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Q&A: Krishna Das

With a new album, Kirtan Wallah, the best-selling kirtan singer reflects on language, practice, and the spiritual path.

Photo Credit: Matt Thomas

Is it important to you that the musicians you work with be spiritually oriented people?I don’t think that putting on white clothes and meditating a half an hour a day guarantees that a person is any more spiritual than anybody else. Some people are creating less confusion for themselves, and other people are creating more, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want real happiness, love, peace, and truth. Everybody wants that—they’re just confused about how to get it.Your guru, Neem Karoli Baba, once said, “I love suffering. It brings me so close to God.” Do you think suffering is more useful for spiritual growth than pleasure?Well, I don’t know whether you can say it’s useful or not useful. The point is that it’s a big part of our lives. Why aren’t we happy? Why don’t we have what we want? Why is there illness? Why is there disease? That’s suffering, and how we deal with it has a lot to do with the quality of our life. If you cling to pleasure, it disappears and turns into pain. The pain also doesn’t last forever; it goes back and forth. So I think that’s one of the real problems with the way Westerners appr …

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