Like Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga, The Best of Krishna Das samples the singer's earlier devotional works, here drawing upon his albums One Track Heart, Pilgrim Heart, Breath of the Heart, Live on Earth, and Door of Faith. A devotee of Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba, Krishna Das has spent much of his adult life making good on his vow to use his singing voice to alleviate suffering in the world. Krishna Das is that most wonderful blend of Eastern and Western cultures; originally a resident of Long Island, N.Y., he studied in northern India as a young man and has since spent decades reinterpreting the sacred music of that land in ways that are pleasant and often surprising. As a man who sounds at times like Waylon Jennings and who is obviously enamored of the "lila" or divine playfulness, Krishna Das seems to enjoy deliberately toying with the unusual and even humorous aspects of the East/West dichotomy, as when on the album One Track Heart he sang a "Krishna Waltz" that sounded more than a little like the old cowboy tune "Get Along Little Dogies." As an encapsulation of his life's work, this Krishna Das best-of collection is entirely devoted to Sri Neem Karoli Baba and through him to the One Deity with a thousand names and as many aspects as there are atoms in the universe. It includes a devotional "Devi 'Rave'," a beautiful tribute to the divine goddess Kali Durga, several rousing hymns to Shiva, and songs in honor and celebration of Lord Hanuman, the son of the wind and the conduit of grace from the source to the supplicant. Derived from a tale in the Ramayana, "The Ring Song" is perhaps Krishna Das' most misunderstood offering. He describes it as a Hindi song reset in the form of South African township dance music; the bassist on this track is none other than Sting, or as Krishna Das calls him, "Sting-Ji." Other participants include Jai Uttal, guitarist Amit Chatterjee, keyboardists Geoffrey Gordon and John McDowell, bassist Big Mo T, a multi-instrumentalist named "Wah!," creative loop programmer Jim Wilson, Krishna Das' own daughter Janaki Kagel, and a chorus that he has dubbed "the Ever-Changing Kosmic Kirtan Posse." Krishna Das operates as a practitioner of both Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. "Shri Guru Charanam" is a song of supplication before one's spiritual guide. It's about what it's like to have a benevolent guru and to sense that guru's love in literally everything, everywhere. Krishna Das generates profoundly transformative singalong music that can and does work well within diverse spiritual disciplines. "Although these prayers and kirtans are from the Hindu tradition, there are many similar traditions all over the world...chanting [kirtan] opens the inner eye of the heart. It cleans the mirror of the heart so it can clearly reflect what is already within us."
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