Kirtan Wallah Krishna Das announced today that he will take a lengthy pause from touring in 2016 to rest and “chill.”
“This body has got to stop,” KD said in a video message published on his YouTube channel May 16, noting that he has been touring the world for 20 years nonstop, since he was 47. (See the video below.)
“Starting in 2016, I have to find a way to take some time off — maybe 6 months, maybe a year, I don’t know — to really quiet down, because it’s not just the body but the mind,” he told fans. “It’s really time to slow down for a while.”
Rumors have been flying for months in the bhakti world about KD’s health, as bits and pieces leaked out about his plans not to tour in 2016. In February, KD told participants at his annual retreat at Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas that he was going to take some time off (but indicated that he would be back in Sivananda in 2016). The Bhakti Beat has also heard from event producers who have tried to schedule Krishna Das kirtans for 2016 and were told that he will not be touring, which has fueled the rumor mill.
The announcement does little to quell rumors about the health of Western kirtan’s biggest “star,” as there was no specific information about his overall wellness in either the video message or the email newsletter in which the sabbatical was announced. The email stated that KD will take a break from touring and traveling for the purpose of “healthful recharging.”
Krishna Das spokesperson Nina Rao confirmed to The Bhakti Beat in an initial email response that KD’s “Vitals are in order, just needs rest.” (We will update this article as soon as more information is available.) In the meantime, KD’s choice of words in the video message indicated the sabbatical was not an optional choice.
“I have to take some time off, to try to rejuvenate, rest and try to get some juice back in my system,” he said, while noting that chanting with other people is “the greatest seva I can do for myself, for others and for my guru.” The sabbatical, he said, will allow him to “have time to be quiet, take care of my body, eat good, and just breathe. I forgot what it’s like to not be planning to go somewhere, like, in a week.”
It’s unclear as of yet whether Krishna Das will attend bigger retreats and festivals such as Omega’s Ecstatic Chant, where he has headlined since its inception 12 years ago, or Bhakti Fest, though he did say he “might do a couple local things around New York,” where his home is, and possibly some online programs that can be done from his home. KD’s annual Memorial Day weekend retreat at Yogaville Ashram in Virginia will continue as planned, as will his summer tour in the Northeast United States and Southeast Canada (see full tour schedule here). He also is making appearances this month at benefits for Nepal earthquake victims (May 16 in Princeton, NJ, in concert with GuruGanesha, with other dates to be announced) and at a benefit for tigers produced by longtime KD manager/assistant Nina Rao (May 19 in New York City).
Beginning in February or March of 2016, all dates are off. “I’m going to kind of just chill,” KD said.
The news was accompanied by the announcement of a new 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation, the Kirtan Wallah Foundation, which is dedicated to spreading the teachings of Krishna Das’ guru, the late Neem Karoli Baba.
Clearly addressing the rumors and questions, the “Rock Star of Yoga” ended his video message with typical understatedness: “That’s the story for now. Take good care. Bye.”
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