Recently, a devotee asked me an opinion on the song by Sankarshan das, called “Existential blues”. I consider it weird, and I don’t think genuine followers of Prabhupada should make such music.
Prabhupada’s letter to Sankarshan regarding playing Guitar
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
CAMP: “Hare Krishna Land,” Gandhigram Road, Juhu, Bombay-54, India
December 18, 1972
My dear Sankarsana,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 10, 1972, and due to my wandering here and there for preaching work in India I have not yet had opportunity to reply you til now. Your question is whether you can utilize your inclination to play the guitar and write songs about Krishna in devotional manner of activity. Several times I have replied this question, I do not know why you are not learning these things. There should be arrangement for distribution of such information to all the devotees if there is some important question, not that I shall have to continue answering over and over the same thing.
But as you have requested, I am your spiritual master, I must reply you to your satisfaction. So this playing guitar and writing of songs is not very important thing. You can write and play, but one cannot take it very seriously. If any Vaisnava is writing song about Krishna, he should have realized himself what is Krishna, just like our great saints and acaryas like Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya, Rupa Goswami, six Gosvamis, Bilvamangala, Bhaktivinode Thakur, like that. They are self-realized souls, therefore if they write something song about Krishna that will be perfectly from the transcendental platform, without any tinge of mundane influence or nonsense imagination. Unless he comes in the category of these big Vaisnava personalities, his manufacturing some songs will be misleading to himself and to others. And unless his writing of songs can be accepted as gospel, like Vedas, then such writing is simply disturbance and is diverting the attention from the subject matter only. That songs writing we cannot regard very seriously. That will spoil the whole thing. But you can utilize your propensity to write poems and articles for BTG, for singing in the kirtana, like that. That will make you very happy. Now you just apply yourself for becoming qualified to see Krishna face-to-face, then you will be able to actually write songs about Krishna. Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Sankarsana das Brahmachary
Original location is here
Here’s what they wrote in their newsletter broadcast on 22 February 2017: Hello friends! This week’s Featured Artist is Sankarshan Das.
Sankarshan Das is a very talented songwriter with some amazing stories to tell. Let’s get right to the interview questions.
Austin Songwriters Group: What is the most important songwriting tip that you learned to improve your songwriting?
Sankarshan Das: Write from your heart not your head.
Austin Songwriters Group: Who is your biggest songwriting influence/mentor?
Sankarshan Das: Bob Dylan
Austin Songwriters Group: Who is your favorite songwriter/performer?
Sankarshan Das: Pete Seeger
Austin Songwriters Group: How old were you when you wrote your first song?
Sankarshan Das: 21
Austin Songwriters Group: How did you get into songwriting?
Sankarshan Das: I hitchiked from Texas to San Francisco/Haight Ashbury to bring a love and peace revolution to this planet and wrote 300 songs in one year for that purpose.
Austin Songwriters Group: Tell us your favorite songwriting story (i.e. pitch to publisher, live show, strangest inspiration etc.)
Sankarshan Das: I was doing a set between the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead in Golden Gate Park in 1969. The crowd roared with approval and the emcee predicted that I would become big name in the music world. (I’ve been on multi-decades self-discovery sabbatical and now I’m coming back to the music scene.)
Austin Songwriters Group: How often do you write?
Sankarshan Das: I write every day.
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get over it?
Sankarshan Das: No
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you have a writing formula (i.e. lyrics first then melody or vice versa) or does every song you write come along differently?
Sankarshan Das: Every song is unique.
Austin Songwriters Group: Which song of yours is your favorite? Why?
Sankarshan Das: “Global Respiritualization” because its the one I’m working on now.
Austin Songwriters Group: Which song of yours was the hardest to write? Why?
Sankarshan Das: “Talkin’ Keep Austin Weird” because it has so many verses.
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you co-write often? With who?
Sankarshan Das: No
Austin Songwriters Group: What instruments (if any) do you use when you write?
Sankarshan Das: Guitar
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you have any recordings available for sale/download?
Sankarshan Das: Yes
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you have any new songs that you are currently working on?
Sankarshan Das: Yes
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you perform in public?
Sankarshan Das: yes.
Austin Songwriters Group: If so do you have any live shows coming up?
Sankarshan Das: Only at Mondays with the Austin Songwriter’s Group. I’m working on getting a gig at SXSW (South-by-Southwest).
Austin Songwriters Group: Do you have any tips on what to do if you make a mistake when performing live?
Sankarshan Das: Chuckle and carry on. (To err is human; to forgive is divine.)
Austin Songwriters Group: How would you describe the songs you write?
Sankarshan Das: Meant for turning the world right-side up, for ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity for the entire human society.
Austin Songwriters Group: If you were given the opportunity to have any artist (dead or alive) record one of your songs, who would that be and which song?
Sankarshan Das: Bob Dylan singing Global Respiritualization
Austin Songwriters Group: Where can people find your music? Facebook page? Web page? Distributor (CD Baby, Amazon, Itunes etc.)
Sankarshan Das: www.turnontheworld.com
type “The Peace Formula” on Itunes.
I have attracted thousands of listeners and hundreds of fans on www.jango.com
Austin Songwriters Group: What’s the next step in your songwriting career?
Sankarshan Das: Become the most popular singer/songwriter in the world
Austin Songwriters Group: Is there anything else you would like to share with everyone when your featured article comes out?
Sankarshan Das: Take advantage of the rare opportunity we have in the human life to achieve unlimited greatness.
Comment on interview
Genuine follower of Prabhupada, who is guru, should not have a goal to become most popular singer, I don’t think that will work. It’s better to take one soul back to Godhead than to become Lady Gaga.
Same song on youtube
Watch the same song performed live
Order and listen here
This article originally appeared on Lasting Impression website