Govind Das and Radha are always innovating in the name of love, and their reggae-take on the Hanuman Chalisa is not to be missed. Their song "Ganapati Om" has that perfect sexy vibe that pulls you closer to your own beloved. You can imagine yourself sitting together, lost in tender kisses. And for yoga teachers looking for that just-right song to close out your next class, then you found it with "Shanti Om."
I talked to this inspiring wonder-couple who, just like you, play many roles. They are parents, business owners (Bhakti Yoga Shala in Los Angeles), and musical collaborators. I spoke with them about their relationship with music.
What does music mean to you?
Music has the ability to bring us back home. Music helps us tear down the armor that we have covered our hearts with. Music is an essential ingredient in the language of love.
Specifically, one of our favorite quotes is:
Dance until you are all Dance,
Sing until you are all Song,
Live until you are all love,
Give until you are all Gone.
How is Lunar Mantras, your new album, different?
In Lunar Mantras, we have taken a little detour from traditional call and response mantra chanting. Between the two of us we have taught over 20,000 yoga classes. At a certain point about five years ago we said to each other, “Let’s make the best CD we can as a soundtrack for yoga!” We both have a love for down-tempo ambient music with hypnotic beats, and this is really what Lunar Mantras is about: slow, soothing, spiritually-uplifting, trance-inducing, and sublime. And what came out, hopefully, as people listen to it, is a CD, not only a totally rad soundtrack for yoga, but also a CD that is great for driving, being with the family, jogging on the beach with headphones, and bringing a spiritually uplifting backdrop to whatever you are doing.
If you had to choose one mantra that embodies your path, how you try to live, what would it be?
Radha: Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. During these times when there seems to be so much war and violence on this planet, could there be a more important mantra to chant? We open the newspaper or turn on the news and every day it seems that there is a suicide bombing or an act of extreme violence somewhere in the world. This is the timeless chant and vision of the yogis. May there be peace, peace everlasting peace.
Govind Das: The Hanuman Chalisa is a long mantra of 40 verses glorifying the qualities of Hanuman, the Monkey God and a central character in the Indian epic the Ramayana. In this story, Hanuman is the absolute embodiment of service and devotion; all of his actions are done in the spirit of serving Ram/God, or serving truth. In chanting this mantra it is a reminder of my role of service here on the planet.
Do you have a favorite chant?
Radha: My favorite chant is Jai Ma: Victory to the Goddess. It helps me to feel the strength of my femininity and the feminine energy in all of us. It is a chant to the divine mother, my beloved, my mother, mother in law, grandmothers, sisters, nieces, mother earth, ocean, moon, the sacred process of giving birth—all things feminine in nature. My own mother is an inspiration to me. She dedicated her life to loving and serving her husband and five daughters. She has given me the vision and showed me the importance of dedication to family.
Govind Das: My name is Govind Das. "Das" means "to be a servant of." Specifically Govind, or Krishna, which is sometimes described as the energy of love. This is my path, to serve love. I would say first that my favorite chants are the simple ones, in melody and mantra. It is in this simplicity that one can truly drop into the flow of the chant, which ultimately serves the meditation. As well my favorite chants are to Sita Ram or Radhe Govinda, the union of God/Goddess, masculine and feminine. This balance is uniquely embodied in Radha and I leading kirtans together. Our path is our love for the Divine, our guru, and each other. This is the essence, which is hopefully reflected and transmitted through our music.
What is the relationship of using mantras to love?
The word mantra means “that which protects, transforms, and gives bliss to the mind/heart.” There are so many different kinds of mantras. In the practice of kirtan we mainly focus on singing the names of God and Goddess. As many great sages have spoken, the Divine Names are very special, very potent sound vibrations. The Divine Name is encoded with the Absolute’s pure and untainted energy. These names are all-purifying mantras. Chanting the Divine Names is a complete spiritual practice in and of itself. These Divine Names are said to wipe the dust off the mirror of the mind and the heart. They are master mystical keys to help us remember who we really are and what an absolute miracle this life is. It is very difficult for the Western mind to understand, but when we regularly chant these names, it helps to recalibrate and reorganize our chemistry, our vibration.
Reciting mantras is like putting up our sail so we can catch the divine winds of Divine Love. It is said that within the Divine Name lies Divine Grace.
Lunar Mantras is available to stream or purchase here.