"Kirtana means both lecturing and chanting with music. The chanting with music is especially attractive for the mass of people, but talking from philosophical point of view on Krishna Consciousness is also chanting."
-A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

"The Way of Love: Kirtan as Worship" - An Interview with Vaiyasaki Das (Integral Yoga Magazine, Winter 2009).

In 1978, Vaiyasaki Das arrived in Bangladesh. On a boat trip down the Meghna River he chanced upon a local kirtan band on its way to a festival. He decided to follow them and attend that festival. That night his life changed forever. He discovered the ancient Bengali art of raga kirtan and was moved as never before. In this interview, the legendary kirtan singer shares the wisdom of the art and heart of kirtan.

Integral Yoga Magazine (IYM): How did you get your
name and how did you become drawn to the ancient
Bengali kirtan tradition?

Vaiyasaki Das (VD): My guru, Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada, gave me this name. It is the name of a great
sage who attained perfection through kirtan. Once I
discovered what the name meant and, because I loved
music, I felt that was a message there from my guru. Doors
opened and I went through them; the bridges appeared
and I crossed them.

In the early 1970s, I met some Bengali people and heard
their kirtan, and it blew me away. I was overpowered and
in tears. In that part of India, the mood is more open,
more emotionally expressive. I was very drawn to that
style. I was living in India in 1975 and studying Sanskrit.

Then a few years later, I heard some Bengali kirtan
groups and wanted to learn that style of kirtan. So I
went to Bangladesh and began studying Bengali. I was
traveling by boat one day and noticed there was a group
of musicians in the boat. I met them and began studying
with them. They did fantastic kirtans, a type of kirtan I
had never heard before, and I soon learned that this was
the raga kirtan style...


Download complete interview with Vaiyasaki Das. Download





CD Review/ "Sri Krishna Divya Nam" by Vaiyasaki Das (2009)
Review by Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa)

Vaiyasaki Das is among my favorite kirtaniyas, and he is a credit to the kirtan movement today -- a precious gem that shines brightly even in the midst of glistening jewels.

His story is retold in my book, The Yoga of Kirtan (www.yogaofkirtan.com), and readers are advised to peruse those pages to learn his personal history, to see how his natural talents were polished, again, like a fine gem, by his spiritual teacher and by the process of Bhakti-yoga, how his taste for kirtan developed and how his heart was thereby cleansed.

His numerous CDs are seminal for anyone trying to enter into the moods and feelings of kirtan, and this author recommends his work above all others.


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Contact: Vaiyasaki@kirtan.org