Sunday, November 15, 2015

Contemporary Krishna Songs -- Rakshana das (NZ)

Hare Krishna Prabhu.

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I'm hoping you will publish the following article about my new recording at Krishna1008 (or elsewhere). You may decide it's not your thing to publish it at all, and that's OK too, but I hope you do publish it. If in doubt, have a listen online to a song or two before deciding to publish.

Thanks for your ongoing dedication to preserving the legacy and available mercy, inspiration and guidance of Srila Prabhupada. You are courageous and truthful...two great attributes. I was initiated by one of the magnificent eleven in 1981, but have always  felt Srila Prabhupada's prominent guidance every step of the way...and that's proof enough for me.

Your servant,

Rakshana das  (article for publication starts below)


Hare Krishna

All glories to Srila Prabhupada and all the Vaishnava devotees.

Announcing the eagerly awaited (by myself and a few friends at least) recent release of my first studio album, 'More Than I Give' by Rakshana and The Brave Clown.

Srila Prabhupada wanted us to read his books and present realisations in a manner that will benefit our chosen audience.

“Just read from my books and try and explain the meaning in your own words.” (Letter, 73-01-26)

“You must all study all of the books so that when the need arises you can repeat in your own words their purport.” (Letter, 72-01-06)

“By writing according to our realization we become more and more convinced and all doubts are destroyed.” (Letter, 75-11-15)

“Everything is there in our books; so learn it and put in your own way by reproducing. You are also materially well-educated so reproduce what I have taught in your own language. These things are new thoughts in your western countries, everyone will be interested...” (Letter, 72-5-1)

Holding these and similar instructions close to heart, I write a lot of songs and poetry. At present I have a backlog of approximately 100 songs that I hope (Krishna willing) to record in due course of time. I don't consider myself qualified to write scripture, although anyone who knows me well also knows I'm at my best when discussing Srila Prabhupada and the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. The songs on More Than I Give are all directly inspired by Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna, albeit without being in-your-face or preachy.

The songs don't overtly include the maha mantra, but many of them highlight the form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord and his pure devotee, along with my own small steps in realisation and appreciation, almost as a diary would. Many of my songs earmarked for future recording are more obviously Hare's a case of in like a needle, out like a plough. More Than I Give is for both devotees and the general listening public.

I've noticed a lack of quality western-style songs dedicated to Krishna consciousness. It's surprising really, as so many people join this movement with musical talent, and music is such a large part of our culture. There are plenty of chants, hymns and bhajan recordings, and that's great, but my leaning is toward western lyrics for western listeners (except during temple programs, at which time I'm a mridunga and karatal man). Of course, nothing beats listening to Srila Prabhupada sing, accompanied by his magical harmonium playing, but that's another level entirely. Sanskrit and Bengali are beautiful languages, but foreign to me, and even most devotees don't know the literal translation of the songs we sing in the temple on a daily basis, so English songs have their place.

I hope my recording is pleasing to at least some devotees, although it's imperfectly composed, and with the occasional blemish. More Than I Give was recorded old-fashioned analogue reel-to-reel style, all with actual instruments, and without any of the digital chicanery found on most modern recordings. It was then further polished somewhat in a professional mastering studio. I recorded and mastered it with the expert assistance of my old school friend, Dave Brown (Brave Clown).

I'm not in the business of making money off the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna, and so have organised distribution of More Than I Give by Rakshana and The Brave Clown in hard copy and digital download for sale, plus numerous free streaming, download and listening sites online.

Song snippets and downloads can be found at sites such as:

Whatever sales are made will be 50% dedicated toward the ongoing preaching efforts of myself, my dear wife Kavipriya Gopi, and the team at the Hare Krishna Food For Life Community Cafe in Whangarei, New Zealand. At present, Kavi and I dedicate around 40 hours voluntary service per week toward prasadam distribution, plus cooking and overseeing the Sunday Feast.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy.

Any feedback or queries are welcome at

Your servant,

Rakshana das

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