Krishna Das (born Jeffrey Kagel May 31, 1947 in Long Island, New York, not to be confused with Krishna Prema Das) is a singer who performs Indian chants called kirtans.
Krishna Das travelled to India in the 1960s where, along with Ram Dass, he studied with a Hindu guru named Neem Karoli Baba. Krishna Das has studied Buddhist meditation practices and is now devoted to singing and teaching. He has released several CDs, and he travels around the world giving performances and teaching, sometimes with Ram Dass.
Krishna Das is perhaps the best known American singer of Indian kirtan-style devotional music. Similar artists include Bhagavan Das, Jai Uttal, Wah, Deva Premal, and Snatam Kaur Khalsa.
The chanting of Krishna Das consists of:
- chanting with musical accompaniment;
- meditation instruction;
- readings from different spiritual traditions;
- teachings and discussions about the spiritual path.
In the winter of 1968, Krishna Das met Ram Dass, who had recently returned from his first trip to India. After living and travelling with Ram Dass in the U.S., and hearing Ram Dass' many stories about Maharaj-ji, Krishna Das travelled to India, where he met and stayed with the guru.
While living in India for almost three years, Krishna Das was drawn to the practice of Bhakti Yoga and the practice of kirtan—chanting the Names of God. As an appointed pujari (priest) for the Durga temple in Maharaj-ji's ashram in the foothills of the Himalayas, Krishna Das immersed himself in the worship of the Divine Goddess.
Krishna Das spent as much time as possible with Maharaj-ji over the years in India. However, in early in 1973, he was asked by Maharaj-ji to return to America.