Bio

Raas Leela Kirtana

Devotional and Spiritual Kirtan Ensemble

Raas Leela Kirtana is an original Kirtan and Indian music ensemble from LA that performs uplifting spiritual and devotional music from the sacred bhakti yoga tradition of India. Raas Leela Kirtana’s repertoire consists of original compositions, traditional Indian bhajans, sacred mantras, Paramahansa Yogananda's cosmic chants, and Indian classical music. Raas Leela Kirtana's spiritual music helps to awaken the devotional and meditative states gained from deep devotional superconscious chanting which in turn opens up the heart fully to receive the love of the Divine thereby yielding complete healing of body, mind and soul.

Raas Leela Kirtana was formed in 2019 by the group’s deep love and passion for Indian devotional Kirtan music which they discovered through the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, a beloved world teacher who brought the yoga science of meditation from his native India to the West. After playing together for years at their temple Yogananda’s spiritualized cosmic chants the group decided to dive deeper into the sacred devotional tradition of Kirtan chanting which resulted in the formation of this Kirtan ensemble. After their successful performance at Gopala's graduation recital at the California Institute of the Arts, a sold-out concert where they received a huge enthusiastic support from the audience, they decided to keep going with this project which then evolved into Raas Leela Kirtana.

In April 9th 2020 they released their highly anticipated self-titled debut album 'Raas Leela Kirtana' through all of the major online platforms in the music industry. This release marked a very important stepping stone for the band because of the album's original spiritual compositions that uplift the listener through the celestial soundscapes that they created.

Raas Leela Kirtana is much more than just a Kirtan ensemble, it is a spiritual ensemble of cosmic music that has the power to take the audience into higher states of consciousness by using the powerful channel of superconscious chanting which Yogananda described as 'that in which internal chanting vibrations are converted into realization and are established in the superconscious, subconscious, and conscious minds. Holding the attention unbrokenly on the real Cosmic Vibration, Aum, not on an imaginary or an outward sound, is the beginning of real superconscious chanting.'

Meaning of 'Raas Leela':

The name 'Raas Leela' means 'the dance of divine love between Krishna and the Gopis'. Symbolically, it represents the dance of Spirit and Nature in creation. This is symbolized as the spiritual oneness that exists between Spirit and its 'shakti' or creative power and which also exists in the relationship between soul and Spirit as is symbolized in the Raas Leela as a dance of divine love. Paramahansa Yogananda states that "the ancient Vedic scriptures from India declare that there is only One Consciousness pervading the whole creation which is referred to as the Universal Christ or Krishna Consciousness and which is the sole undistorted reflection of God permeating the whole manifested cosmos." In the Raas Leela this is symbolized by the avatar Krishna who has taken all the different forms, characteristics, and personalities of every soul and who is constantly playing hide-and-seek with His devotees to see if through their spiritual development they can find His divine presence within their own soul first and then behold Him in the soul of everyone else regardless of outer appearances. "He who perceives Me everywhere and beholds everything in Me never loses sight of Me, nor do I ever lose sight of him." (The Bhagavad Gita VI:30). Paramahansa Yogananda has given the following commentary about the aforementioned stanza from the Bhagavad Gita which symbolizes the dance of divine love between soul and Spirit in the Raas Leela: "The divine lover beholds God through every window of thought and space, and the Cosmic Beloved beholds the devotee through every window of His omnipresent love. Enlocked in visions of love, God and the devotee enjoy unparted union."

KIRTAN WALLAHS

Gopala Bhakta

Harmonium, Vocals

Candace

Indian Dancer

Joss Jaffe

Tabla

Galina

Mridangam

Darren Smith

Guitar

David Mather

Percussion

Bob Honor

Percussion and Back-up Vocals