Category Archives: Music

The Muses & the 7 days of the week

Which days of the week are associated with the muses?

In Greek mythology, the Muses are typically associated with different areas of the arts and sciences, but they are not specifically associated with particular days of the week. However, there is a traditional Western association of the days of the week with planets and deities. If we were to loosely associate the Muses with the days of the week based on their domains and the traditional associations, it might look something like this:

  1. Calliope (Epic Poetry) – Monday (associated with the Moon)
  2. Clio (History) – Tuesday (associated with Mars, god of war and bravery)
  3. Euterpe (Music) – Wednesday (associated with Mercury, messenger of the gods)
  4. Thalia (Comedy) – Thursday (associated with Jupiter, king of the gods)
  5. Melpomene (Tragedy) – Friday (associated with Venus, goddess of love and beauty)
  6. Terpsichore (Dance) – Saturday (associated with Saturn, god of time)
  7. Erato (Love Poetry) – Sunday (associated with the Sun)

Please note that this is a loose and modern interpretation and not a traditional association from ancient mythology.

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~Sakshi Zion

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Lono of the Vastness – Hawaii

Native Hawaiian culture is a unique and special piece of the Polynesian melting pot. One of the most famous aspects of this culture is the worship of the god Lono. Hawaii has been called Lono of the Vastness since ancient times. In this article, I will discuss the origin and meaning of the name, as well as its connection to traditional Hawaiian culture.

The name Lono comes from the Hawaiian god Lono, who is credited with bringing the laws and customs that are important to Hawaiian culture and beliefs. Lono is a god of peace and fertility and is known as the King of the Isles and Lord of the Skies. He is seen as a provider of life, fertility, and prosperity. The word lono actually means “plenty” or “abundance”.

The origin of the name Lono of the Vastness comes from an ancient Hawaiian creation story. According to this story, the god Kane and the goddess Hina created four islands: Hawaii, Kauai, Oahu, and Maui. Following the creation of the islands, Kane and Hina decided to name them. They chose the name Lono for Hawaii, based on the god Lono’s bounty of abundance and fertility.

The connection between Lono and Hawaii is strong and deeply embedded in Hawaiian culture. Lono is seen as a source of protection and abundance, and is celebrated in the annual Makahiki festival. The Makahiki festival is a time of spiritual renewal and is meant to honor and thank Lono for the abundance and prosperity that come to the islands.

Lono is also seen as the protector of the islands. Ancient Hawaiian chiefs regularly prayed to Lono in their efforts to bring protection and prosperity to their people. This connection to the spirit world has been seen as an important part of Hawaiian culture and beliefs, and the name Lono of the Vastness reinforces this connection.

The name Lono of the Vastness is an important part of Hawaii’s history and culture. It is a reminder of the god Lono and his role in Hawaiian mythology and beliefs. The connection of the god to the islands can be seen in the celebration of the Makahiki festival, as well as the prayers from Hawaiian chiefs for protection and abundance. These all make clear why Hawaii is sometimes called Lono of the Vastness.

Thanks for visiting my blog! To learn more about the Law of Attraction and to start your own journey with a team of like-minded and inspired Entrepreneurs, forging a way to make the world a better place for all, just like you…

Click here & listen to our Daily Mastermind Call (recorded live Mon-Fri) & also I invite you to learn more about our premiere Home Business Academy here. I’m here to help! See You on the Inside! 

~Sakshi Zion

The History of the Ethiopian David Harp

In ancient times, the use of a musical instrument known as the David harp was common among the Ethiopian Jews, who referred to the instrument as a “kinnor.” A kinnor is a three-stringed instrument that is believed to have derived from the Middle Eastern lyre and is made of an animal skin stretched over a circular wooden sound box. The strings are generally made of sheep gut, which produces a softer and more subtle sound than the strings made of metal which are found in modern harps. The David harvest was named after King David, who is said to have invented the instrument, according to Jewish tradition.

The use of the David harp can be traced back to the ninth century BCE and it is believed to have been brought to Ethiopia through the Jews of the diaspora who were fleeing religious persecution. The Jews of Ethiopia brought the harp with them and it became a part of their culture and practice of ethnic worship. In the 19th century, the instrument was highly popular among Jewish communities and it was used at weddings and religious ceremonies. The harp is also closely associated with the Amharic language, which is spoken in Ethiopia, as it is used to accompany fans during ceremonial singing and story-telling.

The use of a kinnor is mentioned in the Bible in many different contexts, including the story of King David and his use of the harp to calm King Saul (1 Samuel 16:23). The instrument was also seen as a symbol of devotion to God in the ancient world and it is closely associated with sacred practices. In addition, the kinnor was often used in Ethiopian Jewish music to accompany the melodies and rhythms of their religious practices.

The design of the David harp has changed over time and it is believed to be the ancestor of the modern harp. The Ethiopian Jews used a variety of materials in the construction of the David harp and they often decorated the instrument with colorful fabrics or gemstones. The players of the David harp were highly skilled and they often sang and composed their own songs.

Over time, the use of the David harp declined and the instrument was no longer played as frequently as it had been in the past. However, in recent years there has been a revival of interest in the traditional Ethiopian music and the kinnor has seen a resurgence in popularity in some areas.

In summary, the David harp is an ancient instrument that has a long and rich history in Ethiopia. The instrument is closely associated with the practice of ritual worship by the Ethiopian Jews and it has played an important part in Ethiopian culture for centuries. The David harp is also believed to be the ancestor of the modern harp and its use and design have changed over time. In recent years, the instrument has seen a resurgence in popularity and it continues to be used in certain areas.

Thanks for visiting my blog! To learn more about the Law of Attraction and to start your own journey with a team of like-minded and inspired Entrepreneurs, forging a way to make the world a better place for all, just like you…

Click here & listen to our Daily Mastermind Call (recorded live Mon-Fri) & also I invite you to learn more about our premiere Home Business Academy here. I’m here to help! See You on the Inside!

~Sakshi Zion

Gimme Di Weed (Offical Music Video) by Sakshi Zion & Benificiall

We have just unleashed the New Ganja Anthem for 2021! The new anthem “Gimme Di Weed” (Official Music Video) by Sakshi Zion and Benificiall is on that next level!

With guest appearances by Abba T & Empress Cathy (Selassie Ites band), Ono Vegan Food @onoveganfood, and of course The Holy Herb of Creation.

The lyrics are like a prayer or mantra :

Gimme di weed, gimme di good Ganja weed, Jah preserve my soul and give me the seed, the tree, the Tree of Life set a me free, and give length of days, and prosperity.

Special Thanks goes to LZ aka Lucas Zambrano (videographer), Chip Reardin (producer), Abba T and Empress Cathy (Selassie Ites Band), Ono Vegan Food (for the delicious and beautiful Papaya Bowls, the Sacred Ganja & the King of Kings Jah Rastafari for all the inspiration and guidance.

This song was written by Sakshi Zion & Benificiall

Produced by Sakshi Zion

Mix and Mastered by Chip Reardin

Sanctuary (Official Music Video) by Sakshi Zion

I know a place we can go, a place to get away from the snow, a place so deep down inside…. Go within the Door?of your Heart ♥️ and ye shall find your Divine Sanctuary.. My NEW Music Video is Now Available on YouTube and the song is available on All Streaming Platforms!

Watch ? and Listen? Now!

I am super excited to announce the new release of my single “Sanctuary” along with the Official Music Video. This is by far the best quality recording and video I’ve done yet in my music career. Me and my producer Chip Reardin worked long and hard on this one. We wanted to give you all the best quality song and video from our hearts. With all the uncertainty and struggle in this time, this song is my offering to all souls seeking a refuge from the intensities of today, a small reminder that our place of peace is right within us… our Sanctuary.


You can also listen to the song on All Streaming Platforms..

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music


Music & Lyrics Written by Sakshi Zion & Gabriel Lantz.

Music performed by Sakshi Zion.

Music co-written & performed by Chip Reardin.

Backup vocals by Shaina Marie.

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Chip Reardin.

Co-produced by Sakshi Zion.

Outro of song “Thunder” inspired by the late Sri Charles Davis of Shanti Villa and Heal The Atmosphere Association. ?


Here’s the Lyrics :

I know a place we can go

A place to get away from the snow

A place so deep down inside

Oh Jah will take us higher and higher

Chorus :

Higher, higher, higher, higher, higher

My heart is filled with so much desire

Higher, higher, higher, higher, higher

Oh Jah will take us higher and higher

Rap :

Yo, when I step into the temple

It’s simple, revelations pour out my mental

I’m wishful, for a better world

Visionary star-gate, I make it unfurl

Iyah iiightz, lights, knowledge and wisemind

Yo we haffi know the mystery within divine rhyme

I climb Jacob’s latter, chakras on mi spine

The kundalini serpent unwinds and aligns

It’s time for the union of God and Goddess

Mary Magdalene and Yeshua bless

Incarnated from Osiris and Empress Isis

The oneness of InI consciousness

Supreme embellishment, ancient Kemetic script

Yo, we building the Gods, this wisdom heaven sent

InI represent, cosmic elements

Yo, the masters perfect as the soul resurrects yo

Pre-Chorus :

I know a place we can go

A place to get away from the snow

A place so deep down inside

Oh Jah will take us higher and higher

Chorus :

Higher, higher, higher, higher, higher

My heart is filled with so much desire

Higher, higher, higher, higher, higher

Oh Jah will take us higher and higher

Bridge :

Only InI can save me, under the Bodhi tree wakey wakey

Only InI can save me, I enter into my sanctuary 

Only InI can save me, under the Bodhi tree wakey wakey

Only InI can save me, I enter into my sanctuary 

Outro :

Thunder, Thunderation, we the Rastafarites of Jah nation

Thunder, Thunderation, we create a healing vibration

Thunder, Thunderation, we the Rastafarites of Jah nation

Thunder, Thunderation, we create a healing vibration

We create a healing vibration, we create a healing vibration

We create a healing vibration, we create a healing vibration



You can also find my music on SoundCloud, Tidal, Pandora, Amazon Music and more… For all my most relevant links in one easy place, go here : http://linktr.ee/sakshizion

In The Sunshine by Sakshi Zion

Recently we did a show here on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Here is a cool version of my song, “In The Sunshine” ? Live at Herbivores in Kailua-Kona with my friends BenJah (keys), Tone-I (bass), Matt (drums) & Ian (sax).

This event was on July 24th, 2020 in celebration of Haile Selassie I 128th Birthday Anniversary.

Shine On! Thanks for watching! Listen to more of my music here…







Saint Sarah, Santa Sara La Kali, Sarah the Egyptian

Saint Sarah aka Santa Sara La Kali aka Sarah the Egyptian aka Sarasvati Lakshmi Kali, daughter of Jesus & Mary Magdalene, known by Catholics as Egyptian servant to the Three Mary’s as they fled from Roman persecution in Jerusalem to France to a place now known as Saintes Maries de la Mer in Camarque, France.

To the Romani Gypsies, she is Santa Sara la Kali, the Patron Saint of the Gypsies. To Gnostics, Essenes & Nazoreans she was actually the daughter of Jesus & Mary Magdalene, disguised as a servant to hide her true identity. It is said that, every year since their arrival the people have been celebrating the day of their arrival to France at the coast with a large pilgrimage festival. The day of the pilgrimage honouring Sarah is May 24; her statue is carried down to the sea on this day to re-enact her arrival in France.

Some authors have drawn parallels between the ceremonies of the pilgrimage and the worship of the Hindu goddess Kali (a form of Durga), subsequently identifying the two. Ronald Lee states:

“If we compare the ceremonies with those performed in France at the shrine of Sainte Sara (called Sara e Kali in Romani), we become aware that the worship of Kali/Durga/Sara has been transferred to a Christian figure… in France, to a non-existent “sainte” called Sara, who is actually part of the Kali/Durga/Sara worship among certain groups in India.”

The name “Sara” itself is seen in the appellation of Durga as Kali in the famed text Durgasaptashati.

In The Rozabal Line, author Ashwin Sanghi puts forward that Sara-la-Kali refers to the three Hindu goddesses – Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Kali – the goddesses of Knowledge, Wealth and Power – symbolizing the trinity of female power.

Many Faces Many Names (Official Music Video)

Backstory: We wrote and released this song over 11 years ago.. it became and continues to be one of our fans and friends favorites. Recently, B-Still and I were together in Bloomington, Indiana where we met and originally wrote and recorded the song.. and decided to shoot a video for our underground classic. We selected several spiritual destinations in “Btown” and Gabriel Lantz shot the footage. Yamily Creative Company edited the video and Chip Reardin, the original producer of the song, Re-Mastered the track as well. Enjoy! Namaste!


I am the One with Many Faces & Many Many Names,

God & Goddess in the hearts that flame,

The rain, the sun, the stars and the moon,

The earth and universe, the song and the tune.

(Verse 1 – Sakshi Zion)

I Am That I Am, the light, shining bright tonight

Like the fire of Yahweh before Moses at Sinai

The burning bush, Ganja, Holy Marijuana

There’s a natural mystic blowing thru the air, Oh Jah

Heartbeats of freedom, Buddha, Bodhisattva Zen,

I’mma climbin Jacob’s ladder to the highest heaven,

to the palace within, I sip the chalice again,

on my flyin carpet Iyah soar Himalayan Mountains

(Chorus)

(Verse 2 – B-Still)

They call me Buddha when they know that money isn’t true worth,

they call me the Great Spirit when they can feel me from the earth,

they call me Apollo when they follow me to the west,

call me Jesus in the Middle East, that’s where you know me best,

call me the effect of drugs, when they only feel me shroomin,

call me their soulmate when they see me in a human,

call me the Self of all things when you see things clearly..

It don’t matter what you call me, as long as you can hear me.

(Verse 3 – Sakshi Zion)

I am the one in Kailash, where I smoke ganja

With my coiled dreadlocks dat dem call Jata

They call me Shiva, in Meditation,

I have been that I Am from Creation,

to the zenith of the One, all my relations,

Aho Mitakyasin to all the nations

They call me Krishna Kokopeli with the magic flute

The Kabbalic Tree of Life, with everlasting fruits

They call me Bacchus, Dionysus, got the wine of bliss,

intoxicated circle dance with the flower goddesses,

they call me Isis, Mother Mary, the Magdalene,

the Queen, Triple Goddess, Gaia Earth so Green,

they call me Allah, the Great and Powerful Source,

Kundalini Shakti coiling serpent force,

they call me Rastafari, the King of Kings

Bhakti Yoga is the path, see me dance and sing ahhh

(Chorus & instrumental solo)

(Verse 4 – B-Still)

If I came as a blind man, would you hold my hand?

If I came as animal, would you protect my land?

If I came as the tree, would you cut me down?

And if I came as the rain, would you thank me now?

I come in Rainbows, not jus one single color

So when I come in another race, will you still see me as your brother?

If I said it was you, would you stop searching for me?

I’m what you close your eyes and feel, not what you think you see

They call me 99 names cause you can only describe me,

said I had 1000 yes, Infinity you’ll find me,

call me Keeli-Ana-Kulu-Kulu if you a Zulu

Under the Bodhi tree, like the Buddha I school you

(Verse 5 – Sakshi Zion)

I Am the Omkar, The Primordial Sound

Look Around, I Surround, You’re on Holy Ground

They call me Shanti, Shalom, Pax & Peace

Zion Temple of Love, I Am the High Priest

Emmanuel, Melchizedek, Avilokateshwar

Medicine Buddha and the Green Tara

I Am the whisper of the wind and the ocean’s wave

Jah Redemption call, knowledge of Self that saves

Yeshua Kristos, Haile Selassie I

I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality

Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality (revised)

by Antonya Wallace (Anth-E200) 12/7/2010

Introduction: Baraka: a blessing, the essence of life, soul power. It’s a Thursday night, and while most people are headed out to the bars, I’m making my way across town to Sakshi’s house to sit in during a Baraka Kirtan performance. Kirtan is an ancient Indian tradition based on Bhakti Yoga, which uses music and chanting as an avenue to spiritual enlightenment. As I enter the house the smell of roasting vegetables, marijuana, and halava fills my nose. I later learned that food is almost always present and sanctified so that it can be offered to God. They believe that when one eats sanctified food, that the food purifies the soul. Since Kirtan has roots in India there isn’t any beef (or any meat for that matter) being served, due to their animals sacred role in India. Yet, not all Kirtankars (one who practices/performs Kirtan) are vegetarian. It just happened that everyone in attendance tonight was. Another thing that everyone shares is the use of marijuana, which is smiled upon, as it is believed to promote enlightenment, drive the music, and as an added benefit, make the food taste even more divine. Smoking was also used socially to bring everyone together to prepare for the beginning of the ceremony. I was only there to observe so I did not enhance my chances of enlightenment.

I thought it was important to note that as I entered the room; warm faces, hugs, and a plate of food greeted me. That hospitality was due in part because Sakshi used to be my neighbor and he was the first person I met when I moved to Bloomington. But the royal treatment wasn’t reserved just for ex-neighbors. As I sat watching I noticed that the Kirtan community is open and loving to everyone. As each person entered Sakshi’s house they were greeted by first name, a hug, food, and an offer to play music. I decided that I would not participate in the event so that I could have an etic point of view. I pulled up a chair slightly to the side of the group and began my observations. The heavy smell of incense being burned drowned out the colorful smells of food and ganja.

I really enjoyed the scent of the incense so after the event I asked what it was. To my astonishment it was part of another practice that I was completely oblivious to. “Agnihotra is a Vedic yajna and involves the burning of cow dung and ghee butter in an inverted copper pyramid at dusk and dawn precisely, while chanting Vedic mantras. Properly performed, this ritual according to the Vedic tradition brings about enormous healing and purification of the environment. The Agnihotra is a powerful yajna that in my experience brings about a deep sense of peace. This 5-minute process feels like coming out of an hour of meditation. It’s a grounding practices and assists in uncovering the real Self, hidden underneath all of the mental chatter. The fact that the dung of the cow is such an important part of this process is really significant given the way this culture brutalizes and tortures these sacred creatures” (ecovillage.wordpress.com). It seems that this practice speaks to the Kirtan community’s “love-all” mentality.

I learned that it was a good practice to do the Agnihotra before the real ceremony began, so that everything is cleansed. I learned, “The rites of the Morning-Agnihotra are almost the same as the rites of the Evening-Agnithotra; but, in many instances, the formulas uttered by the Adhvaryu or the Sacrificer are different” (Paul-Emile Dumont). I was only there for the evening Agnihotra so I cannot compare the differences with the morning ritual.

As the musicians began to take their seats, they ditched their shoes and sat in a semi-circle. The audience comprised the other half of the circle, therefore creating an atmosphere for the call and response style of the music. The simple act of sitting on the ground in a circle is an example of universal primitive behavior. Speaking generally, almost all ancient human groups have sat communally in circles during gatherings. Circular shaped atmospheres bring the listeners directly into the experience. They stop being just listeners, and become participants. The circle encourages each person to look into another’s eyes as they are beckoned to respond to the singer’s calls.

Each “Baba” grabbed their respective instrument; Sakshi Gopal Das on the harmonium, Arun Baba on the bansuri (a type of wooden flute), Zen-G on the guitar, and Ras D Hanubaba on percussion instruments, including the tabla, mridanga, djembe, and kartals. Kirtan events can be played in any musical style with any instrumentation. Baraka Kirtan chooses to stick with more traditional instrumentation on most nights. They also perform many different styles on their CD. Some of those styles include non-traditional instruments such as, electric guitars, bass, drums sets, and digital voice alterations. The style that they choose for each performance is generally based off of their mood that day.

The music begins and the first song (always) is Hare Krishna. Hare is the feminine energy of God, and Krishna means “all attractive one”. During the opening song, “a simple melody is repeated many times at continuously faster tempos and greater volumes until a climax is reached, at which point the whole process may begin again with either the same or a new melody…commonly a line of melody was first sung responsorily four times – leader, chorus, leader, chorus – before proceeding to the next line of the melody… [then] the whole procedure would start over…but at an increased tempo” (Slawek 80). Tonight’s leader, Sakshi sang,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The, the audience, some with eyes closed, some staring, some praying, would all participate on during the response. Everyone was completely indulged in their own self-awareness and spiritual being. The sound of all the voices in unison had a surprisingly rich tone. It was nice to be at a ceremony where everyone felt the freedom of creativity and experimented with harmonies, and adding their own flares to each response. The allowance of creativity offers everyone a unique personal experience for his or her spirituality. In some instances if the audience is really enjoying the performance, “The chorus of talkaris (kirtan) often interrupts the kirtankar’s sermon with the singing of a topically relevant abhanga and may take over the performance of a song that a kirtankar has begun. In fact, a warkari kirtankar can easily deliver an entire kirtan and only sing a few solo lines of the song” (Shultz 309). Since Indiana doesn’t have a very large Hare Krishna movement going on underground…Sakshi was more than welcome to solo until the cows (who weren’t eaten J) came home.

Main Argument: While I sat there watching everyone divulge all their energy into devotion through song, I found myself wondering why a genre of music that provides so much peace to people is not more mainstream. In fact, I can’t recall a time that I’ve ever heard Kirtan music on the radio, except when Sakshi would call me and tell me to tune it to Bloomington’s public radio station when Baraka Kirtan was playing.

Sakshi said that Kirtan is actually becoming a new genre in popular music, whereas before it was seated in the world music category. It seems that Kirtan’s growing popularity is due to its message of love, peace, and self-awareness; which can be contrasted by the mind numbingly idiotic music blaring on B97.7 day and day out.

I don’t want to come across as a racist person but I did notice that everyone in attendance (with the exception of me) was Caucasian, and none of us were from India. So my research question would have to be, How did an Indian tradition that’s not very well known, become a subculture in the United States? What makes this music more popular than other forms of world music?

Theory: Those who practice Kirtan disregard arbitrary attributes such as gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. Kirtan is a catalyst to deeper spiritual awakening. People are instantly drawn to the ideology of togetherness that Kirtan offers. While most religions in our society offer a “Get Saved or Burn for Eternity” methodology, Kirtan’s job is to improve each person’s relationship with their own spiritual power.

Unlike most organized religions in the world, which ask you to abandon any other religious beliefs that may conflict with their doctrines, Kirtan lets you keep any, and all your beliefs. The point of Kirtan is to deepen your own spiritual awareness, in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the spirit, self, and even other religions. It seems that since Kirtan offers such a contrast to more popular well-known religions like Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, etc…that people are also attracted just to get a taste of something new. Kirtan differs from other world religions in that they have never gone on some “convert or die” crusade. Instead of seeking out new members, they let the members seek them out, and then welcome them into their community with open arms. This method of gaining followers actually appears to have gained more devoted participants because each person is expected to find their own path into the Kirtan realm. If you want to become a part of the Kirtan community you have to make an effort to do so, unlike getting saved at a Baptist church which could be likened to going through a “McSalvation” drive through. Literally, anyone could walk into a church at any time and get saved, as many times as they want…without any real impact on their spiritual receptiveness.

Kirtan offers a tailored experience to each person. The natural feel of Kirtan takes away the hierarchal feel of organized religion. For example, the musicians take off their shoes before they play, everyone sits on the floor together, and shares food. It seems that those actions level the playing field between audience and performer, devotee and sit in, old and young, etc. Other factors that attract people to Kirtan are their love of the environment and preservation of ancient practices.

In the days when going to church has become “the thing to do” and if you don’t then you’re damned, people miss out on a real and physical connection with their spirit. From what I’ve seen many people just go to church to maintain their reputation, or they go but don’t practice what is preached. Churches have become kind of like fast food chains, in that they cater to the masses instead of the individual. The strength of major world religions seems to lie solely in the number of followers as opposed to the devotional strength of said followers. To see devoted followers, head over to a Kirtan event. Before going to the event I had no clue why it was growing, but now I understand that the personalized feel and unique musical styles is driving it to become a more prevalent part of our society (and most likely, many others).

Methodology: Being in such a laid back atmosphere, I thought it most appropriate to just jot down a few notes here and there, and casually start conversations. I began by asking Sakshi what Kirtan means to him. I used the genealogical method in a very loose sense so that I could get a grasp on which he learned from, since he was not born into the community. He actually mentioned that he thought it was a bit funny that here are four Caucasian men observing an Indian tradition, and really using it as a way of life. They have at times been misunderstood, but they simply just want to respect and enjoy the aspects of another culture.

I only observed during the event so as to remain neutral to my experience. We also met at Laughing Planet one day so that he could clarify the words of the songs for me. After talking to an insider, I thought I would interview someone who had no previous knowledge of Kirtan. I talked to Samy Estrada, who gave me her brief thoughts on the atmosphere and preaching of Kirtan. Since she was unable to actually attend the event with me, I asked her to watch one of Baraka Kirtan’s online performances. Since she is also a dancer I asked her to describe the music. She said, “the instrumentation was really unique, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that it might be kind of lame because it was just acoustic instruments; but toward the end when they picked up the tempo it really got funky! They have a really cool message too” (Estrada)!

The rest of my research was done on www.BarakaVision.com, the band’s official website. I used this page to access the band member’s bios, mission statement, and preferred instruments. I also read a few articles on www.jstor.org so that I could read about Kirtan from an Ethnomusicologist’s and Ethnographer’s point of view. These pages gave me insight into more of the cultural implications and history than I could have gained in personal interviews. I couldn’t find much information about Agnihotra so I used www.google.com which led me to a brief review on ecovillage.wordpress.com about the book “How to Save the World”, by Peter Proctor, a biodynamic farmer.

Data Analysis: First, I needed to satisfy my curiosity about how Sakshi even got involved with the Hare Krishna movement. He said, “I was attracted to it years ago due to its instrumentation; especially the sound of the harmonium (which looks like a Dr. Seuss instrument), the message, and the ancient prayers which made me feel in tune with my ancestors” (Sakshi). I accessed his biography on his webpage for more insight on his background. “he lived and studied with many Elders and Mystics (including Ras Pidow, Dr. James E Mumford, Srila Turiya Das Mahasaya and more). Lived and studied at several Ashrams, Temples, and Binghi Camps across North America, Jamaica, Hawaii, and India. In the summers of 2002 and 2003 he traveled across N. America with a traveling cultural festival called “The Festival of India” in which he was a main contributor of set-up and break-down, cultural plays, food distribution, chariot-parading, and sacred chanting. He has been in several musical projects, including: Baraka Kirtan, Santos and the Saints, The Nyahbinghi Livity Choir, Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, Kuru Dynasty, La Onda, Roots Groundation Family, Parrhesia and more” (BarakaVision.com). I thought that his eclectic musical diversity alone spoke to his openness to new cultures and creativity. If we use Sakshi as an example of the average practitioner of Kirtan, we can see how interesting and appealing the community is. As a side note, he also told me that he does not adhere to any organized religion. But he also does not judge or discriminate anyone based on his or her personal religious choices. His opinion is that people have their own path to embark on to find spiritual peace.

What Sakshi and the Kirtan movement do not do is tell people that they need to submit to their code or way of life. Their message is one of understanding and compassion. In Kirtan, God appears in many forms and usually his/her appearance is different to each person, because God can have an infinite amount of forms. In Kirtan, God can manifest as any deity such as, Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Ganesha, Kali, and many more. These deities share similarities with, and are usually connected to Catholic Saints. To communicate with the deities, they use music, which can be in any genre, just like God can appear in any shape. The musical style creates an openness, connectedness, and receptiveness, among each person’s spirit as they sit in the circle. Just like the participants, each song as a different flavor and mood. To connect with the gods they try to achieve spiritual awakening. Though the Kirtan spiritual awakening may be called different things, spirit of devotion, divine connection, right brained experience, or spiritual openness, these things seem to be held as a common intention to the band members.

Another common intention among the band members is to maintain old practices, like call and response. Samy’s reaction to the call and response aspect of the event was that it was reminiscent of tribal chanting (the band’s desired affect). She also thought the music was calming and soft, until the tempo picked up and it got intense. But this particular event that she saw was calmer than others because it did not use any electric instruments, which are more stimulating to the listener than acoustic ones. She also noticed that each person seemed to be in their own world, yet at the same time connected to everyone in the room. It was almost like Sakshi’s calls put everyone in to a trance, and they could only come out of it by singing the response.

I found that their website was extremely useful for bios and band info. I chose to focus primarily on Sakshi because he is my closest friend out of all the band members. But I did make sure to look at everyone else’s bio and they proved to each have completely different yet extraordinarily interesting backgrounds. It’s compelling to see that people from such different roads can all meet in the middle and work toward a common goal of harmony. Some of the ways that the band members spread peace when they’re not performing is Story Time Yoga, a group started by Sakshi, which incorporates yoga into fairy tales. Ras D likes to change the environment by teaching sustainable farming to Bloomington’s Community. With Kirtan the sky is the limit on creatively spreading the word of peace, harmony, and love.

Conclusion: Unlike other world religions Kirtan offers more than just a guide for living which can be summed up by the golden rule. The Hare Krishna movement brings entire communities of varied people together to function as one spritual entity. Kirtan allows each person to find their own path and use Kirtan as a means to help them spread love and harmony in whatever way they choose. For example, Sakshi’s yoga, and Ras D’s farming; they are each doing what they love to do, while weaving in Kirtan to spread a message.

The beauty of Kirtan is that while it is a deeply personal experience it is also very communal. The participation of the person sitting next to you, chanting, and playing music will directly affect your experience, and vice versa. The “primitiveness” of it makes the participants feel as though they have just relived something that their ancestors probably did long ago. As the tempo speeds up, so does the heart beato f all those involved. The music literally seems to pull your body toward the instruments. Everyone in the room seems to into a spiritual trance, as they slowly forget all the hardships in life outside the Kirtan room. When I was there, I wasn’t even participating but I found that instead of thinking about my bills, homework, exams, or life drama, I was just focused on the rhythm of the drums pulsating through my body. It was as if my brain turned off, and I didn’t have a choice, it was time to meditate.

Kirtan offers an authentic feeling of togethness that people usually do not get from day to day living. After the event eveyone kind of looks around smiling, like “now what?”. In such a short time they ate, smoked, chanted, blessed, meditated, and laughed together. I can truly say that I understand now why Kirtan is becoming so popular. It is a message that can virtually be played with any instruments, in and setting, and any time. Most importantly I found out that it can be played by anyone of any color or creed, etc…as long as they embody the message of love.

Since Kirtan is so musically amorphous it appeals to a broad audience of musical tastes and can easily become a tool for social change. “[It] is an especially effective meduim for the propegation of nationalist ideas because of its devotionalized context and Kirtan music’s potential for group participation, experiences of emboiment, and multiple interpretive possibilites” (Shultz 307).

After doing this Project I think that I have learned that Kirtan has the potential to create strong and loving leaders, who don’t adhere to social convictions of discrimination. In Kirtan you can come from any background because the importance rests in the spiritual world instead of the physical. Hopefully the Hare Kirshna movement will continue to spread, and add much needed harmony to the crazy world we’re all living in.

Works Cited :

Hindu Nationalism, Music, and Embodiment in Marathi Rāshṭrīya Kīrtan

Anna Schultz

Ethnomusicology

Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 2002), pp. 307-322

Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852784

Moi. “Cow Dung and It’s Many Wonderful Properties « EARTHKEEPIN.” EARTHKEEPIN. 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <http://ecovillagelife.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/cow-dung-and-its-many-wonderful-properties/>.

The Agnihotra (Or Fire-God Oblation) in the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa: The First Prapāṭhaka of the Second Kāṇḍa of the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa with Translation

Paul-Emile Dumont

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society

Vol. 108, No. 4 (Aug. 27, 1964), pp. 337-353

Published by: American Philosophical Society

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/985912

Popular Kīrtan in Benares: Some ‘Great’ Aspects of a Little Tradition

Stephen M. Slawek

Ethnomusicology

Vol. 32, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 1988), pp. 77-92

Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852037

Wind, Arun B., Sakshi G. Das, Ras D. Hanubaba, and Zen G. “Divine Music”. Baraka Kirtan – Divine Music. DigitalNature, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2010.