RagaJazz is a term I coined to describe the new musical genre I have developed. RagaJazz extends the complex tonal and rhythmic resources of the raga into the jazz improvisation space. If jazz musicians have made so much wonderful music with two or three scales and time signatures, what will they do with 64? RagaJazz opens an exciting tonal and rhythmic frontier to jazz exploration. There is much more to this theory, which is described in detail on my website.
Khammaj Jazz is a musical story about a mystic shaman who goes into a meditative trance. In his trance he flies through space until he comes to a gateway where many worlds connect. There he is tested, and when he passes the test he hears a call coming from a high spiritual world. He enters this world and begins an ecstatic dance with God.
Sandhya Vibhasa takes place just before dawn, when the sky is lightening, birds are chirping and neither stars nor sun are visible. It feels like something is about to happen as half-remembered dreams recede. In the enchanted forest of Vrndavan, Radha and Krsna hurry to Their homes, trying to arrive before Their family members notice Their absence. In Their intense mood of separation, rememberances of Their intimate loving pastimes of the previous night hit Them like thunderbolts of ecstatic love.
Gopinath Free Jazz is a romping free-jazz improvisation based on a popular traditional Bengali devotional tune. It is a song of ecstasy in separation from a loving God.
Bhakti means devotion to the Supreme Lord; siddha means spiritual perfection; artha means wealth, a fortune; das means servant, and anu is a Sanskrit particle signifying the extension of a relationship, and is also a diminutive. So Bhaktisiddhartha Dasanudas means, "Servant of the servant of one who is greatly fortunate and wealthy in devotion to the Supreme Lord." Since Bhaktisiddhartha is a disciple of Abhaya Caranaravindam Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the great world teacher of devotional service to the Lord, this is a fitting name.
Bhaktisiddhartha was born in Florida and grew up near New York City. He began working with electronics and computers in high school, where he taught himself digital logic and won several science fairs with his innovative projects. After he received perfect 800 scores in 3 out of 4 SAT examinations, MIT offered him a scholarship in Nuclear Physics, but Bhaktisiddhartha turned it down to pursue his first love: music. A talented and largely self-taught musician, Bhaktisiddhartha won First Chair Flute in the All-American High School Band competition in his senior year, and toured the US and Canada with the group.
Bhaktisiddhartha went on to earn a BA in Musical Composition from Montclair University, working his way through school by playing jazz gigs and repairing early computers. While at Montclair, Bhaktisiddhartha won a gold medal in the prestigious NYU Young Composers' Contest. This exposure led to a job with New York's Ames Agency as a television commercial and film composer. At Ames, Bhaktisiddhartha wrote and produced the award-winning score for Armstrong Tire's 'Tiger Paws' spots, the longest-running advertising campaign in television history.
Not satisfied with commercial success, Bhaktisiddhartha moved to New Mexico where he worked with early analog and digital computers in research programs at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories and White Sands/Alamogordo Proving Grounds. He also performed a series of groundbreaking laboratory experiments exploring the effects of music and sound on living beings. The results of this work inspired him to study Vedic music with Indian maestro Ali Akbar Khan in San Rafael, California. He quickly became expert in Indian raga composition and improvisation, using voice, flute, esraj, sarangi, mrdanga and other exotic instruments.
At this time Bhaktisiddhartha made a broad survey of Eastern philosophical and spiritual teachings. By great good fortune he met his spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a fully self-realized pure devotee and renunciant, prolific author, profound devotional musician and philosopher in the Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage of Bengal, and was inspired to study the wisdom path of teh Esoteric Teaching of the Vedas with him.
Bhaktisiddhartha became a Vedic monk, accepting formal initiation from Bhaktivedanta Swami in 1974 and ordination as a Vedic brahmana in 1976. He lived and studied in traditional Vaisnava and Tantric communities in India and various parts of the world for 20 years. He learned Sanskrit, temple music and dance, fire ceremonies, Vedanta, and different forms of yoga including hatha-yoga, raja-yoga, mantra-yoga and bhakti-yoga. Traveling four times around the world on teaching tours, he also received advanced initiations in esoteric philosophy and practices from several important spiritual teachers, including a six-week residential retreat on Madhyamika, the Heart of Buddhism with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
A powerful presenter, during the 70s and 80s Bhaktisiddhartha led classes and workshops on Tantra and the Vaisnava way of wisdom in Santa Cruz and Harbin Hot Springs, California; gave a week-long residential Tantra workshop in Waimea, Maui; presented a 3-day workshop on sacred chants in Soho, London; taught Puranic wisdom and Sanskrit in Paris, France; toured and lectured in places as diverse as Alexandria, Greece; Constantinople, Turkey; Hamburg, Germany; Bern, Austria; Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Tehran, Iran and Kabul, Afghanistan; and spoke to substantial audiences all over India, from Mumbai to Kalakata and from Badrinath to Shivarandram.
In 1984-5 Bhaktisiddhartha had his own radio show, Sacred Sounds, on the American Radio Network in Los Angeles. From 1985-1988 He was Co-Chairman of the Music Department at the Mayapura Chandrodaya Gurukula, a traditional Vedic academy in West Bengal, India. He presented a 10-day international seminar in sacred Vedic music there in 1988. He also appeared on numerous radio and television programs explaining yoga, meditation, Vedic spiritual philosophy and computer applications.
From 1989-1991 Bhaktisiddhartha lived on Guam, exploring the roots of traditional South Pacific island cultures such as the Chamorros and Micronesians. He visited traditional native communities in Yap, Palau, Ponape, Majuro and the Solomon Islands, studying their cultures and artifacts in search of ancient links to the Vedic civilization.
Bhaktisiddhartha maintained a keen interest in science, computers and technology throughout his monastic life, keeping up with new developments and finding unique ways to apply technology in spiritual life. In Mumbai, he used computers to pioneer direct-mail fundraising for food relief for the poor, raising over 16 million rupees in less than a year. One of his direct-mail campaigns netted a 42% response! He wrote a thesis for his Bhakti-shastri degree (the Vaisnava equivalent of a Doctor of Divinity) on the correspondence between the esoteric Vedic musical system and Quantum Mechanics. He was also instrumental in creating the first international Internet conference for Vedic meditators.
Returning to the US mainland in 1992, Bhaktisiddhartha used his computer expertise to establish a career as a senior technical writer and illustrator, writing and publishing books on advanced computer and software technologies for companies like Apple Computer, Digital Research, Westinghouse, and Hughes Technologies. An early adopter of the Internet, he built Web sites for clients such as Weyerhauser, Georgia-Pacific, Solutia, Equifax, First Data Corporation and many more. At this time he also became aware of the spiritual potential of computers and nanotechnology.
Since returning to the US, Bhaktisiddhartha self-published several books on Vedic philosophy: Sri Visnusahasranama and Sri Nrsimhasahasranama. He also wrote and published Here Be Wisdom: 108 Aphorisms on Advanced Topics in Spiritual Life, and issued several CDs of Vedic music and chanting: Kalachandji, Vipralambha, RagaJazz, Hare Krsna Kirtan and Sri Visnusahasranama. He also published the collected works of his spiritual master on The Bhaktivedanta VedaBase CD-ROM and created an international conscious art gallery.
Bhaktisiddhartha's publishing company, Harinam Arts Press, publishes and distributes his books and CDs online through Amazon.com and CDBaby.com. You can hear selections of his music online at www.mp3.com/Bhaktisiddhartha. Bhaktisiddhartha is working on several upcoming book projects: Svarah Sapta, Worlds of Light, Tantric Shamanism, The Book of Gethsemane and Search for the Absolute Truth.
Bhaktisiddhartha currently lives in Hilo, Hawaii.