Songwriter, a Meditation Instructor and an Author.
From the outset, I think it only fair to tell you that I am on a mission to inspire everyone to practice meditation twice a day. I will accept no excuse and I will not relent until you submit. It is for your own good.
Here’s someone you may know who feels the same way:
“The only way that the world will ever go sane is if we all meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. That will change the world. ‘Till then, it will be as crazy as it is now.” – John Cleese. Actor, of Monty Python fame.
Now that’s off my chest, here’s my story.
I would like to start by asking you a question: Were you ever, at any point in your life, a child?
I know I was, and here’s proof. This is me at 3 yrs old, with no idea of what lies ahead. Perhaps that’s why I’m smiling…
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was a ten year old boy growing up in the wilds of the New Zealand suburbs, I wanted to be a wizard. I dreamed of being wise and strong and kind, like Gandalf who saved the world from the dark power of the evil Lord of the Rings. So you can imagine my excitement when my older brother, Christian, revealed that he was already a wizard. This seemed like a golden opportunity to advance my future career, so I applied to be his apprentice.
“You cannot possibly become a wizard like me,” he said, “for you are afraid of the dark. Before becoming my disciple you must undergo a terrible test. You must walk down into the heart of the forest alone at midnight, wait there for one minute and just listen.”
This seemed impossible. I was afraid to go outside our front door at night. And I dared not enter the forest alone even in daylight. Not because I was a coward you understand – it was because I was convinced that our garden was infested with tigers.
But I yearned to become a wizard so I mustered my courage and all alone on a windy night I crept out of our front door and down the long curving path towards the forest. I sensed the tigers shadowing me, tongues lolling, ready to pounce should I falter. Each step was an effort of will but I fought down my terror and came at last to the heart of the forest where I waited and listened. And I felt calm despite my fear, and strong despite my youth, and a great joy welled up in me, for I was to become a Wizard.
As I grew older I developed new interests. I’d been studying classical music since I was four. Piano was my first instrument, but I also learned cello, clarinet, trumpet and the euphonium. I started composing when I was 11 and decades later went on to win eight international song-writing awards. Music has always been a big part of my life, but it wasn’t until I discovered rock music that I understood its true power. I’m talking about the great rock music of the 60’s and 70’s – Hendrix, Santana, The Who, Eric Clapton. When I heard Led Zeppelin perform Stairway to Heaven live for the first time I knew what I wanted to be. So I set aside my childish dreams of magic and wizardry and adopted a more realistic life goal. I was going to be a rockstar!
But then when I was 19 I had an extra-ordinary experience. Seemingly out of the blue, I underwent a great spiritual epiphany and everything changed. Imagine all the love in the Universe condensed into a single moment, floating right before you like the sun, so utterly real that the rest of your life seems like a dream. In that moment I understood that the purpose of human existence is to become one with the source of infinite love within us. I felt called to walk the spiritual path as a Yogi, to master my mind through meditation and then to serve as best I could as a teacher, guiding others on the path to happiness. I’d finally found a life goal that actually made sense!
So when I was 20 years old I dropped out of University, gave up my rock star fantasy, left my country and travelled to India where I learned about spirituality and the ancient Intuitional Science of Tantra Yoga from a great master. He was an extraordinary progressive thinker who taught that true yoga is not just a path of spiritual practice and personal realization, but also a way of life that addresses the needs of society through service and social activism.
In 1979 I was ordained as a yoga monk and Acharya (spiritual teacher) of Ananda Marga – The Path of Bliss. Since then I’ve spoken or performed in more than 40 countries, including at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where I played a concert for 10,000 people and appeared on stage with the Dalai Lama.
Wizards use magic words. I use mantras, music and meditation to help people find that place within themselves that lends meaning to everything else. For me this is the real magic, the kind that changes peoples hearts. I’d like to invite you to join me on this journey to discover the source of universal love.
Are you ready?
- Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind – A Practical Guide to Spiritual Meditation. 3rd edition 2011
- Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind – Meditation Home Study Course. 2012
- My Favourite Kiirtans – Yogic Chants for Guitar and Voice. 2009
- Real Dragons Don’t Cry – a comic fantasy novel. 2015
- The Fire Dragon Suite – original songs 1985
- Warriors of the Rainbow – original songs 1990
- The Return of the Magic – original songs 2005 Including “Perfect Love”, winner of 1st Prize in the Higher Love songwriting competition 2011.
- Ananda Kiirtan 1 – spiritual chanting 1984
- Ananda Kiirtan 2 – spiritual chanting1985
- Ananda Kiirtan 3 – spiritual chanting1988
- Sonali Bhor – Bengali songs by Sri Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar (I was the producer) 2000
- Flight of Love – co-produced with Nils Einar Vinjor (Sukha Deva) 2009