, calmed me until I encountered the music of Krishna Das. For the last few years, my wife and I have been going to his evenings at a church on the West Side. I am so not a chanter, so not a joiner, so not a seeker after a guru. But I have cherished these evenings. Last year, we brought the child, who complained briefly, then drifted into a beatific snooze.

And now I find I'm noticing a convergence of my head with others. A friend and I were talking about the music in heavy rotation in our lives. I said I was mostly listening to Krishna Das.

"I don't know why," I said, "but I feel Krishna Das helps me deal with a lot of the junk that's in my way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The great Hatha Yogi and teacher, TKV Desikachar, once said, "If you tell a person who cannot find their own house that there is a pot of gold inside, they would be happier had they not had this information. What use is the gold if it cannot be found? It only causes pain. First, they must find the house and enter it. Then there are many possibilities." His message outlines the dilemma peculiar to our age and culture for those of us embarking on a spiritual path today. We long for the promised gold of love that (we are told) lies at the heart of our true nature, but our history--in the West particularly--has been to seek our treasure on the outside. We have not been taught how to love ourselves. It is dark in this place, and we have lost our way home.

In his new book, Chants of A Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold, Krishna Das gives us the story of his own path and, in the offering, provides us with a light to help guide us on our return journey home. With the characteristic informality, warmth and humor that we have come to know as his signature style at his kirtans, KD chronicles the story of a spiritual journey that is American at its roots. He is no yogi who might seem to be talking to us from a world set on high and apart. We know him; his trials are familiar to us. He is our son, our brother, our father, our friend. His unflinching honesty regarding his setbacks along the way is all the more assurance for us that what he has to say about grace and developing a practice is real and accessible to us right now--just as we are.
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