Q: How did your musical journey start?
A: I got my first drum when I was seven. It was a gift from my parents–a mridanga, a traditional two-headed Indian drum. I played a mridanga every day until I was 17.
Q: Was that during your spiritual education at the Hare Krishna school?
A: Yes, my father was running Miami’s Hare Krishna temple, so I grew up in the community. When I was 10, I asked my parents to send me to a gurukula (ashram school) in Vrindavan, India, and I stayed there for four years, from 1982 to 1986. That’s where I met Sri Prahlada (www.sriprahlada.com) and GauraVani (www.gauravani.com). I left the school when I was 14, and a year later, I took my vows and worked as a full-time priest at the Miami temple.
Q: Sounds like a lot of discipline for a natural musician.
A: Yes, I received good training in sadhana (spiritual discipline). In the 10 years I lived in ashrams, I rarely missed morning prayers and meditation sessions. It was fun, and I feel like I deposited lots of money into my spiritual bank account (laughs). I was fully absorbed in my spiritual practice. I didn’t even see my first movie until I was 17.
Q: Wow! What was it?
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