Stop the Press! Launch Party October 1 Here’s the Light

August 2, 2015
Ekayani by John Francis Bourke

Ekayani by John Francis Bourke

Brooklyn, NY
Ekayani and TGEE Records are happy to announce!
The EP and Video Launch Party for Here’s the Light Remixes the junior follow up to “Yoga on the Dance Floor” that 124 to 130 BPM House Music Up tempo downtempo Sanskrit Bengali mantra party record (Yes its on iTunes!) is Happening October 1, 2015 at MUCHMORES the quirky lovable cafe,bar,with a laundromat at 2 Havemayer Street where Williamsburg and Greenpoint blend.Save the Date!Thursday 10/1 from 7-9PM
Got that? Good.

You’re Such a Tease
For the blogosphere check out this Coming Attractions Teaser of Ekayani walking the streets of Brooklyn, looming large while singing to herself about the marvel of mercy, enlightment, meditation, kindness and liberty. I request you to keep sharing. Thank you very much and see you at the Par- Tay! House Music Pop Music from the Soul

Weekly Series – Here’s the Light REMIX – About Yoga on the Dance Floor

April 27, 2015

Here’s the Light is Track 6 of Yoga on the Dance Floor (TGEE Records)

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A personal favorite of mine, it has a storied history starting in Paris during my hunger years. Times were rough for me living on next to nothing in the City of Light since working as a model was whimsical to say the least; Feast of Famine ya know? If I wasn’t in line with the trend of the season I wasn’t working and that was a stretch that lasted months. One particularly bleak Christmas was spent alone in my rental on the Rue Alexandre Dumas.  I was in a state of turmoil and desperation. My mind was swirling with negativity. My body was awash in it and I was far away from my family. Very far. What had I gotten myself into pursuing the glamorous life as a fashion model in Paris? I was broke and I was in over my head. It was that moment that we all face, some earlier than others, when you understand that even your family cannot help you as they are also facing difficulties. In one fell swoop the protection that can be afforded in childhood was ripped away. I was  exposed to the harsh realities of life made even harsher by being a foreigner in a foreign land. In the Srimad – Bhagavatam compiled by Srila Vysadeva, the people we grow dependent on are called fallible soldiers. But as it often happens in the darkest of times, the wise words of a friend or your mother comes ringing in your head and heart. This time it wasn’t my mother but a friend who was a yogi. He told me that I could stop the cycle of depression and worry through some simple postures and breathing exercises even before getting out of bed in the morning. This breathing didn’t even have to be elaborate like “breathe of fire” a rapid succession of breathes from the diaphragm.  Just being aware of my breathing while allowing any negative thoughts pass just like clouds in the sky.  I sat on the floor of my spare room and left in silence for hours as I watched the sun rise and set I finally lit a candle.  The candle shone in the darkness for me as my breathing found it’s cadence helping to still my mind. In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna tells Sri Krsna that controlling the mind seems as impossible as controlling the wind. The Lord replies that it is indeed difficult but that with suitable practice it can be done and should be done as the the uncontrolled mind is the souls worst enemy or it’s best friend if properly trained. Concentrating on my navel where  energy or “prana” of the Universe lay like an energetic connection, an invisible umbilical chord to my Mother and Father. I gradually began to tap into an intuition that would guide me past many a close call and provide me with a feeling of serenity. This is how my faith in myself and the Power that lay inside me began to grow and flourish. It’s why I wrote my love song “Here’s the Light” for Caita Guru, the Living Teacher who never leaves me. Or you.

VIDEO PROJECT: I am running a campaign now to shoot a REMIX Music Video of this heart felt track now through May 30, 2015 with JF BOURKE. Thanks for helping anyway you can. We are off to a great start!

CONTRIBUTE HERE: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ekayani-here-s-the-light-remix-video-production/x/3146074

WATCH HERE: https://youtu.be/ThdZXZSLQQQ

Get the Dub Version Here: 

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Weekly Series – Pophelia – About Yoga on the Dance Floor

April 13, 2015

8John_Everett_Millais_-_Ophelia_-_Google_Art_Project
Pophelia-Track number 7 from Yoga on the Dance Floor (TGEE Records) is the REMIX by Tom Glide of my original song “Ophelia Drowns”. I think of it as the sister track to “Here’s the Light”. It was written as a prayer to reach a friend whom I couldn’t reach via normal channels of communication. It deals with intuition,the dark side of intuition, meaning how we lose our way by not listening. Our icon Ophelia, the sweet princess who drowned in the current of the waters of life waiting for prince Hamlet who simply betrayed her, was a stand in for a friend who wound up having a nervous breakdown spending some weeks in a hospital. Having spent herself and all her energies and all her health on an employer that was beyond demanding she wound up in dire straights of her own choosing by not choosing herself. Why did this happen? Well when you ignore that inner voice that urges you to move on,to take care of your body and mind you end up in a pickle.Understand that your boss is never going to care about you the way you will care about yourself.Insist on pushing yourself for an illusory reward of a badge of honor that does not exist and you end up with shattered nerves, a broken spirit and an exhausted body. No direct conversations, no logic or pleading was going to change this friends mind or heart so I did the only thing I could do: I wrote a prayer in the form of a song and offered it to the invisible realm asking for intercession. This song appeared on another project called FULL LENGTH in an accapela version with only the sound of a conch shell opening the track three times in succession. Why a conch? In the Bhagavad Gita As It Is on Chapter 1 (Observing the Armies) translated by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami there is this description:

Lord Krsna blew His conchshell called the Panchajanya;Arjuna blew his,the Devadatta:and Bhima,the voracious eater and performer of herculean tasks, blew his terrific conch shell,called Paundra.King Yudhistira,the son of Kunti,blew his conch shell,the Ananta-vijaya,and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka….The blowing of these different conch shells became uproarious. Vibrating in both sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhtrarastra.

PURPORT: When Bhisma and the others on the side of Duryodhana blew their conch shells, there was no heartbreaking on the part of the Pandavas. Such occurrences are not mentioned, but in this particular verse it is mentioned that the hearts of the sons of Dhrtarastra were shattered by the sounds vibrated by the Pandavas’ party. This is due to the Pandavas and their confidence and their confidence in Lord Krsna. One who takes shelter of the Supreme Lord has nothing to fear, even in the midst of the greatest calamity.

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At the core of it was my  question:
What would have happened if Ophelia had listened to herself instead of lies and degrading talk? What if she had swapped the Prince for wisdom? I wanted to draw a parallel in POPhelia between following the external and being strung along by false promises (maya) all the while putting on a brave front that no chick I know has actually ever gotten a medal for. I wanted to invoke the sound of the Transcendental realm to wake up her heart. The conch serves to inspire to victory and a Transcendent one dovetailed in connection with the Lord the source of all strength, ability and knowing. Throw off your shackles and pursue what you know deep in your heart is your true calling and damn the enemy. Damn the enemy which is your own fear of being yourself.

” How now Ophelia? What’s the matter now? Ophelia’s been broken by a brokers vow”.

ekayani3
Ekayani and the Healing Band copyright 2004/5 Healing Band Music Publishing (ASCAP) http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ekayani3

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Weekly Series – A Yoga Farm Retreat – Inner Meaning of Bhakti Manifest – Jaya

March 30, 2015

Scratching

Gita Nagari should be looked upon as a model for modern farming. Based in spirituality, what is cultivated is much more than a product.The devotees put their love into everything they do and it shows. Harnessing the personal relationship with God is the purpose of the day. This can be cultivated in the yoga studio which is wonderful, peaceful, and quiet. It is a place that nurtures and fosters all life. The deep respect for God’s creation is shown in everything from the food you eat to the sustainability of the farm itself. Happy people, happy cows, happy life!

– Jarrod Byrne Mayer Kundalini Yoga Instructor, Brooklyn

BrushingOxJarrordJess

Jessica W, Community Leader, South Bronx

For me the Gita Nagari farm is a model to follow. The people that live and work the farm are so nurturing and hospitable.The animals are friendly and happy. The landscape is magical, fresh and open for exploration. Everything from the food, to planting seeds and sharing conversation with one another is done with compassion and humility. My favorite part was the cow sanctuary – where else in America could you find that? You guessed it, here at the Gita Nagari farm. The visit opened a channel to many possibilities and opportunities for me. I learned that nothing is impossible as long as you do it with love. The Gita Nagari farm needs you to continue its legacy and share its harvest. Let’s cultivate more stories and experiences together with their happy cows!


CousinJessicaCreamery

MelodysCake

Refreshing, uplifting, and inspiring. No matter where you come from- reconnect with fresh air, fresh food, and fresh perspective. My visit opened my eyes to possibility. Gita Nagari is a place where sustainability and love work. I learned so much about the gifts of nature and power of intention. We are the change- and the lovely folks at Gita Nagari are living proof. I truly look forward to my next visit and hope many more join to be a part of the success of this amazing endeavor.

– Melody B, Brooklyn
CanIComeInPeacockLOL (photo credits to Melody B and M. Andreo)

Oh I am so glad we all made it on this retreat to the yoga farm for the Spring Equinox! We went through contrasts of snow to sunny weather and everything was magical.This is a place where the residents endeavor to live in the same way as Lord Krsna does in His manifest past times on earth in the village of Vrindavan in North India and in His original abode in Goloka Vrndavana. In particular, it was when I was walking along the creek that runs alongside the woods with my god sister (who is appropriately named Yamuna) that I remembered this wonderful passage in the Bhagavatam;Lord Krsna is walking along the Yamuna river in a kind of reverie appreciating His own creation. He is admiring the trees for their tolerance and kindness never turning anyone away that might need shade while bearing the scorching heat themselves. As He walks along the embankment enjoying the fragrant breezes in the forest and the songs of the birds, Krsna demonstrates for us the profound joy of living in harmony with nature. The song Jaya (Radha Madhava) from Yoga on the Dance Floor (TGEE Records) is an ode to this Divine Life that God prefers: to be a cowherd boy that protects cows and bulls held in esteem like a family member, spending lots of time outside in fresh air, eating delicious home cooked picnic lunches prepared by his Mom and exploring and playing with His friends everyday. What a life! The “Sacred Cow” part of the retreat was a revelation to our visitors for the profound peace both man and animal in all forms of life feel on the farm free to go their way unharmed. In my bossa nova rendition that I am happy to say is a favorite of that tough cookie DJ Joe DiPadova (Deeper Shades) written by Vaisnava scholar and saint Bhaktivinoda Thakur who lived in the 19th century I sing;
Training

jaya rādhā-mādhava kuñja-bihārī
gopī-jana-vallabha giri-vara-dhārī
yaśodā-nandana braja-jana-rañjana
yāmuna-tīra-vana-cārī

TRANSLATION
Krsna is the lover of Radha.He displays many amorous pastimes in the groves of Vrndavana. He is the lover of the cowherd maidens of Vraja, and the holder of the great hill named Govardhana.
He is the beloved son of mother Yasoda, the delighter of the inhabitants of Vraja, and He wanders in the forests along the banks of the River Yamuna!

My Version Here: http://www.traxsource.com/track/1899890/jaya-radha-madhava-original-mix

Srila Prabhupada said that this song is “a picture of Vrndavana. Everything is there–Srimati Radharani, Vrndavana, Govardhana, Yasoda, and all the cowherd boys.” Did you know that you can be transported to this dimension right now by downloading this track and dancing in your living room? Because there is no difference between hearing Transcendental sound vibration describing the spiritual dimension and being there simply by opening your heart and ears wide you will be transported to the banks of the river Yamuna while dancing in ecstasy with your longtime forgotten friends.They are just waiting for you to come back! There is no place like home. http://www.traxsource.com/track/1899890/jaya-radha-madhava-original-mix
TRAXSOURCE

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Weekly Series – Eye Chant- Yoga on the Dance Floor

March 26, 2015

TRAXSOURCE
“Eye Chant” is predominantly in English with a Sanskrit mantra backing it up at the end of the track specifically “Hare Rama”. o-RICHARD-SIMMONS-TEDMED-2013-facebookAn unapologetic House music workout for the dance floor a la Richard Simmons,you will be moved to get right into moving after the opening invocation. The premise of the track is simple: What does one do when one simply does not know what to do anymore? In a society that praises action over thought and a false self reliance that is isolating, this track is asking you to slow down, admit your helplessness in the midst of a crisis large or small and turn to a friend that may be invisible to your eyes but not to your ears. In fact, this song is the embodiment of the core practice in bhakti yoga which is to chant and hear the names of God turning to that name for help and shelter in a crazy world where people fail you,things fail you and your best efforts fall apart.The stress!It is a nudge to call upon Divine Sound.The Sound Incarnation of the Lord at the end of the track is the portion of the 16 syllable maha mantra (great mantra) “Hare Rama”.Stop being such a busy body and call on your Mother.

When I don’t know what to do, I chant! When I don’t know who to talk to, I chant! When I don’t know who to turn to, I chant!

This Divine Feminine or the Lord’s Internal Energy is technically known as Hladini Shakti or Srimati Radharani Herself. This is the inside ring,that fireside chat,the soothing stroke to your furrowed brow and troubled heart,the hope when there is none left,the struggle beyond the struggle as “Eye Chant” is asking you to connect through your heart via the medium of your ears. When will you stop doing doing doing and start listening to higher love,a higher voice and a higher wisdom? Check out this article I found from from my old friend Madhyama Devi that I knew back in my Philly days when I lived and served in the ashram there located in Mount Airy.She was always good at explaining things.This dates from 1983 (I moved in in 1982) and it’s just as sharp today as it was then.
Why and How To Chant Hare Krsna http://backtogodhead.in/why-and-how-to-chant-hare-krsna-by-madhyama-devi-dasi/
japa_mala

I leave you with these exuberant reflections and one of several links where Eye Chant appears.This one on TRAXSOUCE for real house music! Get your own download of Eye Chant to enjoy this exuberant and loud exhortation to get quiet and meditate now! Get Eye Chant on TRAXSOURCE
http://embed.traxsource.com/player/track/1899895

Ekayani's Yogaonthe Dance Floor has expanded to these fine outlets. Get it now!

Ekayani’s Yogaonthe Dance Floor has expanded to these fine outlets. Get it now!

Weekly Series – Dehino Smin/ Loss of A Mother – Yoga on the Dance Floor

February 15, 2015

DEHINO SMIN is track number 8 from the spiritualized EDM album Yoga on the Dance Floor (TGEE Records).The verses are in Sanskrit and the flavor is reggae dub. Reciting 9 out of the 33 core verses from the Bhagavad Gita As It Is translated by the devotional scholar Srila Prabhupada,the heady subject matter is Life, Death and how to reunite ourselves with the Supreme with one’s consciousness intact during the time of transition.I am writing this on Valentine’s Day 2015 on what would have been my dearly departed mother and cultural icon Lee Chamberlin’s 77th year. And it’s a struggle as there is so much to cover.Losing her has been extremely sobering. Being with her during her last hours was poignant and something I will never forget.In bhakti colloquialism,death is called a “disappearance”. Where do they go that person that we loved so dearly,that face we saw so often,the hand we held so tightly? This past week I found myself coming to grips with the fact that death is indeed a reality and that I am walking on the shifting sands of time. Fortunately God is Time. Now if only I could pay Him enough attention. What is not so readily grasped is the moving on of spirit to be housed in another body or if very fortunate,liberation from the cycle of birth and death completely.Lately, the realization I am having is that there are no shortcuts to self realization.I can’t pretend I am something or somewhere I am not and pivotally accepting this body,this vehicle,this yantra I have got is the first step to transcending it precisely because it is so particular. Denial or abuse in the form of repression of one’s physcho physical nature and negation just doesn’t work. This life is full on. I actually have to use it in service of the Supreme because that is where my realization will be found. And “I” can be “you”. As my mother used to say the greatest sin is neglecting one’s God given talents.You have to pass through them without shirking the austerities that go along with the job.

As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from youth to boyhood to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. – BG 2.13.

Of course people die, you say but how do we die? It’s hit me like a ton of bricks:
I AM going to die and it’s going to be very PERSONAL.
I examine myself now.
How prepared am I for that occurrence?
While I certainly have the tools in the form of sound vibration, I’d say not so much really.They say forewarned is forearmed yet it has taken someone so close to me to sound the alarm in my heart and head beyond accepted philosophy.Mother as siksa guru. All the years I imagined I had to fritter away on my meandering garden path to my supposed goals is not that long anymore. Mortality is in sight and it surely is a feeling.This feeling is present with me day and night,unlike before when I was less sober. What do I mean by that? I was drunk on my youth. Intoxicated by the endless possibilities with no real grasp that my time in this form is finite.I will have to get off the bus at the end of the line but what time is the end of the line coming? The key word in this verse is sober or dhira. Sobriety is required so as not to become bewildered by a dramatic change from matter to less matter. How confusing it is having lived comfortably in the same “apartment” for years when the landlord suddenly appears somewhat unannounced telling you have a couple of months to get out.You can’t take anything with you and you have no idea where you are going. What are you going to do with that big mind of yours? I’ve been advised to focus on the Lord regularly and yet I fall short. On the upside my day to day interactions with others has been tempered, making me more mellow,less reluctant to jump to conclusions, more forgiving and also less inclined to put up with time wasting activity.There is a tenderness and a live and let live attitude that comes with maturity.These are improvements and I can only hope that with an open heart there will be more to come.The question remains will it be enough?

Ekayani grew up to be a  recording and performing artist. Dehino Smin is on Amazon for 99 cents http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MFDD1FG/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_tpa4ub1Z9W11J

Ekayani grew up to be a recording and performing artist. Dehino Smin is on Amazon for 99 cents http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MFDD1FG/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_tpa4ub1Z9W11J

Where Do I Begin and Where Do I Stop?
There are so many ways to unpack this little homage to her. I have so much to say that it can’t be completed here. I can say that outside of her public role, she was a dedicated practitioner of kriya yoga following Paramahamsa Yogananda who first came to the attention of readers in the West though a book called Autobiography of a Yogi. For 26 years she followed this path of meditation assiduously morning and evening.Sometimes I would interrupt her by walking into her room too soon but she was always kind.Covered in a shawl,sitting facing her shrine with her beads she was a quietly aspiring sage.This helped her cultivate a faith and remain calm in the face of many a trying circumstance. She had an acceptance of circumstances of life that so many of us become unhinged by.She had an expectation that all would work out for the best with patience.Acceptance of our personal reality can provide peace.This is what I observed in a woman who was not short on artistic ambition, vision, or determination. She died peacefully although reluctant to let go of the life she knew with tasks she felt she had left incomplete. In the end she had no choice but to leave and this is the irony of life with the push me pull you of the soul in matter. The soul desires more time as its nature is timeless but matter has no more time left to give. This is difficult.

A Synopsis of Sorts

Remembering Lee Chamberlin appeared in The Dramatists Guild Magazine. Written by Roland Tec a person whom she really liked and found support in.

Remembering Lee Chamberlin appeared in The Dramatists Guild Magazine. Written by Roland Tec a person whom she really liked and found support in.

This is some of what I know of her. Lee Chamberlin was born February 14, 1938 in New York City,one of two daughters born to Ida Small and Bernando LaPallo. Raised in Harlem, she was educated at Convent School of the Sacred Heart. She graduated from New York University.For acting she studied at NYU, HB Studios and with Uta Hagen. She was a student at La Sorbonne in the late 1950’s where she received honors in French grammar both oral and written. France would be a country that she would return to repeatedly spending extended periods of time to write as she felt the atmosphere most conducive. It was in France that she would pursue her dream of establishing a non profit to nurture playwrights of color. An actress, writer,director and trail blazer she had a thorough respect for the sacred space that theatre is with first hand experience of how hard it was to get a play produced. She had razor sharp insight that I wish I could duplicate for you here in it’s entirety but I cannot. Part of it,however meant that on stage there was no place for false ego,cheap shots,pandering to the audience,undercutting another actor or a poorly constructed storyline starved for dimension.Lee was a story teller and very funny.She loved observing people and had a respect for the personhood of everyone.This really struck me and I think about it a lot. She had empathy and this is what made her such a good actress. One of my favorite childhood past times was watching her do a characterization of a personality she had encountered in her daily life.She would have the accent,the mannerisms,the attitude and “act the person out” in a little skit for me and my brother. Oh what fun. She was brilliant and how we laughed! We were so lucky to have this “in house” entertainment and she had fun with her captive audience. 

One of the first plays I saw at a mere 6 years old 1969. Lee Chamberlin center Do Your Own Thing

One of the first plays I saw at a mere 6 years old 1969. Lee Chamberlin center Do Your Own Thing

My education by her in What Is Theatre began at age 6 when she took me along to see her in “Slaveship” by the late Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones).She told me in 2013 when I inquired about the dialogue of the piece that there wasn’t any.The “play” was really just an outline.There was no script as we would conceive of today. It was up to the actors who had been left a wide berth to improvise and expand upon with the help of director Gil Moses. The year was 1969 and if I recall correctly the show was staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music when it was still a small experimental space but I could be wrong about that. The seats were placed around the stage which became the “ship”.The stage had an upper and lower “deck” built on pillars of wood. There was a “hatch” in the middle of the upper deck with a ladder the actors could climb up and down.The makeup for all the actors was white face,a riff on Greek masks which made the archetypes and dramatic turmoil more pronounced. My mother portrayed a Yoruba priestess who was raped by the slave catchers conveying human cargo. It’s an understatement to say that her character was upset. In spite of the serious nature of the drama, I knew my mother was well. She was “acting” so I wasn’t disturbed. I was fascinated by the stage craft. I was getting my first lesson in lighting design.The lights were extinguished or illuminated based on the action creating a back and forth between the “present” and “past”.The set design placed two actors on an outcropping “in the future” sitting in rocking chairs talking on a front porch. The concepts of time and dimension were created with simplicity and economy. Later I would see her in “The Believers” and “Do Your Own Thing” (1969) the latter being an adaptation of Twelfth Night performed at The Orpheum Theatre on Second Avenue. I would see her play the role of the scorned “Medea” with fury and pain at Penn State and in 1973/4 as the tragic figure of Princess Cordelia in Joe Papps’ production of “King Lear” for his New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theatre.

The Craft Of Acting

Lee played Cordelia opposite James Earl Jones King Lear NYC

Lee played Cordelia opposite James Earl Jones King Lear NYC


For Cordelia, she lay on the floor playing dead in our living room. Could I see her breathing she wanted to know? I asked her how long she had to be dead for.She replied for 20 minutes while James Earl Jones did his soliloquy. No, I couldn’t tell she was breathing. How did she do it?
“You breathe very shallowly from your diaphragm like a singer”. When I saw her performance I was satisfied.She did a great job playing dead and I told her so when I went back stage as she wanted to know.In this way there was a complicity that developed between us. Whenever we would go out to see a play or a ballet, a process of analysis would occur that we enjoyed. We would discuss how effective what we saw was or not and what could have been done to improve the presentation. She was the one who told me I should see everything I could and learn from it; Even a poor performance or staging would be instructive on how not to approach a problem.

Television and Hollywood

The original cast of the Electric Company featured on their Grammy Award winning album. My mother Lee Chamberlin is standing to the left her hair coifed in a huge afro.

The original cast of the Electric Company featured on their Grammy Award winning album. My mother Lee Chamberlin is standing to the left her hair coiffed in a huge afro.

She gave me insights on what she called “cheap Hollywood tricks” or the techniques used to achieve certain affects when she began her career on television beginning with her multiple roles on CTW “The Electric Company”. She helped me and millions of kids sharpen their minds by helping them to learn how to read and learn punctuation and annunciation as Brenda,Vi, Gladys The Glow Worm or as a shadow annunciator with co- star Morgan Freeman.That show was her first big break and the original cast was stellar. In the span of her 40 plus year career she went onto co – star in movies “Uptown Saturday Night” and “Let’s Do It Again” produced and directed by Sidney Poitier. Madame Zenobia

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Humanity
She made innumerable guest appearances on many television shows including “ROOTS” the ground breaking mini series that finally acknowledged that yes there had been slavery in the U.S.A. and yes it had been brutal. What was more was the underwhelming lack of offers for those actors of color appearing in the mini series. It bothered her deeply and looking back I can see it was a watershed moment for her cementing the importance of creating roles of meaning and substance for actors of color. For many she is remembered as “the best Mom on television” in her role as Pat Baxter on the soap opera “All My Childen” TV mother to the troubled Angie. But Lee being Lee never rested on her laurels. She utilized her time off set to write and write and write. She wrote screenplays,novels,plays,and essays.She was a contributing author to an anthology published in 2009 called “The Face in the Mirror” published by Prometheus Books. She was very proud of being asked to write and contribute to that and would revise and revise multiple times. She would say that writing meant revision. She was always evolving her vision and her growth came through writing and directing. Her own musical “Struttin” (she wrote the book,the lyrics and directed) mounted in the 1980’s won half a dozen AUDELCO Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre. But that wasn’t enough for her. It was the stimulation of a thought process with a deep desire and commitment to see things change for the better for “writers of color” and by golly she was going to be a part of that change. She became concerned about the continued negative image of blacks being projected in American media with the concomitant damage that it was causing to self perceptions and perceptions. With all the distortions of being portrayed as thugs, thieves and junkies and knowing that this one dimensional image was serving no one,she wanted to establish a kind of writers colony.She also realized through her own life experience that mounting a play was just too hard. She reasoned if it was challenging for her who had a track record for quality work,how hard must it be for others? She had begun to influence perceptions of what a black person could be (human)and was (human) but she wanted to support other playwrights giving them a safe haven where they could develop their voice. She believed firmly that people and in this I speak of people of color – Must control their own images being projected otherwise they would be forever distorted. It was her next trying experience creating and struggling to mount her one woman show “Objects in the Mirror…Are Closer Than They Seem” that would seal the deal of her determination to establish her non profit Lee Chamberlin’s Playwrights Inn Project, Inc.in 2011.
playwrights_lee_logo In Lee’s Mission Statement she wrote: The Playwrights’ Inn Project develops work of diverse American playwrights, including women and people of color… Writers interpret the impact of external events on the hopes and dreams of individual lives. My vision is to foster development of plays by African-American playwrights that travel beyond reflections on the American “black experience” and reveal a shared humanity when touched by universally common events. The Playwrights’ Inn Project seeks to encourage playwrights to venture outside their comfort zone to challenge notions about artistic capability or scope of subject. The Playwrights’ Inn is poised to create an international platform for traditionally under served playwrights and encourages writers to roam beyond externally imposed limits of subject or preconceived opinion of what is artistically possible…”
This is my humble effort to preserve what she began.

p.s. Lee’s last essay is being published in a new anthology by Simon and Schuster FAITH: Essays from Believers,Agnostics,and Atheists. It comes out Feb. 24th, 2015 Edited by Victoria Zackheim http://books.simonandschuster.com/Faith/Victoria-Zackheim/9781582705026#

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Bg 2.13 dehino ’smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati Word for word: dehinaḥ — of the embodied; asmin — in this; yathā — as; dehe — in the body; kaumāram — boyhood; yauvanam — youth; jarā — old age; tathā — similarly; deha-antara — of transference of the body; prāptiḥ — achievement; dhīraḥ — the sober; tatra — thereupon; na — never; muhyati — is deluded. Translation: As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.

Weekly Series – The Two Brothers About Parama Karuna – Yoga on the Dance Floor

February 1, 2015
The two brothers Nitai on the left and Gauranga on the right,leading the way by dancing and chanting out of dark times

The two brothers Nitai on the left and Gauranga on the right, leading the way dancing and chanting out of dark times

Parama Karuna is taken from two words that mean “topmost” and “mercy” respectively. Parama Karuna appears as Track number 3 from Yoga on the Dance Floor.This is the song that pushes people past their inhibitions during the live shows and certainly in their living rooms. Moving you joyfully,it is right on message.
(Might I add that this is Bhakti Yoga in one of it’s most sublime aspects).

Parama Karuna just seems to have this affect on people!

Parama Karuna just seems to have this affect on people!

The message is to dance and chant our way to self realization in this dark, dark age where one ugly truth uncovered seems to expose ten more. “Bolo! Bolo! Bolo!” means SING! When I ask the audience to sing along with me; Hari! Hari! Hari! we are invoking a sound vibration, a Name, a Sound Incarnation. “Hari” literally means “He who takes away all miseries”.Try singing it sometime when you are alone and nobody is within earshot.This loud singing is the prescribed method for dealing with unsavory circumstances because it purifies the heart. When the heart is purified so is the atmosphere.It also has the effect of creating community because it breaks down enmity between us. It dissolves envy,jealousy and hatred as it immerses us in Krsna’s Internal Energy known as hladini sakti. People talk about sound baths! This is magic.The pahu dui jana or the “two Lords” initiated sankirtana for anyone who’d like to sing or dance along a little over 500 years ago in West Bengal.They don’t get a lot of credit for it though so I thought I’d point that out.The next time you come across an invitation to join a kirtan at a yoga studio remember some history. And remember fun.

Sankirtana is made up of two words; “Kirtana” (singing) and “san” (together) in a group like “sanga” and is participated in outdoors so all living entities can hear. The EAR is the means of liberation with the tongue working to deliver. So to sum it all up,Gaura Nitai descended to transform our planet by transforming hearts and minds irrespective of caste, creed or national origin via Transcendental sound vibration (Sabda Brahma)that is not of this world. DeliveranceofJaghaiMahaiThey were,and are, acutely aware of all the social ills that confront us and pain us so.This approach is a call to cast off struggle in the way we are habituated to struggle.It has the power to melt hearts of stone,(pasana) getting right to the heart of our matters.  It is an SOS on a heavenly level turn up the bass, bring up the treble.(You get a prize if you caught that reference).

What Have You Got to Lose? Try a transformational process wrought through the power of the sound that is so easy even a child can do it. This particular song was written by one Locana dasa Thakur who lived in Bengal (India) during a time that corresponds to the Renaissance in the west (1523 – 1589).The song originally appears from his body of work called Dhamali with the full title being Sri Sri Gaura Nityanander Daya which means “the mercy of Sri Sri (the beautiful and the beautiful Gaura (Golden Lord)and Nityananda (Eternally Liberated and Transcendentally Blissful Lord). I created a new melody and adapted the title.Tom Glide composed a completely new musical composition just suitable for our taste for nightclubs,street parties and so forth. Here is an clip from our debut at the Knitting Factory NYC.

The Lyrics

Here are the complete original lyrics in Bengali along with the beautiful explanation of the song and it’s mood by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896 – 1977) who does a wonderful job explaining the scope and depth of meaning. Prabhupada is one in a very long line of sacred teachers known as “acharyas”,those who teach by example in the Gaudiya school of bhakti yoga (devotional union or relationship) to the Supreme Person, Krsna. Born during the time of colonial rule of India by Britain,his language is in the correct English idiom of the day. Let’s give it a try! 
Here we go:

The process is to sing and dance to  the Maha (Great) mantra. That's easy!

The process is to sing and dance to the Maha (Great) mantra. That’s easy!


Sri Sri Gaura-Nityanander Daya
(The Mercy of Sri Gaura and Nityananda) from Dhamali 

by Locana dasa Thakura

1
parama karuna, pahu dui jana,
nitai gauracandra
saba avatara- sara siromani,
kevala ananda-kanda

2
bhajo bhajo bhai, caitanya nitai,
sudrdha biswasa kori’
visaya chariya, se rase majiya,
mukhe bolo hari hari

3
dekho ore bhai, tri-bhuvane nai,
emona doyala data
pasu pakhi jhure, pasana vidare,
suni’jara guna-gatha

4
samsare majiya, rohili poriya,
se pade nahilo asa
apana karama, bhunjaye samana,
kahoye locana-dasa

The Meaning (Purport)
This is a song by Locana dasa Thakura. Pahu means “Lord”,and dui jana means “two”. Locana das Thakur declares that the two Lords – Nitai Gauracandra – Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya are very merciful. (parama karuna). Saba avatara- sara- siromani. Avatara means “incarnation” and saba means “all”. They are the essence of all incarnations. The specific significance of these incarnations is that prosecuting Their way of self realization is simply joyful. (kevala-ananda-kanda), for they introduced chanting and dancing.There are many incarnations such a Lord Rama or even Krsna , who taught Bhagavad – gita which requires knowledge and understanding. But Lord Caitanya and Nityananda  introduced a process that is simply joyful – simply chanting and dancing.

Rama breaking bow posterTherefore Locana dasa requests everyone bhaja bhaja bhai,caitanya nitai  ” My dear brother, I request that you just worship Lord Caitanya with conviction and faith”. 

Don’t think that the chanting and dancing will not lead to the desired goal.It will. It is the assurance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that one will get all perfection by this process. Therefore one must chant with firm faith and conviction. (vivasa kori’ ). But what is this process? The process is visaya chadiya, , se rase majiya. If one wants to be Krsna (God)  conscious by this process, one has to give up his engagement with sense gratification. That’s the only restriction. If one gives up sense gratification, it is sure he will reach the desired goal. Mukhe bala hari hari: One simply has to chant “Hare Krsna! Hari! HarI!” without any motive for sense gratification.

EKAYANI’s Note: At this point allow me to explain what is meant by the terms “sense gratification”. That would mean meat eating,sex outside of a committed bond. intoxication and gambling. While I don’t know to many gamblers, the idea is to reduce the fever of material attachment and get closer to our real identity as spirit soul. Certain indulgences hinder progress while a spiritually healthy lifestyle promotes advancement. This means at least embarking on the path to show mercy to the animals which includes no animal slaughter for eating their flesh, promiscuity or perhaps sexual exploitation is a terminology easier to understand. Sexual exploitation or impersonal dealings in ones sexual activity. No intoxication can be a hard pill to swallow especially for newcomers to the path of yoga but consider that the material body is already a kind of obsfucation for the soul. Cloudy thinking, addiction and health problems it can induce are like smoke covering our consciousness, covering more acute perception. The substitute drug of choice if I can draw a crude comparison,is the actual chanting of the maha mantra which can get you higher than you every could  without any adverse side effects or expenses. It’s free.  And finally gambling which can undermine a persons sense of making an honest living by promoting fast earnings and get rich quick schemes to the detriment of society at large. I am sure you can think of an example pretty easily given the current state of financial affairs of governments across the planet. Now back to the purport. (And I really like this part).

We Are Lucky! 

Dekha ore bhai,tri- bhuvane nai. Locana dasa Thakur says, “My dear brother, you just try and examine this. Within the three worlds there is no one like Lord Caitanya or Lord Nityananda because Their merciful qualities are so great that they make even birds and beasts cry (in ecstasy) what to speak of human beings”. So the process is to regularly sing the maha mantra while dancing in a group setting. Are You Ready to Party? Can you think of ways to bring this song to your group marches?

“Bolo! Bolo! Bolo! Hari! Hari! Hari!”


Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-On-The-Dancefloor-Ekayani/dp/B00MFDCRFG

New here? This post is part of a ten week series on the inner and outer meanings of the songs from Ekayani’s Yoga on the Dance Floor out on the UK imprint TGEE Records. The first post in this series is called;The Inner Meaning of Gaura Pahu. p.s. This post is for Kim.

p.p.s. Parama Karuna is available for 99 cents on Amazon . I appreciate your support because I’d really like make another album.Thank you very much.

41 Stations + Farm Trip 2015 Blessings of a New Year!

January 9, 2015

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Happy New Year to you in 2015! It’s been a long road to get here with the various troubles that plague the world in the form of so many versions of disrespectful dealings with each other,the ultimate one being the violence we perpetrate on each other.The root of this violence that seems to spiral out of control is animal slaughter whose karmic payback is the senseless killings in human society.The Universe mirrors back to us what we do to the innocent creatures. In 2014 I found myself contemplating many, many images of humans being led away like cattle, murdered like cattle, put behind bars like livestock and thought am I part of a small minority that sees this? That is why it was a great joy for me to lead a small party on a weekend retreat to Gita Nagari Farm or the “yoga farm” as it is affectionately known where solutions are being discovered! The only slaughter free and cruelty free dairy in the United States nestled in Juanita County in the Susquehanna Valley it was a perfect place to show my guests a living breathing model of ahimsa or non violence in action while experiencing the sweet atmosphere it produces. We also explored “alternative” methods of energy production. Guests enjoyed three square vegetarian meals a day and managed to justify all the eating (me included!) with visits to the dairy barn, oxen training,helping out with the gift shop project, taking photos, taking a yoga class in the yoga studio on the grounds, observing the peacocks, playing with the cats on the property, meeting the billy goats, visiting the cows at milking time and learning about the biodigester that turns cow manure into FRACK FREE gas to cook and heat with.

A full moon hangs in the sky on an evening walk with one of the residents of the farm a miss kitty.

A full moon hangs in the sky on an evening walk with one of the residents of the farm a miss kitty.

The creed of the Gita Nagari Farm is stated here:
“GitaNagari shall set the example that neither God nor the living being nor Nature is in any way antagonistic toward one another, but that all of them exist in harmony as a complete whole unit. When Gita Nagari will attempt to harmonize such sweet relation between man and God, Man and the world and the world and God, at such an auspicious time only, the United Nations effort to establish peace in the world will be successful or the dream of a casteless society all over the world will be realised in practice. There is no other practical solution of the scientific basis of universal brotherhood or of universal religion without understanding this simple truth of the fatherhood of Godhead, motherhood of Nature, and childhood of all living entities.” (Conception of Gita Nagari by Srila Prabhupada)
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41 Radio Stations play Money to Burn
Woah!!!  41 stations are playing this timely track and I’d say 2015 is starting off extremely well! My deep thanks to a man that loves what he does so much he has created an outlet for music that spans the globe! During this week of January 5, 2015 BoddhiSattva’s Ancestral Soul Mix of Money to Burn is being played on 41 stations, heard by thousands due to the grace of DJ Greg G. Countries include the UK, South Africa, France, Argentina, Italy,Spain,Greece,USA, Brazil, and Romania with a daily schedule of airplay on FM stations and podcasts. Money To Burn indicates a gentler way of life where we cultivate the time to get to know ourselves better inside and out and become self satisfied after a day of meaningful activity that leaves us peaceful inflicting no harm or sorrow. In conclusion, visiting this farm, a loving environment where life is simple revolving around the cows,dedicated to their care brought together the yearnings for a better life expressed in the track for the world. In return the cows give milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt and manure that is used to repel insects, enrich and fertilize the earth, cool dwellings in summer and warm them in winter. It is truly a perfect design in the appropriate landscapes. And thanks Erik. We LOVE your photos!

DJ Boddhi Satva's Congloses roots serve his remix well.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/money-to-burn-boddhi-satvas/id941943860 The favorite its being released as a single.

DJ Boddhi Satva’s Congloses roots serve his remix well. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/money-to-burn-boddhi-satvas/id941943860
The favorite its being released as a single.

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Food Drive Sunday plus my Health Side Holiday Tips

November 29, 2014

It would mean a lot to me if you came out to the Yoga and Food drive this Sunday November 30th at JivaMukti Yoga School conducted by yogini Ximena Milagros Savitch. It’s the season of giving and this is the second annual drive for the Bowery Rescue Mission. Vegan items are welcome that are canned or boxed. You can drop off items too at the school located at 841 Broadway . I’d also like to introduce you to my health side too and for your holiday stress. Didn’t know I was a health nut?

Money to Burn #1 in the Top 30 Countdown!

November 23, 2014

NEW CENTURY’S TOP 30 HEATSEEKER TRACKS NOV 2014:# 1 Money to Burn by EKAYANI
Well isn’t his a nice surprise! Happy Thanksgiving Indeed!
#1 CLUB PLAY TRACK
#1 DANCE TRACK
#1 ELECTRONICA TRACK
#1 R&B TRACK


This live version of “Money To Burn” debuts at #1! Recorded on 11/21/14 on “Rew and Who?” EKAYANI sat down (cuz she is tall!!) to talk with hostess Rew Starr about the track and shared some family history.


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