The Holy Name of the Lord is not ordinary music. It has a special devotional potency that can lift us above the sufferings of ordinary material consciousness.
The devotees of the Lord relish confidential loving exchanges with the Lord through this chanting. Sometimes their voices choke up, their eyes fill with tears and they feel indescribable ecstatic emotions. And there are no hard and fast rules for chanting the Holy Names of the Lord, so we have taken some artistic liberties herein.
This CD is a collection of Harinama and Bhajan arrangements I originally composed in 1997 while playing live at Kalachandji's Restaurant at the Dallas Hare Krsna temple. These compositions span a number of styles, from classical symphonic to screaming rock organ and guitar, to Latin to traditional Indian devotional music.
It is the first of a series of CDs featuring the mantras and songs of the Gaudiya Vaisnava spiritual and artistic tradition. I hope you use it to enhance your spiritual Krsna Consciousness.
Dedicated with love to Visnujana Swami, whose melodies and licks are used exclusively in Where Are You Now?
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.