Imagine a world in which females were honored for their power, their wisdom, their beauty and their ability to love most purely….
Thousands of years ago, the bhakti yoga tradition, did just that, and placed at the very heart of their most sacred texts--the Bhagavata Purana--the voices of women!
These very extraordinary females are the Goddess Radha and her cowherd maidens of Vrindavan, the Gopis, whose poetic words and songs continue to illuminate and inspire the spiritual practices of millions of souls around the world today.
|'Vraja Kishori' by Evan Clayton Horback|
Vrindavan, also known as Vraj, is a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the site of an ancient forest, which is the region where according to the Mahabharata—a grand Epic of Sanskrit literature dating back to the 3000 BC—the Goddess Radha, and her beloved, Krishna spent their childhood days, together with the cowherd girls and boys (or Gopis and Gopas).
Most ironically, many of the girls and women who live in Vrindavan today, face incredible hardships due to prevailing misogynistic attitudes. Moved by their heartbreaking plight and the new generations of young girls growing up in this culture, a group of kirtan singers born into the bhakti tradition have united in song to raise awareness and funds for this cause. In the words of Madi, the founder of this project:
"When my daughter was born, I found myself worrying about the kind of world she would eventually grow up in. And I found my motivation: create an album that showcases male and female voices working together, a musical allegory that celebrates the genders living in respectful harmony, an album that will create change by channeling the transformative power of kirtan: Kirtan Shakti."
For there is indeed a direct relationship between honoring the voices of women in this world, and being able to truly worship Divine Feminine energy. Join me in supporting their vision and celebrating these inspired singers! For more information about ‘Kirtan Shakti’ click here, or connect on Facebook here. All the profits from the album will go toward charities that support women in Vrindavan, the birthplace of kirtan.
|Artwork by Evan Clayton Horback (Srinivasa Dasa)|
All Glories to Sri Radha
All glories to Radha,
all glories to Krishna,
and their village Vrindaban!
All glories to the Gopis,
who are the crown jewel of all the sweetest love.
Shyama chants “Radhe Radhe!”
and Radha chants “Shyama Shyama!”
The names “Radhe Shyama!”
are my connection to my life and my soul.
The only soul treasure of my life
is Nanda nandana, Madan mohana, and Radhika Raman.
I love Shyama, for he is my love.
Shyama is filling my body and mind
throughout every day and night.
I am the maidservant of Radharani,
who is the queen of the eternal, sacred village of Vrindavan.
I want to achieve her eternal service in her eternal abode.
I therefore wish to live my life the way she wishes.
(Click here to hear Karnamrita Dasi sing this song)
|Pictured singing is Mallika from Kirtan Shakti|
Karnamrita Dasi is a member of Kirtan Shakti and one of the world’s leading kirtan singers as well as the first female Westerner to be classically trained in this sacred art. Born into a tradition of Kirtan, since her mother’s passing in 1998, Karnamrita has dedicated her life to composing, recording, performing, and collecting rare Sanskrit poetry in order to continue and honor her mother’s passion for sharing the ancient bhakti tradition with others. Having toured for the last eight years, Karnamrita performs and teaches at hundreds of venues worldwide, from yoga retreat centers to music festivals to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. She has won numerous awards including Best Album of the Year and Best Song of the Year for her acclaimed album “DASI: Prayers by Women.” Connect with her on her website here, or Facebook.
~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~