So fundamentalism in any spiritual path is ugly, we dig our heels into some nuance and we find those differences, whereas woven right into the teachings of the Vedic paradigm is that. No, no, no, no. Don't you understand? There's one truth and truth is for everyone. And no one's got a monopoly on truth, not your skin color, not your gender, not where you were born. Indian Indians don't own truth, you know, is for everyone, because actually we're not Indian and we're not white and we're not black.
We're actually spiritual beings. And if you think you're white or black or Asian, I got news for you. It's like a rental car. You got it for a few years. Only don't get too proud of it. Don't feel so privilege with it. It's not even you. Your real identity is your spiritual being. And your pain in this world is going to come from identifying with your body as yourself. It's a temporary world and we're eternal beings.
Life isn't about trying to put your foot on every continent, on every like perfectly Caribbean beach. And it's about what is my offering in this world. And when I see people like yourself, people are just connected, like, OK, we're here for a short amount of time. What am I here to give? That's one life I feel like really become successful. I'm Raghunath Coppo and this is the Rich Role podcast. The Rich Roll podcast, greetings, astral travelers, it is a rich roll traveling parsecs across the multiverse, arriving as a digital apparition in your ear canal to deliver a public service announcement, which is that today's show is not to be missed.
It is not to be played at one point five x speed or taken lightly, for that matter, because spiritual warrior Raghunath Coppo is not only in the house, he is burning it down. Should this be your first foray into this man's world? Raghunath is a former straight edge punk rock icon. His band, Youth of Today, was front and center in the 1980s New York City hardcore scene. But then he takes this really interesting, amazing turn.
Despite experiencing success as a musician, he has this growing existential itch which ultimately provokes him to walk away from his musical career. And a twenty two super young, he goes on this pilgrimage to India and then proceeds to live as a monk or annunciate for the next six years before ultimately returning to the states to live. I guess you could call it a devotional life in the Bhakti yoga tradition in service to humankind and the pursuit of higher consciousness. Today he is married, he's got five kids and he runs Super Soul Yoga and farm in upstate New York, where he, with his wife, leads a yoga training, as well as a variety of spiritual quest throughout India and host Wisdom of the Sages, a daily spiritual podcast.
Rodrguez story is incredible. This journey is unbelievable. It's quite the incredible journey. It is that of the modern day. Yogi Raghunath drops many a timeless wisdom Parul and has crazy mind blowing stories for miles.
It's all coming up quick. But first my man Adam Skolnick and I got to take care of some business.
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Adam, have you ever had your data stolen online. Probably, but no one's told me about it yet.
You don't know somebody is out there like with a house mortgage using your name that you're unaware of or some Visa card.
Lord, I hope not charging at Wal-Mart. I mean, I have been I have gotten one of those form letters.
This happens more than I think we would all care to believe or think, which is why it's so important that you lock your stuff down and why I'm proud to partner with Express VPN, a twenty twenty one must to keep your private data private. If the last year or two has taught us anything, it's that when it comes to our Internet use, we are not the customer.
We've talked about that a lot at home. We are the product. And what I mean by that is most Internet service providers log your Internet activity. They're basically tracking everything that you do, every site you visit, every video you watch, every message you send gets tracked by ISPs or other tech giants who then sell your information to other big tech companies and advertisers for quite the profit.
In addition, every time you log on to public Wi-Fi, you're more vulnerable than you imagine to data and identity theft. I don't know about any of you guys, but none of this really sits great with me.
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OK, I don't want to say too much about the conversation to come, but I will say that this is about a search.
We all go on in some form or another, the search for meaning personal meaning beyond the ego and universal meaning beyond the material. It's about the timeless that lives and breathes within all of us, beyond the senses. It's about transcending the illusions that hold us back and what it means to truly devote oneself to greater truth and this path towards higher consciousness. If you've enjoyed my many conversations with musicians John Joseph and Toby Morse, my PMA ambassadors or spiritual leaders like Guru Sing, Rodnina Swami, Jason Garner and even Russell Brand for that matter, then I'm pretty confident this is going to be your jam.
So let the Jedi warrior training begin because class, my friends, is in session. So cool to have you here. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I'm honored to be here truthfully.
And the more I find out about your life, the more honored I've been.
I've been binge listening to Rich Roll probably for like eight months, actually. Oh, really? Wow.
You were it was a big help during the pandemic, which I would get to ride my bike. You know, we live in the upstate New York, so there's a lot of beautiful places to ride a bicycle.
So just listen to ritual and I'm honored you've got a great guest who is really inspirational.
And for the last two weeks, I've been thinking, oh, please, may I say something substantial and not stupid?
I have a lot of stupid. I've got a lot of stupid stuff stored up here. You are the wise one not to put pressure on you, but about you're doing great work. Thanks, man.
Can I share one other inspiration? Sure. Well, I've been you know, I've I've always been into the whole idea of transformation, you know, through diet, through lifestyle, through spiritual spirituality and stuff. But you get stuck at certain points of your life in different facets of your life.
So I remember when I first when I lived in California was a hundred percent raw food. Right. Do cleansing on a regular basis. And I was a yoga teacher here. That's where I met my wife. We got married in Laguna Beach at the Krishna Temple down there and, you know, moving back a lot colder, got 20 degrees right now.
Black ice everywhere.
Insulate yourself a little bit.
Yeah. And then I wouldn't call. You know, I was before I was married, I did nothing but jujitsu and yoga every day, you know, and I was in a band and make some money, store that money and just do jujitsu all day and eat fruits and vegetables. And you can live in California. You could just pick fruits and veggies. You could do it.
Pick avocados are literally growing off of people's trees. Your neighbors, your neighbor had a fig tree or an avocado tree and you just live like that.
And then slowly, as you, you know, married a wonderful lady with two kids. And I got to play dad immediately. I got had to get used to that and I had to start working. I stopped touring and I had to get used to that and worked as a yoga teacher.
And and I took on a whole new role of, you know, sort of growing up quick. And then we moved to the East Coast and it wasn't used to that weather anymore. And that started to change my diet and change my lifestyle and started to neglect myself.
And because I was a yoga teacher and I was always very open and strong in a yoga practice, I sort of could get away with it because I was pretty flexible.
But I remember about this year. I went to a doctor and he said, you know, Raghu, you're about 30 pounds overweight, and this was from a doctor who was very overweight.
And oftentimes the doctors are the most out of shape. Me and I was like, oh, come on. In my mind, I was like, come on, you're overweight, dude. You don't know what I'm talking about, huh?
And then I was like. I am overweight, actually, I am overweight and I have been like, definitely deviated, you know, you can deviate in small increments and over a few years it total, it totals up.
And I started and my wife saying, OK, we're all getting season passes for snowboarding this year and that's how we're going to deal with the winter.
And I was like, I don't want to snowboard this year. I'm like, I feel I'm at the stage of my life where I feel like I might like have a heart attack, shoveling snow.
That's how people die. And so you had Dr. Alan Goldhammer on the right.
And I love him. He's pretty cool. He's very cool.
And I was into his whole thing of, like water fasting.
I was into that for, you know, years ago. And I was just said, you know what?
I've been making too many excuses for too long.
And I've been saying, well, I've been going internal. I've been going, you know, well, I can still do all these yoga, but I'm still very open.
I'm still and I just realized, you know what?
You got to live this stuff, too.
And so it made me start on December and December this year.
Twenty twenty, rather, and plus all the stress of the pandemic and stuff like that.
I said, you know what, it's not a good time to do a water fast and I'm going to do a water fast.
And I just did a beautiful 21 day wow.
Water broth, mainly water, but some marathon juice. And I just decided on that day I'm going to reconnect with all the stuff that I've just neglected that I know about.
And it was incredibly beautiful transformation. So I wanted to give this appreciation because what you're doing on the show has a ripple effect. Because it's sound vibrations of transformation and that's the whole body thing, that's that's. Yeah, that's Montera and Cureton. It's a it's a different version of that, I suppose. But you know what?
It's it's it's sound vibration that lifts people up and higher. And I just want you to know I appreciate it.
Oh, man. That means a lot. That's that's very cool to hear. I appreciate that. And that's great. You did a water fast. So how did you feel at the end of that?
Well, I tell you, I felt that, you know, the first three days are always sort of like, OK, deal with it. It's the worst.
It's the worst. And truthfully, I usually get by day four, I usually feel pretty good. I didn't this time. I didn't feel good. And on day nine and it was very cold, it was getting colder and colder.
And I was like, you know what, I'm going to do a colonic and I'm going to feel great. And I went in for my caloric and I felt worse.
And I almost felt like I was catching a cold. And I was like, this is no good. I got to break this. And by day eleven, I was flying so high, I felt so good.
But another thing was, I've always hated running. I did jujitsu and I did yoga. But running I hate. Matter of fact, when I was thirty pounds overweight, I started, I said, you know what, I'm going to run and I would run to the railroad tracks.
I live on a dirt road.
I ran to the road and the first time I did it. I hurt my knee and I was like, this sucks, running sucks, but that day when I started doing that cleanse, I was like, you know what? I'm going to run ten minutes, ten minutes in the morning, in the night. And now I'm just running every day. And we did this great. Like today.
My wife was going to Tour de Mont Blanc this summer. I said, I'm going to go to I'm going to go backpacking with you. And we just started and, you know, it's one thing leads to another. And that's the power of, like, making one good choice.
Yeah, well, a couple of observations on that. First of all, the fact that you did a colonic in the middle of a 21 day water, it's like that. So, you know, endemic to your personality of like gravitating towards these extremes, like punk rock's not extreme enough. So I'm going to be you know, I'm going to I'm going to do a straight edge and then I'm going to do the whole like the road keeps getting narrower and narrower.
So, I mean, I'm a fine. Yeah. Kind of sort of cults.
The second thing being that despite all the work that you've done and your, you know, laudable, extreme devotion to, you know, cultivating higher consciousness, we all have our blind spots.
And you're like, you know, you're recounting, like, these excuses that you're making for yourself. Well, I do this. So this is OK realizing that no matter where we are on the path, we still are experts at, you know, pulling down the blinders on the stuff that we need to look at most.
I feel that most of us aren't on jets. We're sort of tacking like a sailboat. Got a little up, a little down, a little up, a little down. And I'm OK with that in my life. And I can see that's happened. The tagging has been sometimes a little bit more extreme, but I feel like if there's a reasonable if you set your compass, even if you tack too far north or too far south, if you're if you got that compass set, you'll end up in a good place.
And the compass is helpful to have, you know, you know, people of integrity in your life.
And I've always sort of kept people like that close. Even when I've gone feel like I've gotten really off.
I felt like that people have sort of encouraged me back. And so I've had great people in my life, friends, peers, some you probably know Rodney Swamy, who you've had to ask whom I love.
And I spend time with him every year on a beautiful, great souls as I now so lucky to have great people in our life.
And what do you do? What you're creating with this podcast is like you just have great inspiring people on a regular basis visiting you like.
And it's been such a gift to be able to share space and and spend time with people that that I respect and look up to. And then these people become my friends and part of my life and, you know, our world sort of have intersected in that regard. Like John Joseph, you probably go way back with that dude, right?
Those guys in the Chromatics have been a big inspiration to me and to a lot of people for sure.
I mean, John's one of my best friends. I texted him the other day and told him you were coming and he said to say hello.
Yeah, they're inspirational guys, inspirational guys and transform their lives, transform people's lives, transform my life directly. Yeah. You know, in debt also, you're always in debt to Toby Morse.
Tell me more, Toby. I think I'm joining him for dinner tonight. Oh, you are? Oh, yeah.
I texted him and told him you were coming in as well, too. So he said to say, what's up with me yesterday? Very cool. Well, let's talk about the Origin story a little bit. You know, I'm like obsessed and fascinated with New York City in the 1980s.
And like I thought about the origin of the universe, I was like, yeah, everyone's got a good creation story. Ours, you got right. I take your, you know, 90 day course.
Well, Gitarama here on a lotus flower from Lord Vishnu's navel and many other things like that period.
You know, I moved to New York in 1989 and lived there on and off for for several years.
So I was at the tail. And we're in New York in 89. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
But I grew up in I grew up in Washington, DC, but I grew up kind of in an inside the beltway at my dad's a lawyer and you know, I went to an all boys prep school. And even though the school, the land in school for boys like coat and tie, I like the whole thing. So, you know, the nine 30 club is all happening down the street. And that that was another univer like. It's interesting to me, like this is the percolation up through culture of punk rock.
And the hardcore scene was going on, but it didn't intersect with my life at all. And now later in my life, people like John and Tobey, you know, some of the hardcore people are like my favorite people.
They're just like amazing human beings that have been, you know, sort of sculpted from that movement. And yet that was not part of my growing up experience at all. And I still have to be completely honest, like I have trouble connecting with the music.
It's the people that I love, colorful personalities. And for me, when I was 14 and 15 visiting my older brother, I'm like six out.
Seven kids, New York City parents that moved to Connecticut to have a raise, a family, so in my family all eventually started moving back to New York City as they grew up.
So I used to visit my brothers in New York and I used to hang out in the Lower East Side. And that's how I'd see all these people and the Lower East Side. For those who don't know New York, then it was a whole different world.
And it was it was scary, but exciting. And for a 15 year old, it was like it was everyone was almost like bigger than life, like cartoon, like comic book characters of villains and heroes. And sometimes they blended into one. Is he a villain or hero? Things like that.
So especially in the punk scene, everybody had a punk name and their weapons of choice. And it was sort of a scary scene, but it was exciting compared to a suburban high school.
Right. And you could just you just took the train down from Connecticut and just. Yeah, from from West Chester.
We used to sort of on the border. We used to take the metro north to New York City. And my parents were you know, I was I mean, I get it.
I have five kids. So when my you know, the youngest one, you get exhausted being a parent, you know, and yes, Lacon slackened up.
So by the time I came around, my parents were like, yeah, you want to go to New York this week and have a great time? I'm going to see some music, Mom.
And there they were like, OK, Philharmonic. What did they what could he be possibly doing? Unbelievable. I know.
And so what were the clubs that you were going to at that time?
CBG, a seven. You know, I've been to the Mudd Club. I've been to, you know, the Ritz, which is now Webster Hall.
And how did so what was the process?
They were like, gross, you know what I mean? When we talk about them, they sound like fantastic. They were grotesque. Right. Bye bye. Normal civilians like my wife. I call this a civilian. She has no clue what hardcore is.
He doesn't know anything about it, you know, didn't even know I was in a band when we were starting dating, but they were great.
If you were into that music, it was like that. That was like the music mecca for us.
It was so much more than, well, we want to play another band's songs. I want to play the best of Rush or the best of Cheap Trick or the best of Zeppelin. We just want to write our own music. And it was sort of cool.
What was it that you connected with? Like when you're fifteen and you're going to these clubs for the first time and you're being exposed to this scene, like what was it about that that like?
It excited you, I think it was that originality that like. These are just guys my age, you know, the first band I saw was like the Beastie Boys first band, they were in a band called The Young and the Useless. Yeah. And they were 14 or 15 like I was. And they were making their own music on stage. I was like.
I think I could do that, I think I could do that, and from there I went back and me and my three nerdy friends from my big suburban high school, we just who you know, we created a band, we started playing and the local radio station played our cassette.
Wow. From that, we got asked to play at a big punk club in.
It was funny because you probably know Moby Dick.
Moby was in a band that also played we played this big show, the Vatican command that he commanded of Moby was we play with Moby's band and Agnostic Front back in the very old days, all these old classic hardcore bands. This was like 1982.
We played a big show in Bridgeport, Connecticut, at a place called Pogo's. And I was 16 years old.
I was like the most exciting thing for a 16 year old dad. We got a gig. Can I drive to Bridgeport, Connecticut? And there's like every you know, when you're everything's intimidating there, a guy with a mohawk is standing outside with a leather jacket. And there's all these older guys and everyone's getting drunk and smoking and and you're sort of like new to this whole thing.
And you're in the band and you come in and then all of a sudden the cops raid the place because it's you weren't supposed to be underage, right?
The cops were raided. We after the game, we're all hiding underneath the stage until the cops get out of there.
And when the whole night is done, I played I got offered to a gig in New York City. And, you know, I'm driving back to my other suburban town of Danbury, Connecticut, and I'm feeling like that was the most exciting night, like that was the most exciting night of my life was 16 years old.
Yeah. You become like an overnight legend, like the stories you're going to tell when you go back to high school the next day. I mean, you can't even explain you can't explain it.
So what happens is you start to create your own friends that have nothing to do with your high school friends.
And that's what happened. I created a whole second life that sort of like where these friends that would go to New York City all the time.
And then there's a local little it was an interesting little art gallery where Keith Haring and a lot of like these New York City street artists and original graffiti writers, there was an art studio in Stamford, Connecticut, and they would have punk shows in the basement. And so that became sort of a hub. And that's where I met Purcell, who later became part of Ananda. And he he was a guitar player now in shelter and youth of today. And it was a place for sort of like kids in the Connecticut to come together and experience.
That's how I met Moby. And that's we all used to hang out at this one underground art gallery. It was called the anthrax.
That's wild. Well, it sounds like it all happened pretty quickly. It was you know, that was high school. You know, it was high school. And then and then you just moved to the city after then as soon as high school, we moved to New York City. Right. And youth of today started in that band became sort of popular.
And Kromagg it must have been around at that time as well, was that they were outside or was out a different they were rounded.
You know, I knew Harley from the Kromagg better and they were sort of into Krishna. Because I think the Krisna got part of, like all Hindoo Dharma is you is a very interesting thing in India. Every temple gives sacred food out like you can walk through a holy village and they will give you sacred food.
That's part of Hindu dharma is you're supposed to be growing the food with love, preparing the food with love, and then offering the food with love.
And then you distribute the food with love. And that's called parishad or food cooked with the intention of love to God behind the food. And so one of the missions of the Krishna Swami that came to America, Swami Prabhupada, was this is part of our mission statement is we cook food and because everyone needs love, ultimately, it's not that everybody needs food.
We give this to the wealthy or the poor, whoever will take it. So these Krishna devotees would set up giving food out. And I think the guys from the Chromatics used to get food from here. Yeah.
And they used to read the Bhagavad Gita. And so Harly from the Kromagg who was you know, it was it was a very interesting, like street kid, grew up on the streets of New York. He was in a band when he was in sixth grade. You know, while most people are in Cub Scouts, he was in a punk band and he used to like, you know, and he was a leader of a street gang on top of it.
And so they used to preach to me, it's such an interesting, weird clash of cultures like, you know, I only know all of this through John's lens. I've never met Harley. But John talks about I mean, John, you know, in and out of all kinds of foster homes. And, you know, his life story is insane, but he falls into this scene and kind of is taken under the bad brains wing. And that's where he learned kind of about, you know, I tall in like all of these ideas about, you know, treating the body temple.
I think Krishna and the Krishna aspect came a little bit later. But the food aspect of this culture becomes, you know, front and center superimportant. He's working in some vegetarian restaurant or food market or something like that. And I know, like Angelica's kitchen was like a big kind of focal point.
And I was at a place called Ahimsa. That's where I worked. And Purcell, our guitar player, worked at Parana and there was a bookstore called Ayurveda.
And, you know, now we just want to join cafe and cafe and even yoga. It's just like wasn't in the conversation, right? Veganism, animal rights, vegetarian. It wasn't in the conversation. But, you know, the Lower East Side was a was a weird subculture of freaks, basically. And whether you're into punk or hardcore death or goth or vegetarianism or there's all just peculiar people would gravitate towards the Lower East Side and we all sort of accepted each other as we're all a bunch of outcasts here, you know.
So, yeah, there was there was these random angelique's kitchens and we all sort of grew up interested in I mean, I remember just eating spirulina in nineteen eighty five when no one know what spirulina was, you know.
Yeah. But where does the where does the Hari Krishna thing intersect with that. Was that community just living in the same neighborhood.
Like how does the how does the how does the like straight edge hardcore scene, you know, in the Venn diagram, you know what I mean? Like it's one thing to be punk, it's another thing to be straight edge and then to just gravitate towards the Hari Krishna movement and, you know, follow the bhakti path.
It seems like the straight edge community is a little bit of a feeder to that. Like if you telescope out, it's like, all right. Well, these are about this is about like taking a stand against mainstream society. Like, sure, we're not buying into this paradigm. We're looking for something more meaningful, something that's a little bit more authentic. So perhaps it's just an extension of that learning curve or that kind of spiritual trajectory that would attract somebody to the straightedge scene to begin with.
But what did that look like for you?
For me, there was not a straight edge scene in New York. And I was just sort of like I was just more into, like sports and healthy living. Right. I don't know what that may be like.
A freak among the freaks, right? Well, yeah. So then sports and being into punk.
Exactly. Especially then in 1982, because it was really dark and there was a lot of heavy drugs, drugs that they didn't even do in high school. I mean, I thought high school partying was sort of lame and I didn't want to be like that. But when I got started hanging out in New York, I was like, you know, all these guys are much worse.
These guys are taking at least are putting their face in a brown paper bag and huffing glue.
So what's going on here? And I was just into, like, positive living and I just didn't jibe with that stuff. And so I never expected it to become as big as it was.
But we had a band and I'm very outspoken about what I believe in and a straight out scene sort of quickly a culture of it sort of quickly started forming. And then that year we got into animal rights, it just seemed like a natural progression of, OK, I want to keep my mind under control of my body and to control my tongue under control, my genitals under control.
And I got to figure out, like, why am I killing this cow, but we're not killing this dog.
Like, and when you start to think like that, you start to realize, like, oh, I get it.
I'm like a sociopath who can sort of like, hey, children, let's play a game and all of a sudden you murder another child. So what am I doing with my mind?
And I got that in my mind living with my family. But, you know, I didn't know how to cook. Yeah. And so I made this deal, like, when I turn 18 or when I move out of my house, I'm not not going to eat meat anymore. I'm just not going to do it.
And and then I read Peter Singer's book, and the Kristiina people also put out a book on vegetarianism so that I was like, I'm just going to choose this lifestyle. I'm just going to deal with it and I'm going to find support because there's not like real support like there. You couldn't go online and find support. You just had to figure it out. OK, what am I going to eat, you know, spaghetti every day or, you know, Coca-Cola.
And so it's sort of like a process. And then New York City did have that support with health food stamps. I got a job at a health food restaurant. I started getting into yoga. Then what was the yoga scene in New York like at that time?
It all was spiritually based yoga. It wasn't athletic.
No, of course not. But there was there were connected to Schrems. Yeah.
And it was like, I mean, David life and and Chase and like I mean, they came from the punk movement, too.
Yeah, they were they were in the neighborhood. David had a life cafe. Right.
And he's cool on Sharon's cool. And they live not far from me.
But when you go to Geneva Mukti now in New York and it's like it's so swank and like the is amazing and maybe but you're like these are just punk rockers who are I don't know. It's like they came out of that movement when yoga was like an act of rebellion. Yeah.
And they still have that in them to him. And yeah, they're wonderful.
We I remember practicing next to them at Dharma Mitra's Place, Demitrius probably eighty five years old this year maybe.
Right. But he was long term yoga teacher but spiritually based. They all like gurus and it wasn't as secular as yoga has become right nowadays. So much goodness on the short horizon, but first, Adam, this one's right up your alley.
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All right, let's get back into it. So USA Today, get some traction, you guys are playing all the time, you make a name for yourself, you do like create this this band that tons of people are in.
Do you start a record label like you got a lot of stuff going on by like when it went, is this like early 90s?
No, this is nineteen eighty five. It was 87, I thought.
And then in 88 I started getting more serious about my spiritual life, which sort of came from a combination of success and feeling like questioning what success is.
You know, you have these bands that were sort of like the Beastie Boys. They were like peers and they're like blowing up and getting huge.
And I was watching the documentary. I did the Beastie Boys talking. Now, I heard it was great. That's great. It's great. I mean, you would love it because they have so much footage from the very early days.
But I remember being on tour and they were on tour and I saw them when they left New York at Webster Hall. And it was just like I remember when the record licensed to Ill started blowing up and I was like, oh, this is unbelievable. This is actually unbelievable.
And then we're on tour and we saw them in L.A. and, you know, Run DMC or they're like, this is unbelievable.
Right? And it was just like the whole thing was just shocking and that Murphy's Law was friends of ours and they were on tour with them, too.
And the whole thing was like it was like shocking, like because no one's expecting like we're just having fun, like we're doing DIY stuff, we're printing our own, you know, flyers and all that kind of stuff. Like there's no expectation or attachment to any kind of like water success or this is a career.
This is a career.
You know, I thought if when I grow up I want to be in a band, I wasn't like that at all.
And never we just sort of like, well, I don't know, on a mission and know what it was. Yeah.
So, yeah, that was that was a little that was a little shocking when that happened.
But what was your question basically like I want to walk you up to this point where you end up walking away from the band and everything. So the band's getting bigger, you're getting more success.
You know that you're starting to. My father got sick. Yeah. And now it seems like that was the big inflection point. Yeah.
And I think sometimes it takes a tragedy to sort of to make you re-evaluate life. These, you know, these spiritual epiphanies like.
But you'd been doing yoga and, you know, I had been into it and sort of on a spiritual quest.
And this had really just slingshot it.
My desire to go deeper because I really felt like there is nothing of this world that will really satisfy my heart. There is no amount of success. There's no soul mate.
There's no you know, there's this beautiful statement, this in body literature that there's you know, this is how I phrase it anyway. You know, there's a God shaped hole, a God shaped hole in the heart and will shove anything in that hole. We're looking to shove anything to feel connected, but only God will fit in that home.
And we try to the three main things that we really try to put in that hole are we feel like there is a person out there that will make me complete.
And it's been romanticized. And there are people that we connect with. There's people that we love, but they're not our God. They can't be our God, and we shouldn't make them our God or we're setting ourselves up for hell in the future and or we're going to become incredibly needy or they're going to be needy. It's going to be a real dysfunctional relationship.
So the person shouldn't be our God. And the next one is there's no amount of financial height you can go to that will actually satisfy that yourself. So there's no amount of money can put in that God shaped hole.
And the final one is there's no amount of validation, material validation.
You can find people who sometimes get the most validation and they're sometimes even more screwed up.
And I started feeling like, yeah, there's nothing of this world. And I remember sitting in a yoga center once and reading this quote from a swami saying, you must become materially exhausted. Just to start your spiritual life, you have to, like, be cynical with material success, give up hope, and I was always a very positive person.
Matter of fact, I'd read these books early on my life and think, oh, these yogis, they're so negative about life.
What's wrong with life? Life is good. I've got so much hope. But you have to be cynical with material hope. You can be very, very. You can believe in spiritual fortune like there is a spiritual success, but material success is a dead end. And so when I saw my father going down so hard, so, so sad, I started to realize, yeah, this material world is an unfair place.
Well, that's an amazing, you know, kind of epiphany to have as a young person.
And it's not like you were living in a mansion at the top of the hill, like you were getting success, but you didn't have to hit some kind of crazy bottom or, you know, spend the better part of your entire life chasing some material need in order to have that reckoning.
Like, I think it's a it's it's unbelievably true that you have to have that existential crisis of one form or another and to shock you out of your, you know, the mire of your your your daily existence that can come in the form of something disastrous or when you've just exhausted as much, you know, chasing of material success as is humanly possible. But at either end of that spectrum is a reckoning that will compel you to confront yourself in a more meaningful way.
But you are able to do it as a very young person.
I think most of us in Western culture who are now in the biggest picture, if things were haves, we have we we've been to the best beaches, we've been to the coolest places. We've traveled around the world. It always boils down to this whole big deal. I did it. I went to the Eiffel Tower. Big deal.
But the persistence of the illusion is so woven into the fabric of our life, it's like, yeah, I did that, but OK. So I felt good for a minute that faded.
Well, it must be the next thing or when it's not that it's the next thing because I got to keep up with this guy and and that's why they spend their entire life chasing that. Yeah.
Or trying to get some material bucket list, which it really boils down to. Big deal. Here I am. It's perfect.
Big deal. Now what. Or this is another great one now. What now. And I think when you get to that point you're like, yeah, now what then it makes you realize, OK, life isn't about trying to put your foot on every continent, on every like perfectly Caribbean beach.
And it's about what is my offering in this world.
That's such a great day with Greg today. What is my offering in this world? And when I see people like yourself, people are just connected, like, OK, we're here for a short amount of time, what am I here to give?
And that's one life I feel like really become successful.
And you feel very fortunate and very connected and you enjoy waking up in the morning and there's no oh crap, it's Monday or Friday.
Thank God it's Friday. We're like. I feel like I could do what I do 24/7, I have one I'm one of these very, like, hyper.
I could do what I do every day and four hours a day. And I love what I do.
And I just feel like it's important to to shine light on the romance of what Hollywood creates or what even just people's personal Maya creates in their mind.
Like, well, if I was in this situation, I'd be better off if I lived out here. I'd be better off if I if I could only find some time away getting fame at an early age.
And even though it wasn't huge fame, getting that fame, it punctured the romance of what a lot of people it's a long, long, attractive, dead end.
I'm sure you can relate to that. No, I mean, that's beautifully put, but I suspect that most people who, you know, have been in some analogous version of that situation might think I need to do something a little bit more meaningful. Maybe I'll, you know, volunteer at a non-profit or I'll double down on my yoga practice or, you know, figure out some way of living more in Savea in my day to day. But what very few do is say, I'm going to go on a walkabout and end up in India and a monk for six or seven years or however long you you know, you were you were doing that like that's a I'm an extremist.
Yeah, it's an extreme. It's an example of asking everybody to be extremist. I'm just a little. Because you're talking to an extremist. Yeah. You're an extremist that's vibrating on that wavelength like I get it. And I celebrate that. And I've also gone through phases of feeling guilty or feeling like I have to apologize for being an extremist. But it's an amazing lever for, you know, things good and bad. You know, it's led me down dark alleyways, but it's also been something that has catalyzed tremendous growth and progress in my life.
So when I see that kind of hardcore pivot, you know, hardcore to Ponet put a pun on it, like, that's awesome.
You most people wouldn't do that, but you took that that thing inside of you that that that was that's attracted to those kinds of extremes and like put it to this amazing use that completely changed your life.
Well, probably people like you and me and Jon separately, we're we're like like fast moving trains.
And it's just like there's, you know, guy working the switch on the train pulls the switch and the train's going to go south or it's going to go north. And we've just like through the company of like minded people we've just chose. All right. Let's let's work really hard to go north here because it's a force and it's a determination and it's a focus that if it's, like, misdirected, it can cause a a ripple effect of destruction as well.
Yeah. And so I'm like, you know, I'm well aware of that when channeled in the wrong way of the problems you can cause.
So your dad gets very ill, doesn't it slide into a coma or something like the coal mine.
Three years. Wow. Which is a you know, coma is a weird place because you don't quit. Is he alive? Is he dead? Right. You know, half the family thinks he's dead. Half the family thinks he's alive. And I am like in a state of, like, teenage denial, like, I can't I can't even deal with it. It's quite humiliating to admit, but I just couldn't deal with it.
I just didn't know how to where to put it in my brain. In the meantime, I have a band that sort of like asking me to go on tour. And when you're 19, you've never left New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. That's like what you're going to go on tour. Are you going go to California where there's palm trees and fruit that grows on trees?
And, you know, my mother just said, just go just, you know, and then they just went on tour and then had to, like, sort of digest it. And I think between the band doing their thing and my father, you know, eventually leaving his body, I got to this point where and the scene getting created around me, I just realized I need I need something more in my life also. So that was sort of I just at that point at that height of the band, I left the band and went to India, not even knowing as much sort of what I was getting into.
But I, I just had a strong first of all, I had a strong faith in Vedic culture, the yoga culture, which was which I started really studying because, you know, when you get into spiritual culture could be very confusing. And the Vedic culture is like very, very broad, very, very open.
Like, I know I went to one year of college and I didn't know why, because all I wanted to do was music.
And I know I didn't want to be one of these.
Like in our generation, there was like Animal House was the movie. Like, I want to be like one of these bright boy Animal House guys.
So I started hanging out with all these Christians because I felt like, you know what, these Christians, they're sort of grounded. They're not those frat guys. I like the New Testament. I think it's a good book. I'm going to hang out with them. But I also love the teachings of Buddha.
So I remember reading The Dhammapada, which is a great book on compassion and mindfulness and introspection.
And I remember reading this.
I was like, oh my God, this is so good. Wait till I tell all my Christian friends about this, they're gonna love it. Yeah, that's so funny.
And they just didn't love it. Right.
Way to read the room.
Yeah, well, my argument was, are you kidding? These are the same teachings of Jesus were the right here. Don't you understand? And at that time, I started to realize, like. It's so easy to find differences and it's so easy to find commonalities, and it's one thing that, like we're facing off in this country right now, we're looking for differences and we all have so much more like in common. If you read the teachings of Buddha and read the teachings of Christ, you'll find so many wonderful commonalities.
We identify with the differences and spend most of our time arguing over those. But isn't a big cornerstone of of the body path. The body part has a set, not ideology, but, you know, sort of philosophy of living. But part of that is embracing that which is consistent in all religions, like the idea that you can go to the mosque and you can go to the temple and and, you know, sit with these people who are all, you know, seeking something greater than than themselves.
Yeah, it's an appreciation of how everybody's on a on a path and an everybody is a spiritual being. That's not something I have to convert somebody to. It's just the idea that we are that we just forgot and said the path of yoga is a path of remembering what we already are not converting me to join one club.
OK, change your costume to this costume. This is a different religious costume, different religious haircut. And we wear beards over here. It's remembering what we already are, but we just forgot.
And why do we forget? Reprogrammed.
We're programmed. OK, now you're this guy and you want to be loved. You wear this.
And, you know, we've been programmed that I can speak for myself being in like in a junior high school. Ever have that experience from like everything's cool in elementary school?
And at least when I was growing up, elementary school was like nothing. It's just everybody's friends, all friend. And all of a sudden, once you get to junior high school, it's like. You're wearing the wrong jeans. What's wrong with these jeans? They're the wrong jeans, man.
You wear the wrong sneakers, you've got the right here, you got the right belt buckle. And I was like, oh, my God, Mom, I got the wrong jeans on. What do you mean? My mom grew up in the Depression.
You know, it's like, yeah, those are great jeans. No, they're not. They're the wrong jeans. Right. And you realize if you want to be loved, if you want to be accepted, you have to wear the right outfit. And slowly we start becoming conditioned to how to be loved, how to be accepted, how to be validated and valuable.
And it's so painful and identity is formed in opposition to others or as a definition of how you're, you know, sort of fitting into your particular tribe as opposed to any kind of self reflection. Right. Like our our educational system isn't set up for that.
That's exactly it. And we creating or creating others all the time.
And it took me about three years, probably from seventh and eighth grade to be like and I work my way up.
I was at the bottom. I worked my way up because I literally had two lines. I got the right jeans, I got the right shirts, I had my hair parted the appropriate way. I learned all. And then and then and I started to fight because at least where I was going to school, it was you get picked on.
And so when you get picked on and bullied and extorted from, you either have to become a wallflower and like like literally hide and make yourself unknown or you get picked on or you fight back.
And so I said, OK, I'm just going to start fighting back. I'm going to I was the bully. Now I'm going to bully. And I just switched roles.
And then I realized I don't want to I don't want to win these people over. Right. And that's sort of like my entrance into punk. So in a lot of ways, punk rock saved me from being that high school.
You just opting out of the entire paradigm, basically. Exactly right.
And then you're part of that paradigm, like I got to opt out of this now. I know. I know.
What was it about India, the Vedic tradition? Maybe, maybe like we can talk a little bit about what that what that means and why you were drawn to that and how how you ended up in India.
I think the inclusive city of it, like the way we say, we say in English, we say the sun. And in France they say solar.
And in India they say, Surya, I can't argue with the French guy and say, no, no, no, it's sun and argue with the Indians.
No, no, no. So fundamentalism in any spiritual path is ugly. We dig our heels into some nuance and we find those differences, whereas woven right into the teachings of the Vedic paradigm is that.
No, no, no, no. Don't you understand? There's one truth and truth is for everyone. And no one's got a monopoly on truth, you know, not your skin color, not your gender, not where you were born. A country not not Indian Indians don't own truth. You know, it's for everyone because actually we're not Indian and we're not white and we're not black. We're actually spiritual beings. And if you think you're white or black or Asian, I got news for you.
It's like a rental car. You got it for a few years. Only don't get too proud of it. Don't feel so privileged with it. It's not even you. Your real identity is your spiritual being. And your pain in this world is going to come from identifying with your body as yourself.
And so I love that as the as the threshold to even as myself as like Straightedge and the leader in the straight edge community.
I started thinking, yeah, I'm not straightedge, I'm a spirit soul, I'm a spiritual being, and I like that identity.
And I was like, that is the identity I want to that's the suit of clothes I want to try on. Let's see how that feels. And I don't even want to be considered a Hari Krishna or a when people say, what are you what's your story?
What do you into? I just say I'm a spiritual. Yeah, I'm a spiritual. You know why? Because that's what it ultimately is.
Because it just shuts down the conversation shuts down the conversation because they already have a preconceived idea.
Oh, you're that guy.
But you have to decouple or you had to decouple the identity that you had created around being this punk rocker, the successful punk rocker, sort of an entrepreneur also within that space and your attachment to the success and the validation and developing an understanding that if you continue to pursue that path, you'll continue to to be seeking that validation, it will never be enough. The God whole can never be filled. And the more you try to fill it, the greater it will expand in lock step with that drive.
Right. And that's it. Like I mean, I already said it. I like to have that kind of epiphany as a young person and say, I'm not I'm going to completely walk away from this and pursue this other path that is even more extreme than what I've been doing in. That's the story of the modern day yogi, you know, there aren't that many people that have done that. You're not the only but some people get a younger age.
Yeah, some people get an old age and some people never get that epiphany at who's the one who is like eight years old.
And in the Florida, there's a lot of people historically, there's a lot of people. And in India, you hear about these people at age eight, right.
At age four, you know, proudness swami's gurus, guru at age four was a master of the bond, the Makita, you know, for I was like pulling the head off my GIGO.
I know. I know it's hard to even believe this, but there's people like that. There's Sanskrit scholar children who can give discourses on the Bhagavad Gita.
And it's just when you read the book, Autobiography of a Yogi, the Yogananda book, he talks extensively about having that awareness as a very young person and walking away from his family to basically be this, you know, he tried to run away to Vrindavan and he tried to go to bring The Hobbit.
Yeah. And in the way we understand that is that everything that we do in this life is a practice like you're really going to interview. I just want you to know that you are a great interviewer.
Thank you. We're only a part away into it. I can I can still screw it up. Go ahead.
No, even if you blow this one, all the interviews I've heard you do, I was like, man, he really knows how to interview.
He's really systematic. Going through these questions are good, but you get that way. You probably didn't come out of the womb doing that.
You practice it and you refine it and you sharpen your skill, you hone your skill. I can do handstands, you know, and I didn't come out of the womb doing handstands. I practice it. So everything that we do in this life is a practice. Both material things, good things, bad things, drink and alcohol is a is a practice. Being unforgiving is a practice. If you're not good at forgiving people means you've been practicing, not forgiving people.
And if you forgive people generally that you've got to practice to forgive people.
Some people say, well, I'm not good at forgiving, you've got to practice it. You got to, you know, work it.
So whatever we do, both good and bad in this lifetime, the yogi accepts, you know what? This is all a practice. If you have some spiritual epiphany or some depth in your spiritual life or in material life, it's coming from your previous life.
I mean, you're picking up where you last left off. Have you seen that?
What I've been talking about this on my podcast, Surviving Death. It's on Netflix.
Oh, no. My daughter was telling me I got to watch. And I was so good about all these children who are just speaking.
I mean, I'm a card carrying believer in reincarnation. I speak about it. I, I philosophically understand it.
But when you hear these children speaking about it, after you watch it, you're like, oh my God, I totally get this. Now, the kid is like recalling their previous life. And it's not every kid. It's a handful of kids. And they documented them all. And they they're saying things about their names and their parents and how they died.
And they're four years old and the mother is like, what are you talking about? And they mother Googles the name, you go find the Yeah, I was going to ask that they find the people. No way.
It's episodes. I watch it. It's so good. And there's thousands.
That's not that's a close cousin to, you know, the stories that we've all we all hear of the the prodigy who, you know, at age super young, is able to just master a musical instrument or do something that it just seems impossible that they would know how to do that here.
This young four year old Indian kid who's playing tablas and they couldn't believe how good he was. And they brought this master in from India.
And the master was like, there's no way this child can know these beats at this age.
And the idea is whether it's a musical practice and intellectual, they're carrying something from a previous life, even bad habits. Yeah, even addictive habits. They're coming from somewhere else. And then when the gross body dies, they stay with the subtle body. That's the mind and the intelligence and we pick them up. So who knows?
Maybe both of us are on a spiritual path. Maybe it's from a previous life. Maybe we've just met great people in this life. You know, I don't like to take credit. Like, I must have been a great spiritualist. Everybody, everybody in their past life with some noteworthy person.
I think that was Cleopatra. Yeah, exactly.
Well, I know I like to think that all the people that come on the podcast are, you know, people that over my many past lives I've encountered in different forms could be and we're having a we're having a convention, a reconvening, a reunion.
I don't know. It's a family reunion.
All right. And so I'm still trying to get to this thing about you going to India. So you did you know where you were going?
Did you really? I don't really know much about anything, but I knew that I wanted to become a monk. So you had that and I had that.
And I believed in the Bhagavad Gita. I thought that was right.
But I didn't really know all the nuances of everything. So I did go in very green and sort of like even though I accepted it, I was like really sort of not to fit in until I started.
I started applying all this stuff to my life immediately.
I mean, I didn't go on like a walkabout like Ramadoss or Bhagavan Dos or did you have an ashram that you were traveling to where you knew you were going to have a bed and a place to sleep?
And I I had no commitments, but I knew there was a Krishna temple in Vrindavan, India, holy place in India. And I met some monks who were visiting in America and they invited me.
They say if you want to stop by at our ashram, what you go through India.
I knew I was going to India after my tour and it happened when I got back from two and my father left his body and I was booked a room, booked a ticket, and they just left and realized like, all right, this is my path now.
And you go to the ashram and then I got to the ashram and you know your home for a while. Yeah.
And I and I was, you know, I had some money saved from touring, not tons of money, but I had like twenty five thousand bucks. And I was real, you know, I'm a New Yorker, so I'm cynical of everything. And I'm figuring like the monks are going to try to take my money probably.
And yeah, it's a of a scam. But when you it's all scam guys.
But when you see how they live and India is a tough place to live, especially back then, there was no hot water. It was like a jailhouse showers and it was cold in the winter.
It was cold and the summer was hot. And there was no nothing was comfortable and there was no comfort anything. There was no Netflix or there was no like, you know, what do we do for comfort?
We shop, we have sex. We you know, we go out to dinner, we watch movies that you couldn't do any your mom, there's no nothing to buy. There's no shopping.
And so I but I started being shocked about how happy the monks were.
That's our thing, man. What makes these guys tick? Like, how can they be so happy with nothing? They've given up everything.
But you've probably experienced that when you've cleaned out your garage and you're like you feel free from the clutter of life.
And that's I felt like, God, if I can just learn what these guys have, my life could be successful.
Like, how can you get how can you be joyful with nothing? So it's not the things that are giving me joy. I'm not going out there for my joy. The joy has to come from something inside of me. And that was like a beautiful thing to observe because it's not a happy they're not having fun.
They're just experiencing a joy from living and it's not based on their watch or their, you know, outfit or what they're driving.
It's based on like an integrity of existence and the way they treat each other and the way and also the thoughts that are in your mind, what you're thinking on a regular basis.
It's I realize a lot of my pain is from my my mind or my anguish or my envy for someone else or some hate we might have for somebody for no good reason.
You know, you see somebody who's that idiot? Who's that? You know, why is my mind thinking like that, like the guy's an idiot, I don't even know that person. So what is the process of rewiring that? Like when you go to the ashram and you start living as a monk, what is the teaching like and what is what is the day to day existence where you start, you know, into it these teachings and put them into practice?
Well, there's a there's a lot to share. I'm working on a book right now that extracted six very powerful principles that I taught from the teachings.
And the first one is and these are based on the teachings of Chaitanya Mahat Prabhu, who is a great.
Considered by some as a child prodigy because he was a child prodigy in Sanskrit. Other people that knew him more intimately thought. He was a mystic because he did perform so many mystical things. Christ like mysticism.
And then but his intimate followers, who are great gurus in their own right, they considered him an avatar.
So his teachings were very simple. And one of him is very basic. And it's a great take away.
If you want to take away anything from today, you take this way, stop criticizing other people. Like the sound coming out of your mouth. Can be toxic. And that was a powerful thing, stop criticized. I realize I'm living with so much criticism in my mind, that doesn't mean we should throw discernment out. We need discernment.
But the condemning language that happens on a regular basis from finding fault with other people and how you would do things so much better if you were doing them.
Cut it out. Stop letting that poor out of your mouth. That was that's a big one. If you want. I'll just run through this.
Let's do it now. That's one the first of all, when did this guy live?
Well, this same time Columbus was shown up here. Right. This person, Katani, Moha Prabhu, was in Bengal and traveled throughout India.
And basically he was it was a renaissance of bhakti bhakti means. Bhakti yoga means connecting to your source through love, that's all the word really means. And so a lot of the practices are singing our cooking, our meditation, but everything is an action when you're acting in a loving way and dealing with other people.
And so so, yeah, this is one of the teachings I call the book is called The Six Pillars of Body.
And so one is not criticizing. The second one is being tolerant, whereas criticism deals with with other people. Another one is just dealing with life situation and stop blaming the world for your unhappiness.
And this is very powerful. It's transformational. Even if you're a materialist, this man teaching can transform your life. But if you want to really experience, like, the higher echelons of meditation, it's got to be there.
Criticism, tolerance, and this is a huge one. Number three, and if you can add this one to your life, it's such a game changer. It's I take no offense, meaning I will not be offended on a regular basis. And that's a very common thing. Sometimes we could see somebody talking over there and I get offended.
I think they're talking about me without provocation. I think someone's got something against me.
And sometimes we'll walk around holding some resentment for a person who didn't even mean anything.
And that gets split in two things, because sometimes people don't mean anything, but due to some proclivity that I have, that I don't trust the world, that I take an offense and I carry that resentment around with me and it becomes a burden.
But sometimes people have hurt me. They've actually deliberately hurt me.
But still, that desire or that need to forgive has to be there.
Because in the in the body culture is nothing's actually happening to me, it's happening for me that there's a benevolent energy lifting us higher and higher and higher.
And we have to and we have to see that everything is for my edification, for my purification and sometimes even tragic things.
And so there's a firm faith that everything's happening for me and that we shouldn't be. We shouldn't be heartless when it comes to someone else's suffering, I should say, see, OK, he's having a hard time. We should feel like I have to reach out to that person. They're having a hard time, but for my own situation, I should feel like, you know, I'm going through a hard time and this must be for my benefit.
What is that benefit? And I can look at it. I can look at life like that. So we don't hold any resentment. We don't criticize. We're tolerant next when we see the good in others and we let them know it.
And this is what we're talking about instead of finding what this person is doing. So. Right. What are they doing right?
Why are they this is such a powerful practice in this day and age, because otherwise we're going to lock in and we're just going to foster hate with others and we're going to have no commonality whatsoever.
What do we have in common? What is right about this person?
And it's such a great thing, truthfully. It's a it's a it's a marriage saver. It's a relationship saver. You know what is good about this person and then sharing it with them.
Tell him why I appreciate you and that lack of appreciation can really kill.
It can kill love quick, I mean, isn't that what romances is for one hundred percent appreciation for that person? Right.
And the piece the second piece about letting that person know is is crazy, powerful. Right. And it's something that most of us don't do nearly enough of.
I mean, we might have a person that would do anything for us. They would come anywhere at any time. At any moment. Hey, I need your help. Can you come here? Yeah.
That person, I never let them know how much I appreciate them. Sometimes the people that are the closest to us, we never share with them how much we appreciate.
And then you recounting these these lessons. I'm thinking this should be the terms and conditions on Twitter. Like what a you before you could log on to Twitter, you had to read through these sort of, you know, guidelines or, you know, got, you know, sort of guideposts for how to behave or quit yourself, because everything that you just shared is so anathema to the way that we conduct ourselves in the kind of public conversations that are happening on social media.
And we're all seeing, you know, the fractures, the fissures that are are starting to expand in the fabric of, you know, our society. Like we're no longer able to productively communicate in a healthy way. And it's because we've lost sight of these very things that that allow us to remember that we are that we are truly one and no one's happy.
They're all sad. Even if they're righteous. They're just, like, sad in their righteousness of their rightness.
So anyway, that's that's see the good in others, let them know it, the appreciation is such a powerful it's powerful in this world and it's powerful in the spiritual realm as well. That's why I love this stuff, because it's it's relevant. It's real. It's not just like when I die, I'll go to heaven.
Who cares? I don't know about heaven.
I don't know anything about heaven. I don't even know if it's real.
But I do know these are very, very practical in this life for my own personal joy, my own personal integrity, my relationships. You are saying like, yeah, people in Twitter should learn this. The reason why I sort of like, extracted these from the teachings because I was taking groups every year I take a group on pilgrimage. This year I'm going to Nepal is sort of like you would like it.
You go to these various like spiritual sites all over the world, spiritual sites all over the world. So we go this year.
We're going trekking through Nepal in April. Wow. And so half the time is trekking and then holy places in Nepal.
It's like an old part of Indian Kingdom, one of the Indian kingdoms.
They preserved a lot of the ancient Hindu tax, the Buddhist texts, and it's got whatever, thirteen hundred Himalayan peaks.
So, wow. What did you do? Hiking half. What are you doing that April? Wow, great. That's tempting.
But keep going. And then.
And then we do and we do in India every year, which is also great holy places.
But you know, you're bringing a bunch of people to India who never been to a third world country and we're traveling together and they're not used to it.
And it's a little shocking sometimes. So I've really set up these six pillars as sort of behavior, sort of guardrails.
So this is what we do. We don't criticize and it's sort of a contract we like mentally sign. I read them over every day. This is what we're doing. We're not going to criticize, not going to find fault. We're not going to be resentful. Right. And we're going to find the good in others. We're going to let them know it. The next one was quick to apologize.
If you feel like you hurt someone's feelings, if you're a little obtuse and you apologize, first you say, hey, I'm sorry. I don't know if that offended you, but please forgive me if it did. I'm a big game changer. And another one is we keep a tally of how we live, how we are blessed.
We keep a list of how fortunate we are to practice basically. What's that? A gratitude practice, gratitude practice.
And sometimes people don't have a gratitude practice. They have a this is unfair practice. This is why entitlement practice. And the problem with that is it's it's simple math.
Entitlement makes you sad. Gratitude makes you happy.
If you feel like the world owes you everything, you're always going to be miserable. There's never enough the world can owe you. Right.
You know, this architecture is not that different from 12 step. And I know you've got this like Bhakti 12 step recovery program.
I want to spend a little bit time talking about this because, you know, there's a lot of similarities, like, you know, I do a personal inventory, hold yourself accountable, like take the next right action. You know, make your amends, practice gratitude. You know, all of these things are endemic to recovery and are applicable to humanity at large.
This is not like just something that, you know, alcoholics and drug addicts need to figure out a way to master, because truth is for everyone and no one owns it and no one's got a monopoly on it. Yeah. And there's people, Bill Wilson, they're like inspired.
They're somehow inspired. They've got the receiver on just like right now. There's like radio waves in this room.
But we don't have our receivers on we can't pick up the ham radio receivers or the channels from France or the channels from the country western station.
But when you have that receiver, you can start picking up a ball. When you start to fine, tune your radar into spiritual truth, not for your ego.
If you tune in with your ego and spiritual truth, you'll find your little group that finds others, but you won't find commonality and connection. It'll be just another way for your ego to live out in the name of I'm better then. And we find that in any type of I mean, come on. I'm like I said, I'm a cult aficionado. I found it when I was a raw food ist.
I found a local farmer growing straight edge. Krishna, you can always find people who are into things you find in politics.
You definitely find in a religion that if I'm doing something for my self betterment. I shouldn't become more hateful. If I'm becoming more hateful. I think I'm doing something wrong. Well, what happens is as human beings, there's something hardwired into us that wants to find a tribe of like minded people and we craft our identity around that.
So whether it's raw food or Arvada or yoga or whatever it is, the more you gravitate towards a certain practice and everything being a practice, you're going to be surrounding yourself with more of the people that do that. And before you know it, you're attaching a label to that.
And that is now working at cross purposes with the expanded awareness that you're trying to cultivate. Like it's it's like this weird whack a mole thing that that never ends, right?
Yeah. And so I think you have to go into it with a little bit of a broad mind. And I look at that as red flags. If I am, I am finding like I'm creating an and that person's an enemy.
Then I fall off of my track all these six pillars. If I'm fighting, I'm holding a resentment towards someone that's a red flag means I'm off my path if I'm finding myself being intolerant or criticizing someone. Bing, bing, bing.
Red flags are just going up.
That means I'm if you accepted that you're a spiritual being and you're doing these things now, you're off your path, sir. And so it's a good way for accountability for myself as well.
And I'm definitely far from perfect. Right.
But I use these things to hold me accountable. And I find it's great. And I try to like and I'm OK with going to other sources.
I'm great with going to the ritual podcast and hearing from like I said, I heard from Dr. Goldhammer and I felt like that guy helped put me back on my path. I'm in debt. I'm grateful. And we need spiritual influence on a regular basis. So, yeah, I will go hand in hand with botched recovery, I feel.
I mean, with the recovery, we have a back to recovery part of our.
Tell me about what that's all about.
Well, we have a, you know, our podcast, Wisdom of the Sages, where we study sacred literature of India and a lot of people get into yoga and they want to get deeper into yoga.
They'll get more into the body, into their health, into their breathing, and then they'll get a section of that yoga training, which is. Whatever a certain amount of hours of yoga philosophy and what we do, and even if you like it, that's all you sort of get.
But to really change yourself. You really got to do it, you've got to hear every day to really change your habits, you've got to hear this philosophy on a regular basis.
So we're talking about philosophy of truth, the living of integrity, just like if you want to get good and you want to go to recovery, you don't check in once a month.
People who are going through recovery, they need to go to recovery sometimes a couple times a day, check it out their sponsor, or you go many times a week because they need to hear it because the Miah or the illusion is such a strong pull in the other direction.
So we have created a podcast where we can hear this yoga philosophy on a regular basis.
We do it every morning at five a.m. and the more we do it, the more we realize.
A lot of people have very, very strong attachments and some attachments have dismantled their life. They're coming from recovery programs.
But the philosophy of of Bhakti. It accepts that there is a there's different ways to perceive your higher power and embody the higher power has personal form.
Now, sometimes people can't stand the idea of a personal deity because the persons in my life have driven me crazy. Maybe I had an ex-wife or ex-husband or I had a bad relationship with a parent or a teacher or a priest.
What to speak of a priest. And so we hate any concept of organized, spiritual, anything.
But there's sort of two forms of ideas.
Basically, you'll hear this idea of we are God and then or the God is a separate identity.
You'll hear both of those being taught in Eastern thought, although that is also in Western thought. You'll hear about that as well. And sometimes Christians will argue about this as well.
Is God a being or is God an energy or a force? And in India, they're very clear about it.
They say it's both. Why not? Just like the sun is a globe and it's also an energy. It's both. And so the people people who have had such a bad taste in their mouth, I always say things like, hey, you might have gotten dealt many counterfeit twenty dollar bills and every time you spend a twenty, you get busted.
That doesn't mean there's not real twenty dollar bills out there. So just because everything's spiritual has been maybe a fraud, that doesn't mean there's not something genuine. So that's for people who are doubting any spiritual and anything spiritual.
So anyway, with our recovery group, which we have like six days a week, six, six meetings a week, it's based on higher power.
But the higher power is the name Krishna and Christian. Just it's it's just the name of God.
And God can have unlimited names, but we put a name and a form on God, and that's just one of the names and forms of a. Multitude of forms God can have because God is unlimited and why can't God can have form and have no form at the same time.
So people in the Bhakti tradition, the deity, actually has form and some people worship that form the form of Krishna or of Raam of the shrinker.
But it's the idea of we are one with God.
We're also different in the same way a drop of water from the ocean is in one sense, the ocean, but another sense. You can't float a boat on it. So it's mine and it can also be. It can be covered by illusion. So in one sense, we're spiritual beings, but we're sort of marginal and we can get covered by illusion.
I can vouch for that Ivy covered by illusion many times repeatedly, sometimes even willingly choosing.
When you break through, you realize there's another layer of illusion. There's another transformation.
Yeah, but in my purest form, I'm a spiritual being. And that's a I love that theory that there's a pure soul theory that we are actually spiritual beings that have just forgotten.
And we're sort of covered by a plaque that that we're in a scrubbing process of removing the to.
Adding on, yeah, or born sinful or born, I don't like that even that concept. I mean, the people that are that are gravitating towards you and and, you know, dialing up the podcast, at least from a recovery point of view, are going to be people that are already spiritually inclined. And what you find in traditional 12 step is people who whose lives are broken and are desperate and in a lot of pain. But as you mentioned, a lot of them have, you know, scars that come from various religious and spiritual traditions that calcify them from being open to the spiritual component that I think is required in order to get and maintain sobriety.
And a lot of people can't they just can't grok it, you know, and they just they walk out the door because the minute the word God is uttered or, you know, the phrase that this is a spiritual program, the lights just go out because of their life experience or whatever trauma they've they've they've weathered.
That's horrible. You know. Yeah.
That's that's baked into the very problem that they're trying to transcend and overcome.
It's it's it's sad. And I get it. And I never had a traumatic experience with spirituality, but I can understand that. Mm hmm. And all I can say is that just because there's counterfeit doesn't mean there's not something substantial as well when people use the argument philosophically.
Well, you know, I don't believe in a higher power. I think that's just nonsense. I always say, well, come on, that guy can kick my ass.
He's a higher power. Or how about the sun? The sun is a higher power. The wind is a higher power. There's many, many higher powers.
I always say the the the collective consciousness of the group. Like if you walk into a room and there's 30 people who've all been able to maintain sobriety for some set period of time, then that is a that is a power greater than yourself.
There you go. There you go. Out in another way to nicely put too.
So, yeah, I don't think that is so far fetched, a higher power. And I think people just have to break these things down.
But yeah, if there's trauma behind it, it's time. It's all right.
So you're in India and you're, you're doing the monk thing. How long do you do it. Six or seven years.
I did the monk thing for about six and a half years. Six and a half years. Celibate monk in your twenties.
It's a tough yeah, it's a tall order, but I did it and I didn't cheat. Did you travel during that period of time or which I traveled all over the world.
Oh, you did? Yeah.
I traveled all over the as a renunciation like sort of alliance up on the of nothing. I had nothing.
Three years in. After studying the Geita. The gate is not about renouncing the world, it's about taking the gifts that you have and using them in a spiritual way. Right.
And the more the Geita clearance, Arjuna, going to war against his will. Right. Like having to fulfill his blueprint or his destiny.
Yeah, exactly. And I realized, wow, this is the geita. My job isn't to give up music or I'm truthfully, I'm not I'm not a great musician myself. I mean, I've written songs, print out tons of CDs.
I've traveled you know, I've been on MTV or whatever, but I don't consider myself a musician.
I'm more of a speaker. I like to speak. I like to tell stories. I like to explain things like I like people and I like you know, I found that I'm meant to do music again.
So I sort of put myself together with a bunch of monks that were sort of musically inclined. And we started a second band. Yeah. After I'd given up that band. And that's how shelter started, probably historically was the first celibate rock band in the history of the world.
Well, it's got to be the only band comprised of monks except for some kind of cureton situation.
It was like it like on punk hardcore band.
But it was actually very matter of fact, we had no clothing. We didn't even know what to wear.
Like, we can't wear robes because we felt that would be a little bit these dudes, like all in your ashram, there were all guys, like living in an ashram or ashram near me.
And yeah, it was it was it was almost like comical in one sense.
And so I remember when we first started like, well, what are we going to wear?
I was like, well, maybe we should just go to Salvation Army, buy a bunch of white clothes and dye them all orange and well.
But that whole tour, like we looked like Devo circa nineteen eighty three or something. Yeah but we did, that's how we, that's how we rolled for a while. And you would open these concerts by doing chanting right. Like with incense and stuff like that. Yes.
Freak people out. We'd have big here.
You know it's I think because the punk scene was anything goes and so we're a bunch of Hindu monks and it was almost like, why not? Right. Why not?
Like, it's either you loved us or you hated us. But it was sort of in the conversation.
And if a lot of our fans who are already straightedge, they didn't smoke, they didn't believe in consumer culture so much and they believed in higher purpose. So it's sort of like fit right in.
I mean, everybody was selling their wares, so to speak. They were selling anarchy or they were selling DIY or some other facet of punk culture.
And there were definitely people in the scene that were saying, you can't bring God into punk.
This is bullshit.
You can't do that, you know? And my answer was, why not even more punk than to do it right. You know what?
Who are you to tell me? What do you like some conservative? You can't you're not allowed. I'm not allowed to do. What's the punk rule book? Yeah.
I mean, like, isn't all music started as a like a a spiritual celebration? Isn't that the origins of music anyway?
Who are you to say I can't do this? You know, and as far as punk scene goes, I was like a bass player in that scene. Who are you?
If I could, I can do it because I mean, what I can tell if you're going to make the rules, I can make the rules to then.
And if you don't like it, don't listen to it. And so that's how we sort of rolled.
And it was interesting because we maintained a strict two hour meditation every morning, even on tour.
We would not eat food that was not cooked because a big thing of the diet is we try to eat food that's been cooked with the proper consciousness, especially when you're Monck and you know this, that food affects your love is the superfood.
Love is the. It really is. It's it really is. And that's why if you go to some diner where you got some guy who couldn't care less, you're eating that consciousness and it really affects you. And that's not going to show up under some you know, when you're breaking down food and made up this vitamins is not going to show up on the the list of ingredients.
Love is not going to show it on the nutrition facts panel. How much love was infused into the preparation of this food on a scale of one hundred? It makes a difference.
It's why people love, you know, home cooked meals. Yeah.
So we see it making your own doll. And like, we brought our own candy stove on tour with us.
And we not only cook for ourselves, we cook for, you know, people would come around, would feed other people because it's just part of the culture is you cook with love and you offer it with love.
Matter of fact, some tours we'd even do, we would go to kids houses.
You know, some teenager or twenty two year old kid has a house they're renting. And we'd go in there and we'd stay at their house because, you know, we never stayed in hotels.
Generally, we clean their entire house, unlike any other punk band coming to their house, clean their entire house, clean their entire kitchen, and then invite the entire concert to their back yard the next day.
Wow. Where I would give a class on the back of a guitar, we'd have curtain and we'd serve out a meal.
Try to just blow the mind of that kid. Blow the minds of. All the kids, lots more punk rock than like cleaning somebody's house, a punk guy near here, especially like your punk here. That's a cool thing to trash the house right now. We clean there. Oh, my God.
So you just were on tour. When did you end up but you ended up in L.A. at some point.
Then afterwards I moved to L.A. in '99 and and sort of like L.A. was sort of that was like out of the ashram.
I was already out of the ashram then.
And I was just sort of going through it like a re almost like a rebranding of my identity. Then it's very difficult.
I will say it's very difficult to find yourself in the material world after you've given up becoming a monk.
Yeah, it's like a tightrope because as a monk, the answer is no. Do you do this now?
I don't. Do you do this? No, I don't. Do you do this? No, I don't.
And it's sort of a safe parameter. Whereas the material world, it's. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I'll do anything.
I'll try anything but to be really regulated in what you put in your eyes and your ears and your mouth and be it's probably the equivalent would probably be an alcoholic who goes to a bar but doesn't drink.
It takes a lot of sobriety, probably for an alcoholic to go to a bar and be like, I'm good with this. Mm hmm.
And so I found a very slippery slope dealing with the material world again and trying to find my footing there. And I truthfully went through a very tough time. Yeah. And I got very focused on my physical yoga practice, pranayama. And martial arts jujitsu, and that's when I got into jujitsu, and that's that's how I know right now.
I mean, I listen to I listen to your podcast with him right when it came out. And I just remember first of all, I remember, like, wow, this monk's talking about, you know, like if you have any more knowledge whatsoever and you're gone rogue and it's going to be a lot about that.
So it was interesting that you had that background and that's how you knew Joe, but I just remember that that conversation stuck with me. Like when that was done three hours later, I was like I was really impacted by the conversation that you had with him. And it stayed with me.
And I've what was that like two years ago or something was a couple of years ago. One year ago. One year ago today, maybe like practically a year ago.
And I was like, I want I remember thinking, like, I need to meet this guy, you know, took a year later.
But but yeah, it was interesting you sharing about how devoted you were to your martial arts practice.
And I remember thinking, like, how does that gel with the monk consciousness? And that led me to think about my own relationship to yoga and how, you know, the difference between the way that the typical Western person interfaces with yoga versus the ancient tradition and purpose of yoga, which is to yoke mind and spirit. Right. It's like the the Oscars are preparation for, you know, getting you into a state of still mindedness so that you can connect with something greater than yourself.
It's not about how good you can, you know, do a handstand or, you know, a warrior pose.
It's a condiment of a much greater meal. And we've made it the meal.
You know, we've made the salt the meal, which is very awkward. If I said, hey, come on over, we're having some sea salt tonight.
And yet having a strong body is an important thing as well. And there's something empowering about that. Like, I don't I don't see that as being anathema to a spiritual practice. But I guess it's about calibrating that like, what is the balance?
In truth, it was a little bit of my.
Falling into a questioning of my faith and questioning to this nebulous idea of what an advanced spiritualist is, and I was I was at this point and stepping away from being a monk and like getting into the material world and trying to find my footing there.
And getting back into physical yoga practice, very, very strong physical yoga practice is doing the sting of yoga every day and starts saying, well, in martial arts, you know who the advanced master is.
The guy that kicks your butt is the advanced master. And you're not.
And you don't have it's nothing like it's nothing metaphysical.
It's like they're very they're you're tapping out. You're tapping out.
And this was sort of like at the beginning of jujitsu. I was also at the beginning.
But there was not a lot of jujitsu in America back then.
In 1999, you know, and you were studying at a high level with some you know, some of those top people.
These great guys. Yeah. Now they're guys. They're all legends. Jean-Jacques Machado and like Tenth Planet is that. Yeah, it was before 10th Planet started.
So when they opened Eddie Bravo, who's like, incredible there, you know, we watch them open and we started going there immediately and it was now it's huge.
Its international, but it's not that different than punk rock like that was the early days of that was a new way of finding a certain kind of expression. Right. That was new and different and kind of counterculture.
And I will say that when you added my background of yoga to that, it helped me fight without.
Rage that comes with fire, you can get that, you can lose your cool, you can lose your breath, you can lose your mind. And it helped me apply all those yogic principles to fighting. And of course, there is a time to fight. It's not a time to be a thug. It's a time to protect. And I think there's always whenever you have a society, you have a group of people that wants that. It's important to to to protect the vulnerable.
And there's always vulnerable in in culture. And so fighting is not a bad thing. It's just depends on how it's used. Being spiritual doesn't mean necessarily you don't fight.
Now, if you find that it's going to trigger a part of you, that is a very dark place you might consider. Maybe fighting's not for you. I've had people that have given up. You know, one of my mentors told me that they were a guitar player and he gave up guitar is like, why do you give up guitar? He's like he was like, for me, it was my nose.
What are we talking about at the back of a guy that you told me, the Bakowski, that you shouldn't give up what you're good at. He said, yeah, yeah. For me, it was.
I was like, that makes no sense, man. You're the one telling me I should not give up what I born to do.
He said, All right, next time you're on stage, see if you're doing it to be God or to serve God.
And I was like, oh, man, I'm trying to be God with all this stuff.
And so sometimes people recognize even something they're good at, they cannot do in spiritual consciousness.
And therefore they just they just choose to walk away from it. Or for most of us will say, you know what, I can do this, but it's going to be different now. And that's that statement he said to me, mentor of mine, that really changed my life.
It really made me perform on stage in a different way, relate to my loved ones in a different way, relate to friends in a different way that am I doing this to be the cool guy or to be like of service.
And that's a big part of, again, come right back, full circle to the recovery community, because the big thing of recovery, from what I understand, is of service.
Can I be of service? Can I be can I be a contributor of this world?
Right. And it actually satisfies the heart. What can I contribute?
Yeah, I mean, that's something that I, I wrestle with all the time, every podcast, or whether I get up on stage to give a talk, I get like I've done almost 600 of these. I get nervous every time because my ego is wrapped up in how am I going to come across, am I going to ask good questions? Is the guest going to like me? How is the audience going to respond to that? All that noise?
I walk up on stage to give a talk that I've given many times and I and I start sweating and I have to remind myself that that's that's just it's my ego. It's my ego that wants to be approved of, that wants the validation that wants to, you know, look cool or whatever it is. And it's only by when I catch myself and think like I just how can I just be of service here? Like, what is the greater good that can be achieved by me showing up in this role?
And all the nervousness dissipates. If you can flip that switch and it's not my default like and I don't always do it very well, I get caught up in my own bullshit constantly. But when I am able to do that, like then it always goes better.
Because you take yourself out of the equation, you're like, just allow me to be a channel for what is, you know, sort of the highest purpose here and it's your practice.
You know, I think both of us are blessed with great wives. And I asked my wife to come also because, you know, last year she came when I did Joe Rogan.
And, you know, I've been talking on stages since I was like 15 and 16. So I'm generally don't get nervous.
And I've played big concerts, too.
Don't get nervous and very comfortable in front of people. A lot of people aren't so confident like that. I am I was so nervous for Joe Rogan and it wasn't because it was a big podcast. Truthfully, I didn't even know that much about podcast back then at all. I just knew that his audience was very different.
There was not it's not like the yoga community where everybody's into yoga and Ayurveda and they're into, you know, and they want they want to see me do a handstand. It was like, you have right wing, you have left wing. You have you know, people believe in UFOs.
You have scientists. And I was like, I don't know anything. What am I gonna say? I'm going to say something. And I know John for years, and he is a sharp guy. And if you wanted to turn on me, he could easily turn on me. And just like and I was thinking and I and I told my wife, I was like, I am nervous.
Like I'm going to vomit.
And he she just looked at me. She said, well, what would Ranulph Swami do?
Write a song? He's one big lighthouse in my life.
And I said, well, he'd appreciate the person. Mm. Start the conversation with an appreciation.
And so even today, coming in here to like, you know, even my mind was like, OK, what should I do?
So how how do I prepare for things, you know, how to prepare it. He's going to talk about how do I prepare for this? And I was just like, you know, I'm going to prepare. I'm going to pull out my mouth and I'm going to chant and I'm going to go for a hike today in the mountains. And I'm not going to think about it whatsoever.
And then I'm going to appreciate how the ritual podcast is affected and we appreciate him and share how I appreciate them and say a prayer in my mind, which I did before the show, that everything I do is an offering. So please accept this often.
And that's how I and that way it is. And it protects you from trying to impress somebody.
Is that the world of impressing and being overly concerned about what people think about me? It's like it's exhausting, exhausting world.
And it's good to know we're both in the same.
Oh, trust me.
You know, I'm I'm my own worst enemy with all of this stuff. And I create ridiculous amounts of suffering and angst and anxiety.
You know, I'm far from a master at any of this, but I did notice that you did you did give Joe that that that appreciation.
And I thought it was an amazing conversation. The one thing that I thought was super interesting, though, was that Joe got really hung up on this idea that your relationship to the Bhagavad Gita is one of, you know, reality. Right. Like he really wanted to pin you down on, like, do you think all these like there's an elephant faced man, like. Right.
He wanted he was really and you you told this incredible story, which I would actually like you to tell again here, of being on tour, playing the show in Buffalo and having this experience. Right. And you tell us unbelievable story. He was impressed by that story as soon as it ended.
He just pivoted right back to this thing about like, do you actually think? And I was like, no reaction to this. You know, I was like, oh, come on, we didn't do this here. And I heard I couldn't believe that. I was like, I can. You're saying this three hours talking about this this story in and of itself is like a movie.
That story was a transformation in my life, actually, more than any saint or swami or, you know, pilgrimage I ever went to that getting beat up so bad was such a deep faith builder in my life.
I was shocked that he wasn't right.
So walk us walk us through, because people here probably haven't heard it or many of them haven't heard it.
Well, you know, it was we were all monks and we are on tour. This shelter. This is shelter. When we were on tour.
And, you know, we had, you know, by material standards, it was successful.
Again, we weren't we had our own record label in the ashram, by the way.
We started a record label in the ashram, which, you know, now, Steve Reddy. Right. Friend of yours.
I don't know. I got along with you, Steve, for Univision Records in Montreal.
He was friends with John Joseph. But I saw an obstacle.
If I know, maybe I maybe I'd met him. I'm not sure anyway, because he's old friend of ours. And so anyway, we were on tour.
We had a record label. Never mind. Yeah, I got. I know. Yeah, go ahead. Anyway, we were on tour and by material standards was a it was a great show. We were headlining the show. It was we like to do curtain.
Before the performance, like out side, we just set up and we cook and that's how we did, that's how we did Monk Life we cooked, we gave out food, sacred food. And then we just sang like outside like in the parking lot. And then the show was like a big warehouse in Buffalo, New York, turned out to be a ghetto, which we didn't really realize how dangerous a neighborhood was.
And after the performance, you know, I was getting interviewed outside and the van, our band's van had driven in the club and we were loading in the gear and I was getting interviewed and all of a sudden a car pulled up.
And our fans, you know, their ages were between like 15 years old and twenty six years old.
Maybe I was probably 26 or 27 maybe at the time.
And all of a sudden the huge guys got out of this car and they grabbed one young kid, 16 year old, and just beat the crap out of him. Like it was like and I was witnessing this while I was getting interviewed. And, you know, the show is over. People are leaving and there's violence. Sometimes it happens at the show.
So I didn't, like, get really worked up, but it was awkward for my peripheral vision. And then the gang moved to another person.
And beat that person up really bad. And then by the third person, everybody started running, scattering, so I was like, OK, this is what happens when you up late at night. Crazy stuff starts where they're like dudes that worked at the venue there also.
Or just you could just your band buddy was just it wasn't like a venue. So probably some kids, the DIY thing, they rented out a giant warehouse.
It's not like there's a security team. Right. So I ran inside. Our van is like all the windows and doors are open and our roadies are loading it in. The roadies are also monks.
And so I was like, you guys, there's some crazy guys out out there. We got to get let's get in the van. Let's get the hell out of here. And the roadies are looking at me like we can't go anywhere. It's like we're not even loaded in yet.
Like everything's out of the van, everything's open. And then something incredibly eerie happened, which is the bad guys. Their car drove into the club and parked like a T right in front of our van so we couldn't get out. And sort of sealing up the exit. And the only people left in the club was the bands who are shutting things down, the guy you you know, not many people left in the venue and this guy gets out of the car, the whole gang gets out of the car.
And this one guy who is massive, like just like a massive hulk of a man horse of a man, puts his hand his back pocket and grabs a gun and just says in a very commanding.
Yet just sober voice, he just says, I got a gun. And I'm going to kill everyone tonight. And it was like one of these moments in your life where, like, OK, tonight's the night we're going to die tonight. It wasn't like run for your life. Let's fight back. Let's it's like tonight we're going to die.
And I was sort of like the older one and I had, you know, all the other monks that were with me a little younger than me.
So everybody gathered around me like rock and roll.
What are we going to do? And to me, it was just like we're going to die. What do you mean, what are we going to do? We're going to die. So, you know, we're going to do we're going to chant.
I don't know where that came from. I'm not a spiritually evolved being. If you get to hang out with me long enough, you'll realize that.
But there's nothing else to do. Was this before or during your may?
Before much before this was maybe this motivated you eating lots of Indian sweets? Yeah.
There was no way I could have made my way out of this one, though. It was one of those things. Massive man with a gang of other massive people with weapons that wasn't going to get out of this one.
So I just thought we're going to die right now.
It was it was one of those we ever had. One of those experiences we're you going to die that I felt like we're going to die right now.
So I went in and I got a clay Indian drum, which I play. And I started chanting these mantras, these National Day of mantras, these prayers to Lord Vishnu as the protector. And we all gathered a circle. It was incredibly surreal.
Rich, we're in a circle chanting these mantras while these guys are going around the club just demolishing people. I don't know what people say, well, why don't you run? I don't know. I don't know what the what was going on, but we started chanting and then they all started coming towards us and all my guys ran. Some guys ran under the van in the van, over the van. It was just like everybody scattered.
And I was surrounded by these people. Holding the drum, and I didn't even know what to say, so I just put my hands like an enormous stay still holding this drum, and I said, Oh, the guy pulled out a gun.
And he said. He wants some. I thought to myself, oh, my God, how am I supposed to answer this? Do I want some? I said, Harry Krishna. I'm a Christian, a monk. I have no idea why you guys are so angry. And then I felt a barrage of fists coming to my face, and I've never, ever felt helpless in my life, but at that time I felt like incredibly helpless.
And as I'm getting punched.
I was just chanting. Chanting like different names of God, Krishna, Raam, Govind, Chaitanya, like this, just like running through my mind.
And as I'm getting pounded, I'm starting to think of all these great stories I've studied the Mahabharat, the Rahmi on the back about Parana Schumi, bag of Autom, their stories of sort of people in destitute positions in their life and how they leave their bodies.
And they generally the auspicious way, the wonderful way to leave their body is they focus their mind.
On the supreme being, on God, on your higher power, they've had their focus and they're just chanting these mantras and I'm thinking about these great personalities in these great epics of India thinking, wow, all these people died like this and now I'm going to die.
And I'm also dying in the same way they are dying.
I am so fortunate. And I can honestly say there was not fear and there was not anger. There was just a type of like great appreciation for the way I'm going to leave my body and it got worse because as I started getting beat up, I saw these women coming at me with baseball bats and I thought they were coming to save me.
But they were the girlfriends of these guys.
Right. And they started pounding me with baseball bats. But the same thing, too.
I was like chanting and chanting and chanting and it just all stopped. And I didn't know what happened and I was covered in blood.
And what what actually happened was the rest of the band had jumped in our van and just started the van and plowed through their car and escaped, and when they did a head count, they didn't realize I wasn't in the van with them. So I didn't know what was happening. And I guess I was experiencing some type of, you know, altered state, altered state.
So I, I just I was looking for the band, basically, and I was out in the streets looking through the attackers dispersed.
They they went to I guess they dispersed and I went into the streets and I was trying to flag down cars because I thought my band was getting beat up or killed or something.
And every time a car would see me, they'd slow down and they'd look at me. And I was ever see that movie carry when you were a teenager, like covered in blood.
And I'm still holding this clay drum covered in blood.
I'm thinking like a yogi, John Wick, you know, it was it must have been so creepy to see me. And I wouldn't have stopped for me either if I was driving through a ghetto. But everyone just kept on stopping.
And I was like, oh, my God, my whole band is about to get killed. And I saw some light on in the house and two in the morning somewhere in Buffalo. And I saw some man in a booth, like in a bus station. And I said, hey, you've got to call the police. My friends are in trouble. And the guy looked at me and just said. I'm busy. And I was so, like, shocked about how little this guy cared about human tragedy, and I said.
You got to call the police or I'm going to go in there and call the police now, get away from your phone or give me the phone. And I think this was before cell phones maybe or maybe I'm not sure. I didn't have a cell phone.
So anyway, he said, all right, I'll call the police. I said, if you don't mind, I'm just going to stay here because these guys might come back and kill me.
And so I realized at that point, like, oh, my God, my head's probably split open and this is how people die.
Their head cracks open, the brain swells and they fall asleep and die.
And I was like, oh, crap, I wasn't expecting to die tonight. I have a whole tour planned. I have like I have so many plans and I'm going to die tonight. This wasn't the day.
But I guess this is what I always teach. This is what the books always teach. This is what the wisdom literature teaches, that you don't expect death to happen tonight. It happens what appears to be randomly.
And for some reason, Raghu, I'm talking to myself for some reason, Raghu, you got blessed tonight to experience what it's like to die in a wonderful way, but now you're in sad shape.
Because you've lived and if you've got this head trauma, I don't know much, I'm not a doctor or anything, but what I understand is your brain swells, you fall asleep, and then you die like you get a concussion and you die.
So I was like, oh, my God, my mom doesn't know where I am here. My friends don't know where I am. I'm going to die in this disgusting, you know, mechanic's shop or bus terminal or wherever I am.
And I started praying sincerely. I said. Krishna, God, you've been so kind to me. You gave me this glimpse into what it's like to be evolved, even though I'm not evolved. And now I'm going to just die with a concussion, please, if you want to take me, take me now.
And I started chanting these beautiful prayers I had memorized, which we do sometimes. We're on tour. We there's all these beautiful Sanskrit stoate the rooms are studies or like beautiful Sanskrit prayers glorifying Vishnu or Krishna.
And so I had a bunch memorized that I would just do for fun. And I just started pictured a picture of Krishna in my mind and chanting these mantras. And then I lived and I was it was a good time to die, but I lived.
And when you reflect back on that experience now, like what is. You know what is what is not necessarily the lesson, but like where is the wisdom, right?
Like the ability to maintain your equanimity under such, you know, life threatening duress and to have this relationship with death that is, you know, either neutral or appreciative is unbelievable to me.
Like. And that your return to your human frailty only occurs in the aftermath of the most intense aspect of that experience.
The the very strong realization, which was not that. I'm some great yoga master. There's there are yoga paths that.
Require you to master your senses, required a mass for you to master your tongue, your belly, your genitals, your mind that require you to move your prana certain ways through different, almost like technical things with your body to experience some type of high or spiritual oneness boxes not like that body is. You're connected through your almost like a child.
The child can either go out, get a job, make a living and or make some money so they can make themselves some dinner, mom or the child can just cry. The body path is sort of like it's a path of sort of crying and it's a path of crying in love, and then what happens is there becomes like a bond where your higher power, they become your best friend and you become their best friend.
And they're always in the same way you're thinking about that them your higher power, your powers, thinking about you like and is eager and is eager and happy to serve.
And even if that service might mean like the miracle isn't that I live, the miracle was that in my time of great distress, not due to some great yogic power of raising my kundalini, that I was protected.
It was the fact that on or higher power, my source entered into my mind at the most tragic time. That was the magic of that. Nothing of the material world is a safe place. And if you think you're safe with an illusion, there's danger at every moment in the material world and safety.
It's almost understandable that the world is suffering with anxiety because it's normal. It's a temporary world and we're eternal beings. Of course, there's anxiety there, but the fact that.
We can feel connected in times of great distress that shows that there's actually a benevolent, merciful, loving energy or force that's got your best interest in mind, just like I was I was a parent in New York City for a while when my children were little.
And, you know, you're playing with your kids at the park and, you know, you always got your one eye on the kids. They're playing. You're talking to another mom or something. But you always have one eye watching the kids because you're you're a benevolent force and you're not going to let anybody. Someone's talking to my kid. I'm going, hey, what's up? Yeah.
So in the same way, you're always being the theory and bhakti is that you're always looked after, you're always loved, you're always cared for wherever you're at.
And so that was my that was my big.
And if you're true, but if you're truly embodying that, then there should be no fear.
Exactly. And that that it's that in Sanskrit that's called a boya.
A boya means fearlessness doesn't come from like, yeah, I'm just going to do it, I'm going to jump off the cliff and dive into the quarry or jump out of the airplane. That's not know for fear necessarily. That means you're a little courageous, you're risking your life.
But there is actually a tangible yogic echelon that you get to.
We're actually, you understand, you can't die. And that's something it's something real, it becomes when you when you fully understand that I'm not a body, the body will die.
But I can't die, it's one of those like. You know, Socrates said, you can catch me, but you can't find me. But isn't it also like on some level there's a bit of surrender in that as well and baked into that surrender is this relationship with fate. Right?
Like, isn't part of Bhakti understanding that there are aspects of your life that are kind of pre written and within that there's free will.
But there is a story for you and that story has already been told is that is that you're mischaracterizing that a little bit.
There is definitely some. There definitely is some. Like if you look shamanic, astrology know, like there's crazy stuff. And but implicit in that is this idea that there is an architecture for you already.
Sure. There is some there is some type of karmic journey we're on.
I just flew out to California, you know, but what I do on that plane, that's my free will. Mm hmm.
So we do have some karma that we have to live out to the degree that we have these yogic principles in our life, which are in one sense, he's so relatable to 12 steps, just like a person who is newly recovered, the noose is very tight around their neck.
And so say, hey, come on, I'm coming to a bar, let's just hang out. You don't have to drink. They still might be like, no, no, no, no, I don't go to bars because the noose is still tight.
20 years, 30 years a recovery. A person feels like I can go anywhere. I feel very safe. You know, I have some healthy fear, but I'm pretty safe. I don't deal with people, places or things that could trigger me, but I feel a little safer.
So as we become this this whole yoga culture that people are getting into nowadays with either Vayda and with meditation and with Pranayama and with yoga lifestyle, it's to bring our consciousness to Satava, they call it, and Satava means of regulation, a control where you're not dominated anymore by these lower passions.
From there, you can make a better choice. Some of us are born triggered by lower passions, so are triggered in this.
Yogis call it Rodgerson Thomas were triggered by the we're born into them.
Our parents were like that.
We are born with these very lower qualities. So a yoga culture helps you change that culture. And in that culture, you're allowed more free will, just like a drug that has no free will.
They've they've relinquished their free will.
And now you could offer them something like heroin or cocaine and they'd be like, yeah, give it to me. Are you sure? Because last time I gave it to you, you lost your family. Yeah. Give it to me.
Just give it to me. It takes away their intelligence so there is some destiny, karmic destiny we have. But we can also transcend that because spirituality is higher than that material destiny as well.
And that's part of what we have. And then the beautiful thing is you'll start to see your karma, not as this good luck and bad luck and good fortune and bad fortune. And sometimes you'll see that a lot in the India culture, too. You find your chart and you find where your malefic planets are. And then you try to counteract your malefic planets with gems or with pujas.
And if you if you know about dating culture, you do some ritual to overcome some Olympique thing, which is going to hurt your finances or hurt your ability to have a child or hurt your romance in your life.
But in body, oftentimes there's a throwing up your hands in the air if you want me to be poor, very poor.
If you want to be successful, I'll be successful whatever you like.
And we're not going to play metaphysical Amazon Prime with God or the High or the Darvas or the higher beings that we just accept like. There's a higher plan for me, right, the prayer isn't to have your will be done, but to serve God and whatever, whatever God's will is for me, allow that to take place, allow that to flourish in me. Let me be a vessel or an expression of whatever that is. And that demands a certain humility and it demands a level of acceptance and surrender to live in that place.
I mean, I accept you whether you accept that label as I accept this guy's on a body path. When I see you or hear about you or hear you talk, I say this guy's on a body path.
And I'm sure you could see times in your life that might have appeared tragic on paper to be like, thank God that happens every time, right?
Yeah. And that's been the greatest teacher outside of any kind of doctrine to just track my own experiences in life trajectory and understand that those things that happened that were so awful in the moment were happening for me, not to me. They've been my greatest teachers and the greatest accelerants of personal growth in my life. And that's why when I see somebody.
Suffering or meeting there, my wife calls it their divine moment, you don't want to rob somebody of that experience, our instinct is to try to save them or pull them out of that. And that may not be the correct approach for that person. And that person is undergoing something that could be. Ultimately, the best thing that ever happens to them, but there is a spiritual law at play, which is when you are, you know, in a karmic context, when you're living your life in a manner that isn't, you know, on that path, that isn't on the path of of, you know, spiritual growth, the universe will knock on your door and it will knock gently and then it'll knock a little bit louder and it'll keep knocking.
And the consequences of your actions will continue to slowly at first and then very, extremely ratchet up until you finally pay attention. And that culminates in your bottom or your, you know, hitting that, you know, driving your car metaphorically into the wall so that God, the universe, Krishna, or whatever you want to call it, has your full attention. Now you can hear now you are ready. The teacher has shown up and the student is ready.
They can hear the message and they are prepared to actually do the work in order to shift. And that's how I've seen karma. Or maybe there's another term for it in Boki that's more appropriate play out in my own life and it continues to happen. But the more attuned you are, you can read those signals. When the universe is knocking gently, you can hear it. You don't have to wait until the cataclysm.
Yeah, you're already tuned into it. OK, this is where we're going with this. And I can look back at my own life, think, oh, man, thank God for that.
Thank God for that failed relationship. Thank God for that economic downswing. Thank God when the sinkhole appeared in my life where the black ice of my life was spinning out of control.
And then you start to realize, man, I've been cared for my entire life. Yeah.
I've never been neglected. I've always been looked after. It just didn't appear that way at that time.
As you look back at your life, you start to see all these messengers were also sent to me at different times in my life. And you realize how like your life wasn't just some random karma.
Your karma that you were born into actually has a divine play as well.
And the material sense and even the metaphysical spiritual, all your calm and overcoming some malefic planet.
Don't you see those malefic planets are there for you as well. And that's another very interesting facet of astrology.
Yeah, I've never done that. I've never like tried to work the planet thing.
That's a thing. You know, it's a big thing. You go down a crazy rabbit hole without I know you you talk to Rogen about some of the crazy Vedic chart readings, this crazy, crazy chart reading that are so incredibly accurate.
You can't I mean, I didn't talk to him about palm reading.
We had, like, palm readers that were just like, oh, yeah, fascinating.
And they predicted I remember me in Parliament on the Purcell or my guitar player. We were like monks in India, met some palm reader. Just looks at our palm, just goes, you know, I'm a New Yorker, so I'm a cynical, cynical, but I love all this stuff as well. Did I tell this? I don't think I told thing.
So it looks at my palm, he said. He says 100 rupees, less than 100 rupees a dollar fifty or something. A hundred rupees. I'll read your palm. I said, OK, I'll give you a hundred rupees. But you got to tell me something about myself first and then I know you're for real.
So he looks at my palm and he said, Well, you'll get married someday and you'll have so many children. I said, No, no, no, no. Don't tell me about my future. You tell me about my past.
If you can tell me about my past, I'll give you one hundred rupees. And he looks at my hands sort of like indignant and says, You're a famous musician. I was like, pretty good, wow, because he didn't know me from Adam, I'm just like a monk in the middle of West Bengal and then he and Parmenides said she'll read my hand, too.
And so I said, you two are a famous musician.
And then for the next 30 minutes, this guy dissected my entire past, present and future.
And it was like so uncanny what this man knew about me and finally ended with this.
He said, Oh. But you're going to get into a tragic car accident now, Mr.. What do you mean you can't just walk away? Tragic car. I said, how can I avoid it?
He goes, You cannot avoid it is in your hands. You cannot avoid this. I was like, well, there must be something I can do to avoid this. He goes, Do not worry, no one will die.
And I was thinking, oh, great, there's a lot of horrible things that can happen where death isn't included.
And so my friend immediately said, well, can you check my hand? Because, yes, you two will be in a car accident. And so I'm just thinking, oh, my God, this is so this guy leaves. And fast forward three years later and shelter had I was no longer a monk and shelter had a hit record in Brazil. And we're touring Brazil and the record company put a party on for us.
And the party, you know, they record companies try to make a theme party. So they make a theme EastWest Yoga Party.
And they invited MTV and all this press and journalists and they invited a famous palm reader from the Amazon who's like a celebrity, yogini from Brazil.
So I was like, oh, cool Palm readers here. And I was like, I got to read my palm. And so she read my palms.
Oh, very good. This is going to be a very good tour for you.
You're going to travel all over South America is your first time here. You will come here many times. And I was like, oh, very cool.
And then her face soured and she said, Oh. You will get in a very tragic car accident, and I was like, oh my God. And she's like, don't worry, no one will die. I was like, I know no one will die. I was like, you got to check out my friend.
So I grab part of Ananda's. And he looked at parliament on this. Yes, him too.
He will get in a car accident also. And I was just like, oh my God, when is this?
Because they're like the classic car accident line on the stairs at my car and the palm reader.
But you haven't had this accident yet. Hold the phone. Then I said, well, maybe the band will get in a car accident.
Can you check our drummer and our guitar players hand?
So he check the drummer and he checked the guitar, the other guitar player. He said, no, these two are fine.
And I was like, man, what's going to fast forward a year? The drummer and the guitar player left the band. We got a new drummer and a new guitar player with two new sets of palms on that tour.
Right after we had this incredible vegan meal at someone's house. After the show, we drove through the night through the Rocky Mountains. On the way to Salt Lake City. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and we rolled 150 feet down a cliff. Oh. Oh my God, 150, I kid you not.
And it was but some people say, well, you created it with your mom.
No, the driver didn't know. We didn't tell anybody what it was. We went down 150 feet. No one died. The roadie who was 19 at the time. The doctors said they never seen anyone survive this, the walk away from it, because he got the same break Christopher Reeve's got and he recovered.
Matter of fact, the coolest thing that happened was I woke up my harmonium, which is this pump piano that you used for chanting. I brought one in the car with me, smashed me in the head and knocked me unconscious. So when I woke up, everything was destroyed. We had one of those high top extended vans with a fiberglass roofs that was ripped off. The van was at the bottom of a cliff, half in a river.
And everything was just a mess. And everybody was screaming and saying, I can't feel my legs.
Am I going to be OK, Raghunath? Am I going to be OK?
And out of all the mess and all the garbage in the van, his head is resting in a Bhagavad Gita like the back of the gate is open.
His head is like a pillow in the back of a I was like splitting the book open in the book open.
And I was like, you know, I don't know what's going on, but you are resting in the Bhagavad Gita, Will. I think you're going to be fine.
What page I on the page.
But truthfully, three or four of us literally walked away. They climbed up the mountain, flagged down a trucker and got help. They walked. They were unscathed.
And three of us, me and Parminder, were treated and released that night and Will had to recover. Her body had to recover. But he recovered is all right. That's a crazy story. It's crazy story.
Palm reading, astrology, Brigg readings.
These are all sort of mystical things right now, necessarily spiritual things, but sort of mystical things that I found that they're sort of real.
And then there's more it's more fun to you know, it's fun.
It's, you know, what do you make of, you know, on the on the mystical to the Saudis?
Is this the Saudis who are, you know, in the caves who, you know, are like breath Aryan's and don't eat or haven't eaten for?
You know, there are these stories I don't know whether they're true or apocryphal of these mystics. Right. Who kind of transcend the mortal coil through deep states of meditation.
I think it's all real. Yeah. You ever encountered I've met people who've I mean, there's a very famous documented guy.
I can't remember his name in India who's been on air documented by Western science, just people who've, you know, Iyengar, his guru, Krishna. Krishna.
No, Macharia was documented by you know, a lot of this stuff is readable in old British newspapers.
The guy that was buried I've met Mystic's who could read minds, who could just see you and tell you about your life and all my students like shocking, shocking stuff they would tell you and and.
Yeah, I've met Mystic's Who? Yeah, reading minds is a big one, and it's it's super shocking, the stuff that can come up with.
Where do you think I'll share? I'll share it.
What is that? Yeah, right. It's too crazy. It's it's too crazy.
It's too personal with people that I know cause but it's stuff this and there's some mystics who can see sometimes we see I don't get too much into this because I will go on a tangent. But there are some mystics who can see spirits.
Who are haunting a person that you can't see. It just manifests in you as I'm depressed or I'm filled with anxiety or I'm filled with anger or rage or depression or sometimes even a sickness.
And we'll say, well, you know, it's just a chemical imbalance. That's why it manifests as a chemical imbalance. But they'll see it as a subtle being, right?
You have an infestation of dark beings. You have etting. You're exactly right.
And sometimes they stay and sometimes they're related to you and they haunt you.
So this idea of a haunting, it means a unibody being entering into your body like, you know, we say growing up with a ghost, but it goes to real their embodied beings.
By the way, this is the Vedic teachings. I'm a yoga teacher. I don't know if any even true.
If you don't believe that, just consider for a moment that we're all on on some level haunted by, you know, the people that we've encountered in our lives. Just think about how often you think of that person who holds power over you that, you know, just neurochemically like somebody, a teacher or a parent or somebody who wronged you. And you replay and replay and replay this tape and that dictates your actions and your worldview and is so determinative of how you live your life.
That's an infestation, that whether you can actually see that some very entity, you know what I'm going to steal that is real and it lives inside of you know, I think we all have some version of that.
I'm going to steal that. And in the same way, they have these epigenetics where you could pass these things on bloodlines. Right.
The yogi said, you know, science comes to terms with things like the yogis have been talking about forever.
And yeah. So the idea of malefic beings. It's real, right? It's goes back to that Netflix documentary, there's like the channelers, right, but but in Bhakta, we don't mess with it so much.
We don't mess with it. We don't mess with these, like exorcisms and stuff like that.
Unless you feel like nobody, exorcist, nobody. We just feel we just throw our hands in the air. Huh. There are like but, you know, rottenest when he talks about that in his book, A Journey Home, there was like these malefic malefic got you know, they got to be careful.
Like what you're who you're dealing with because you're dealing in India.
There's so much access into these other worldly things that we just either take it and it's all crazy, fictitious stuff. I've been with people that can read into my mind and it's real. Right? And then there's other cities. That's one city. The city is are mystical perfections. And this is why people did yoga in previous times. They did it to either develop some type of city, some mystical city.
Sedigh Yeah, I'm sorry I d they're Sanskrit word.
So there's no real special powers, some type of type of powers. But we consider like Bhakti Sidhom to the conclusion of all cities is bhakti right.
Because we don't want to be some superhero, so to speak. We want to be connected and we consider that the highest thing and the highest thing.
They say the body master will have our cities anyway because they can have whatever they want because they because of that same loving reciprocation with God.
And it's no big deal. It's no big deal that Christ was relationship to it is like, yeah, of course, you whatever. Right.
Like Christ, the mystical things that we hear about Christ doing.
These were all like common things in yoga culture, not to downplay Christ at all. I'm saying Christ was. That's all you got. Christ, that's come on walking on water. Give me something. Right.
But you'll hear about this stuff in the Vedic tradition about walking on water, levitation, healing people, making things manifest out of nothing. You know, these are cities that people can get.
But Christ, beauty was not the mysticism. It was the fact that he was teaching people that you've got to trust your source, you got to connect. This world is a temporary place. Don't make all your investments. There's very little return on investment in the material world.
The bigger return on investment is there in our spiritual life.
Well, speaking of teaching, we got to win this down a little bit here. But I do want to talk about what you do at your farm, the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl farm.
Right. Who do you do yoga teaching and pretty like rigorous programs that you can. Right. So what does that look like? If somebody was to show up and they're like, tell me everything, you know, teach me like, what is the you know, what is the the program?
Well, we sort of put a pause on the farm right now due to the pandemic.
But starting up, we're doing our trainings.
I do a pilgrimage in India, which is a great way to dive into Vedic culture. And I teach every day not just a physical practice. We teach philosophy and we go to holy places, holy people, holy temples.
Holy River is the whole thing if you've ever wanted to, a beautiful experience, not as to order some of the places that you've gone all over, but I think the next trip we're doing in November is Jagannath Pury.
It's one of the holy domes of the East Coast of India. Rishikesh is the land of yogis on the riverbanks of the Ganga Haridwar. It is also the consider the entrance way into the sacred area of the Himalayas and then burned.
And that's where this trip is going in November. You can find that on my website, Raghunath thought yoga and then Nepal.
In April, we're going to the holy city, holy places in Nepal. And then I do a training in India for about a month and we do it. It's for people who are already yoga teachers. We teach the facets of body culture.
We got like a part of Ayurveda as well as Ossana Pranayam we teach Ayurveda, we teach music, we teach cooking.
That's for our three hundred our trainees.
But we also have a handle on. Huh. You can't do this without teaching. Cooking you can't do without teaching.
Yes, it's cooking with love. And then we also have a full on music academy that we do. People want to study your tongue and then we have a wisdom academy that people just want to study sacred literature. So that happens in January in twenty, twenty two next time.
And then meanwhile you podcast every single day and we podcast doing like two or three days a week.
It's killing me. It's exhausting how you do it every day, even when you're traveling and everything, like how does that work? You know what?
This is the biggest break I took took off Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I've never taken a break this this long.
Usually I do it when we travel, but because of the time zone and because I'm on sort of a rigorous program this weekend. They just haven't had it wasn't going to work out. Yeah, and I wanted to give some quality time to my son and my wife, who were with me as well. But, yeah, we try to do it.
And truthfully, the podcast, even though it may sound corny, but I really do it for myself.
I like to read every day and it helps.
It helps me. Everything is a practice. It's a practice in hearing sacred literature, wisdom, literature, truthful dialogue.
It helps me in my life. And the secondary is a fact and it helps other people who are also getting into into that. So today I will also spend some time doing that meditational practice. I just do it privately.
Yeah. Cool. Yeah.
So last thing I want to ask you, which is if somebody listening to this and this is their first introduction into some of these ideas, what is the first thing that you like, some little nugget of wisdom that you can impart to somebody who's not familiar with yoga or the body path, who's just starting to, you know, tap on the the walls of the Maya surrounding surrounding their own life? Like, where do you begin? Where do we begin?
You know, you read a good book, Berkovic. It is a great book. Sometimes people find it a little heady at first.
I mean, it's. Yeah. Is that the I mean, it's I like writing these stories like right now Swami's book because it's like a modern day autobiography of a yogi.
It's his personal journey of hitchhiking to India, which is quite amazing, hitchhiking to India from from Europe and getting there and living with sadhus in the Himalayas.
And even though it's a great story, it's it's peppered with philosophy of practical philosophy, not just philosophy to sit in your head, but philosophy to sit in your heart and in your practice. So I find that is a good enterable journey.
A Journey Home autobiography of the autobiography of a I'm Forgetting the title now, Autobiography of a Yogi American.
Oh yeah. I think it is American. I have a mental block right now.
But but but by Rod Hahndorf Swami. My name is Raghunath. His name's Rod Hardner. Right hand us. It's all very confusing. It's all a Sanskrit word and then it becomes easier.
Then you start remembering these ones easier because you start to learn the sands.
Where did you get that crazy mule around your neck. These my friend ever seen my friend in Maya Moore makes these silvertail seamless.
They are Tulsi Wood, which comes from the Holy Basil. It's considered a sacred plant and my friend makes them and he lives in India and he makes them. It's pretty cool. They're beautiful. You some.
Well, good man. I think we I think we did it. How do you feel? I feel good. You feel good.
Thank you so much for having me super honored. And I'm really I have great respect for what you're doing and I will continue to be a regular listener.
Well, likewise, my friend. I aspire to your level of devotion. That's really it's a beautiful thing. And you're an example of the solution to what ails us as individuals and as a culture right now that's struggling with how to cohere and live in unity together. And I think that the message that you're putting out is, is exactly what everybody needs to hear right now. So keep doing what you're doing.
I think you have a tendency to see the good in people. Thank you very much for your kind. Always I try to keep up the great work. Cool.
So if you want to learn more about Raghunath Raghunath taught yoga is your website.
I not that yoga or Raghunath Yoga at Instagram and Wisdom of the Sages of the Sages is our podcast.
You listen to it anywhere, you get podcast and you can binge listen.
And we're on every day. And when's this book coming out? You know, the same people who did Ratna Swami's book is doing a book about mice mice. I don't want to put out my story, but they were like, now you should put out your story first. Yeah. And so we're doing a book on the Six Pillars of Bhakti, which we're just talking about. But it's in the works right now. I'm working on a memoir also.
You got to do it. You have to I mean, you got so many crazy stories. I got a bunch of crazy stories. The more I'm writing the most like, well, this is pretty crazy, right? Right.
Well, get that done, because I know you were talking about it on Rogen, and that was a year ago. That was a year. Let's get this book done. Well, I put on the brakes and then the publisher told me, no, they want we want your story and said, all right, well, when that's done, come back here.
OK, sure about that. Thanks. Cool. All right. Peace man.
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