Wild Moon Bhaktas Update July 2021

Hello all,

I hope you are weathering Covid-19 and are finding some joy in the summer!  If you have lost a loved one during these trying times, I speak on behalf of the whole band in offering you our condolences.

I write with news about the Wild Moon Bhaktas.  Gary Waryan has decided to retire from the band.  (I think I can hear your groans of disappointment).  Like so many others, Covid gave Gary the chance to rethink his work and his life and to make some changes.  There is no one reason for his retirement but rather a complex of things:  He is seeking more freedom from responsibilities; he wants to spend more time with his family; his work has become more demanding; and some health issues with his hands are limiting as well.  It was time for him to move to a new phase of his life.

Gary and I met about 2006 at a yoga studio opening.  We have been performing kirtan together ever since.  When the Wild Moon Bhaktas formed in 2009, Gary was part of it.  Since then, he has played at nearly all of the band’s 160 concerts.  He was a key player on both of the Wild Moon Bhaktas’ CDs, 2012’s From the Ganges to the Mississippi and 2018’s Why Not Wake Up.  For those of you who know of Gary’s talent, you understand when I say, he is one of the finest tabla players in the Upper Midwest, and perhaps far beyond that.  I cannot even begin to tell you what a privilege it has been to play with him, nor how I will miss him going forward.  I know I speak for the whole band in saying he has been a wonderful bandmate.

It takes a special kind of person to be so dedicated to mastering such an unusual instrument.  Gary had the discipline, innate talent and drive to do so.  He smartly studied directly with Indian tabla masters to learn the intricate rhythms and performing techniques.  Oh, how amazing it is to hear him make those drums dance and sing.  What a joy!

Everyone should know the following:  putting on a Wild Moon Bhaktas event is no easy task.  There are the rehearsals and the never-ending effort to master our instruments, the uncertainties of performing, then hauling gear, setting up, soundcheck, performing for two hours, breaking down and hauling our gear home.  For Gary that was often done after a full day’s work. He’d arrive at our pre-concert set-up immediately after his labors and warn us that he would not be able to play up to his normal level due to fatigue.  Then we’d start the concert, and he would just wow us.  Over and over again.  God bless him!

Gary plans to continue performing, but on a very limited basis.  Since we are parting on good terms, I strongly suspect that we will be able to lure him back for a special event.  In the meantime, I speak on behalf of the rest of the band as well as the many people who love his music in wishing him the very best.

In related news the Wild Moon Bhaktas are looking forward to performing live again, with Christine Larsen, Will Kemperman, Arlys Alford and me.  Given that there is not a serious surge of Covid in the Fall, we hope to be live by November.

Much peace and joy to you all,

-David Schmit for the Wild Moon Bhaktas

wildmoonbhaktas@gmail.com

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Wild Moon Bhaktas News – November 2020

I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy!  -at the very least, Covid-surviving!  And if you are struggling, pray that you are finding the support you need.

I write to touch base, to update you on some changes to the Wild Moon Bhaktas and to imagine a future when we can return to communal chanting and music with all of you.

The last time the Bhaktas played together was in the beginning of February – eight months ago!  That is the longest break the band has had since its founding in 2009.

Here are a couple of changes to the Wild Moon Bhaktas

Farewell

Shortly after Covid-19 so altered our lives, David Ballman decided to leave the Wild Moon Bhaktas to focus all his energies on his own band, The Midnight Choir.  Like so many of us, Covid caused David to take stock of his life and to alter his priorities.  Regrettably, I accepted his resignation while honoring his decision.

David was a founding member of the Wild Moon Bhaktas and played at nearly every one of our over 160 concerts and on both our CDs.  Few kirtan singers can boast his talent for energetic Gospel-tinged improvisations.  We loved that!  To his musical talents I can add the following:  his professionalism, conscientiousness, esprit de core, unquenchable good humor and his willingness to help the band by rolling up his sleeves and learning how to play tambura, bells and foot pedal.  I know I speak for the whole band in saying we will miss him greatly while at the same time, wishing him much success and happiness.

The Midnight Choir is a cool R&B band with talented players.  I hope you will go hear them play at one of the clubs or performing spaces in town once such concerts resume.  And I pray – and suspect – that in the future we will be able to lure David back to sit in with the Wild Moon Bhaktas at a special event.

Hello

I am very happy to announce that Arlys Alford has agreed to join the Wild Moon Bhaktas on a permanent basis.  Arlys has already played with us two or three times now.  She fits into the band wonderfully.  A multi-talented singer-songwriter-dancer-choreographer-actor, Arlys has a lovely, strong voice and plays keyboards, too!  She not only brings to the band her musical talents, but a deep connection to the Spirit and to the Sufi path. Yes!  We are really fortunate to have her as a full member.  You can learn more about Arlys’s work as a voice teacher and performance coach at https://www.BelieveYouCanSing.com.   I speak for the whole band in offering her the warmest welcome.

The rest of the band waits for the time when we can safely return to performing:  Gary Waryan, tablas, Christine Larson vocals, violin and harmonium, Will Kemperman on percussion (when his schedule allows him to join us) and me on vocals, guitar and occasional accordion.  And now Arlys on vocals and harmonium/keyboards.  Great chanting and beautiful music lies ahead!

What Else is Going on With the Wild Moon Bhaktas? 

As you may know, there is no industry that has been as hard hit by Covid as musical performance.  Kirtan even more so.  Getting a bunch of people in a room singing (or chanting) together is an automatic super-spreader.

My initial response to the lockdown and social distancing rules was to offer solo chanting events on Facebook Live.  I did five events, the last one in the end of July of 2020.  There are now six hours of these chanting concerts on our Wild Moon Bhaktas musical group facebook page.

As Covid endured into the fall, it created an opportunity for me to step back. For most of the last forty years, in addition to working a full time job and being a husband and father, I have been running various sacred music projects on the side, the most recent being the Wild Moon Bhaktas. Often they amounted to a part time job in addition to my full time work.  It has been a joy to serve the Soul in this way, but it often left me over-burdened and short on sleep.  Wild Moon Bhaktas events require hours of additional work and logistics behind the scenes to make sure they run smoothly.  The solo on-line concerts do as well.  Covid has given me the opportunity to step back and restore.

Think of it as a garden.  Every few years it is a good idea to let it lie fallow for a season to permit the soil to regenerate.  If you do that, the garden comes back with even more bounty and beauty.  The Wild Moon Bhaktas as a band are in the soil, quietly restoring and regenerating.  We will be back.

In the meantime, if you want to chant along with one of my solo chanting concerts, they are on our Wild Moon Bhaktas facebook page under “videos.”  If you want to purchase a hard copy of one of our CDs, go to our website.  Each CD features over an hour of music and was lovingly recorded.  Instructions for ordering are on the website.  (www.wildmoonbhaktas.com).

I speak for all the band in wishing you much happiness, deep communion with the Spirit, and good health.

See you!

-David Schmit for the Wild Moon Bhaktas

www.wildmoonbhaktas.com

To contact:  wildmoonbhaktas@gmail.com

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Facebook Live Chanting July 25-2020 with David Schmit -Words to the Chants

1. Opening Mantras   

2.  Jai Jai Shiva Omkara 

Jai Jai Shiva Omkara

Hara Hara Hara Omkara

 

Maheshvara  Maheshvara

Jai Jai Jai   Maheshvara

 

Shivaya  Namah Om  Namah Shivaya

Shivaya Namah Om  Namah Shivaya

 

Jai Jai Shiva Omkara    Hara Hara Hara Omkara

 

3. Don’t Go Back to Sleep 

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you

Don’t go back to sleep!

You must ask for what you really want

Don’t go back to sleep!

People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds meet.

Don’t go back to sleep!

The door is round and wide and open

Don’t go back to sleep!    Don’t go back to sleep!

 

4.  Om Mani Padme Hum 

 

5.  Om Shakti Ma

Om Ma Om Ma Om Ma Om Shakti Ma

Om Ma Om Shakti Ma Om Ma Om Shakti Ma

Om Ma Om Ma Om Ma Om Ma

 

6. Nataraja 

Nataraja Nataraja Nartarna Sundara Nataraja

Shivaraja Shivaraja Nartarna Sundara Nataraja

Nataraja   Shivaraja  Oh!

 

7.  Sarvesham

Sarvesham  Swastir bhavatu

Sarvesham Shantir bhavatu

Sarvesham Poornam bhavatu

Sarvesham Mangalam bhavatu

 

May all Beings be filled with wisdom

May all Beings be filled with peace

May all Beings be filled with the purity

May all Beings  –  of the One

 

Closing

 

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Facebook Live Saturday June 13, 2020 with David Schmit Lyrics-words to the chants

1. Opening Mantras & Invocation

2. Shiva Hara

Praise the Auspicious One, Destroyer of ignorance

 and suffering and who is eternally full of happiness

Shiva Hara Shiva Hara Shiva Hara Shiva Hara

Samba Sada Shiva Hara Hara Hara Hara    (2X)

Samba Sada Shiva Hara Hara Hara Hara  (4X)

 

3. Jai Ma

Jai Ma  Kali Durge Ma Kali Ma

Jai Ma Kali Durge Ma Kali Ma

Jai Ma Durge Ma   Jai Ma Durge Ma

 

4. Clear Bead / Om Namo Narayanaya

Poem by Rumi

The clear bead at the center  – Om Namo Narayanaya

 

5. Jai Guru Jai

Praise the dispeller of darkness

 

6. Innermost Chamber/ Bismillah

Poem by Rumi.   Bismillah= “In the name of the Divine”

Lord, the air smells good today.

Straight from the mysteries.

From the innermost chamber of the Divine.

Bismillah!

 

7. Hey Natha Hari Om

Sri Krishna Govinda Hare Hare   (2X)

Hey Natha Narayana

Om Hari Om

Hey Natha!  Hari Om!

 

8. Sarvesham

Sarvesham  Swastir bhavatu

Sarvesham Shantir bhavatu

Sarvesham Poornam bhavatu

Sarvesham Mangalam bhavatu

May all Beings be filled with wisdom

May all Beings be filled with peace

May all Beings be filled with the purity

May all Beings  –  of the One

 

Closing

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Facebook Live Chanting May 30-2020 Lyrics-words with the Wild Moon Bhaktas’ David Schmit

Opening Mantras & Invocations

1. Jai Jai Shiva Omkara

Jai Jai Shiva Omkara

Hara Hara Hara Omkara

 

Maheshvara  Maheshvara

Jai Jai Jai   Maheshvara

 

Shivaya  Namah Om  Namah Shivaya

Shivaya Namah Om  Namah Shivaya

 

2. Durga Ma Ambika

Praise to the Great Mother Power; We invoke the Fierce. Protectoress, the Compassionate Beloved Mother of All

 

Durga Ma Ambika, Hare Durga Ma Ambe

Durga Ma Ambika,  Hare  Durga Ma Ambe

Durga Ma Ambe   Durga Ma Ambe

 

3. Guru Om

 

4.What Is This Life?

Lyric by Paramahansa Yogananda

 

What is this life?

Flowing through my veins,

Could it be other than Divine?

 

Oh fountain of flame,

Thy Light is within me

About me, everywhere.

 

5. Narayani Namostute

 


6. Govinda Gopala / Hare Krishna

Govinda Gopala Hare Hare  (2X)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna  Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama  Hare Rama    Rama Rama Hare Hare

 

7. Sarvesham

Sarvesham  Swastir bhavatu

Sarvesham Shantir bhavatu

Sarvesham Poornam bhavatu

Sarvesham Mangalam bhavatu

 

May all Beings be filled with wisdom

May all Beings be filled with peace

May all Beings be filled with the purity

May all Beings  –  of the One

 

Closing

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Great Mother Chant Facebook Live Chants May 9, 2020

May 9, 2020  7-8:30 pm     6th Annual Great Mother Chant- Facebook Live with the Wild Moon Bhaktas’  David Schmit   

 Chanting Program  Words-Lyrics   

1.Opening Mantras & Invocation

2. Ya Devi

Praise to the Goddess in the form of power, eternity, compassion and peace

Ya Devi sarvabooteshu, (Shakti, Nitya, Dayaa, Shanti) roopena samstitha

Namastasyai  Namastasyai  Namastasyai  Namo  Namaha

 

3. Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Soham

Tibetan Buddhist mantra for the Goddess Tara

 

4. Narayani Namostute

Opening Mantra:   Sarva mangala mangalye     Shive sarvaartha saadhike    Sharanye trayambake Gauri     Narayani namostute

Chant:  Narayani namostute  (4X)

 

5.  Engrossed is the Bee of My Mind (Paramahansa Yogananda)

Engrossed is the bee of my mind

On the blue lotus feet of my Divine Mother

My Divine Mother, My Divine Mother

 

6.  Where is there Love? (Paramahansa Yogananda)

  In this world, Mother, no one can love me

In this world, they do not know how to love me.

Where is there pure loving love?

Where is there truly loving me?

There my soul longs to be.

There my soul longs to be.

 

7. Presence is a River / Jai Jagatambe

Opening mantra:  Namaskar Ma Namaskar Ma  Para para para para Shakti Ma Devi Ma

Chant:  Karuna Karuna Ma  Karuna Karuna Ma

Rumi:  Your Presence is a river, refreshing everyone

Mantra:   Jai Jagatambe

 

8. Jai Ma

Jai Ma Kali Durge Ma Kali Ma

Jai Ma Kali Durge Ma Kali Ma

Jai Ma Durge Ma  Jai Ma Durge Ma

 

9. Om Ma Om Kali Ma Kali Ma   with poem by Ramprasad (18th century, Bengal)

 

10. Sita Ram RadheShyam

The names of deities in their lover & beloved expressions   Opening poem by Hafiz (14th century Persia) vers. by D. Landinsky

Sita Ram       Radhe Shyam

 

11. Sarvesham

Sarvesham  Swastir bhavatu

Sarvesham Shantir bhavatu

Sarvesham Poornam bhavatu

Sarvesham Mangalam bhavatu

May all Beings be filled with wisdom

May all Beings be filled with peace

May all Beings be filled with the purity

May all Beings  –  of the One

 

 

 

 

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Words to Live Chanting Event on Facebook March 28-2020

March -28-2020  Facebook Live: Wild Moon Bhaktas’ David Schmit, chanting concert

 7:30 -8:30 pm.   Chanting Program

Opening Mantras & Invocations

Shiva Hara 

Shiva Hara Shiva Hara Shiva Hara Shiva Hara

Samba Sada Shiva Hara Hara Hara Hara    (2X)

Samba Sada Shiva Hara Hara Hara Hara  (4X)

 Praise the Auspicious One, Destroyer of ignorance

 and suffering and eternally full of happiness

 

Sita Ram  RadheShyam

Sita Ram   Sita Ram    Sita Sita   Sita Ram

Radhe Shyam  Radhe Shyam  Radhe  Radhe

Radhe  Shyam

The names of deities in their lover & beloved expressions

Opening poem by Hafiz (14th century Persia) vers. by D. Landinsky

 

Deep in the Heart / Govinda Govinda Satchidanda Hari Hari

Deep in the heart, stepped in ecstasy, the Pure One dwell, Lord of Samadhi

Govinda Govinda  Satchitananda  Hari Hari

 

Jai Jai Shiva Omkara

Jai Jai Shiva Omkara

Hara Hara Hara Omkara

 

Maheshvara  Maheshvara

Jai Jai Jai   Maheshvara

 

Shivaya  Namah Om  Namah Shivaya

Shivaya Namah Om  Namah Shivaya

 

Jai Jai Shiva Omkara    Hara Hara Hara Omkara

 

O God Beautiful

Oh God Beautiful, Oh God Beautiful

At Thy Feet Oh I Do Bow!

In the forest, Thou art green

In the mountains Thou art high

In the river Thou art restless

In the ocean, Thou art grave.

 

Sarvesham

Sarvesham  Swastir bhavatu

Sarvesham Shantir bhavatu

Sarvesham Poornam bhavatu

Sarvesham Mangalam bhavatu

May all Beings be filled with wisdom

May all Beings be filled with peace

May all Beings be filled with the purity

May all Beings  –  of the One

 

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3rd Annual Door of My Heart; The Sacred Chants of Yogananda

What is this life?   Flowing through my veins,  Could it be other than Divine?     Oh fountain of flame, Thy light is within me  About me, everywhere.   -Paramahansa Yogananda

Yes, we did it again!  We held another evening of “nothing but Yogananda chants!”   On January 11, 2020, near the date of Yogananda’s birthday, and a hundred years after he arrived in the United States on his first teaching mission.  Here is an excerpt from the program:

Paramahansa Yogananda  (1893-1952) was one of the most influential meditation and spiritual masters of the 20th century.  Following his arrival in 1920 to the United States from India, he made America his home for the next 32 years.  Yogananda’s mission to the West was multi-faceted. His national tours – including a stop in Minneapolis in 1927 –introduced tens of thousands of Americans to yoga and meditation.  His Autobiography of a Yogi has been hailed as a spiritual classic.  Devoutly committed to the common truths in the world’s religions, he helped advance religious pluralism in the West.

Yogananda played a key role introducing both bhakti yoga – the yoga of love – and devotional chanting to the West.  In a legendary concert at Carnegie Hall in 1926, he chanted his English translation of the 500 year-old chant, Hey Hari Sundara  (Oh God Beautiful) for almost 90 minutes.  His Cosmic Chants, a book of original compositions in English with translations of traditional Hindu chants rendered in western musical notation was a first.  Yogananda claimed that he spiritualized his chants by playing them until he went into samadhi (spiritual ecstasy).  Most of the chants you will hear tonight are drawn from this collection.

Yogananda’s legacy continues.  He is often cited as a key influence in many peoples’ spiritual journeys.  His organization, the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) carries on his teachings and spiritual vision.

   

 

 

 

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Annual Rumi Celebration

 

We held our 21st Annual Rumi Celebration on December 14, 2019 at Tula Yoga in St. Paul.  The following is excerpted from the program for the event, that will give you some context and history:

About Rumi, his poetry & this event

Jelaluddin Rumi was born September 30, 1207 in Balkh, Afghanistan.  In his childhood, he moved with his family to Konya, Turkey.  In 1244 Rumi met the dervish Shams of Tabriz and his spiritual life quickened.   Soon, Rumi was experiencing the heights of Sufi mystical union. The astonishing poetry followed.  The Sufi order, the Mevlevis and the famous Whirling Dervishes grew out of this work.  He is regarded as the greatest of the Sufi poets.  We hold this event in honor of Rumi’s Urs, his death date in December  of 1273.  In Sufism, the end of life  is a birthday into a life in the Divine.

In the eighteenth century, scholars in the English-speaking West became aware of Rumi’s six volume Mathnawi and began the first translations.  This astonishing mix of ecstatic poetry, folklore, jokes and spiritual guidance has been a fascination in the West ever since.

In the late 1970s, American free verse poets began publishing versions of Rumi drawn from scholarly translations. The story goes, Minnesota’s own poet laureate Robert Bly urged his friend Coleman Barks to translate Rumi.  Twenty years and a dozen Barks books later, untold numbers of people have fallen in love with Rumi’s verse.  It is an amazing accomplishment, that this man who lived over 700 years ago and wrote in Persian speaks to today’s spiritual pilgrims.

John Hakim Bushnell began studying Sufism in 1986.  He learned Murshid Samuel Lewis’s Dances of Universal Peace and later joined Sufi Ruhaniat International.  He has been leading sacred dances since 1989.  After travels and study in India, David Schmit began leading bhakti-yoga inspired world chant groups in 1974.  He first chanted with Hakim in the early 1980s. In that same decade, he and the Rev. Ted Tollefson, co- founder of Mythos Institute, and a long time student of Asian contemplative traditions, encountered Rumi’s poetry through their studies with Robert Bly.  In 1995, David and his sacred music theater group Meeting Rivers first performed Rumi’s poems mixed with communal chanting in the style you will hear tonight.  In 1998, Ted suggested that Hakim, David and he join up and produce this event.  The Wild Moon Bhaktas began providing music in 2009.  Over the years, Kristen Eide-Tollefson and Diane Gamm have played key roles carrying the annual event along.   (End program message).

For the program, the Wild Moon Bhaktas lead the chanting and then lay down a musical groove and audience members come up to the mic and recite their favorite Rumi poems.  We take a break for refreshments, and then Hakim leads a zikr.  It is a beautiful, organic event that has grown ever more precious over the years.

Here are some images of the event, photographed by Steve Peterson.  You can see more of his work at   www.stevepetersonphotography.net

   

 

 

 

 

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Ten Year Anniversary Celebration

The Wild Moon Bhaktas’ blend of Indian devotional kirtan, chants in English and Sufi poetry has been transporting audiences into meditative states and joyful, energized spaces now for over a decade!  As of this date – November 9, 2019, we have played 161 chanting concerts.  Here is the flyer for the event.

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