“My life changed when I learned the Chalisa,” I heard one of my teachers say very simply a few years ago. I decided to commit to the practice myself after being inspired by her beautiful and spiritually focused lifestyle. I have been mumbling along to the verses for a while and now that I’m actually learning the Chalisa, it turns out that this is the album I really need.
About the Hanuman Chalisa
The Hanuman Chalisa is a 40-verse devotional song written more than 700 years ago by the poet Tulsidas; it is sung by millions of Hindus and others worldwide every day. Students of Neem Karoli Baba, including Ram Dass, Krishna Das, and others, shared this tradition when they returned to America in the 1970s to spread Maharaj-ji’s message of unconditional love and acceptance.
Taos Hanuman: The Neem Karoli Baba Hanuman Temple Collection of Chalisas
That’s just the historical aspect of this album, let’s get down to the music. Every offering on this compilation is a heartfelt contribution by the Who’s Who of kirtan artists, known as wallahs, such as Krishna Das, Trevor Hall, Nina Rao, Jai Uttal, and Raghu Markus.
There’s even a funky reggae version by LA’s own Govind Das. The lineup includes tracks by a number of other notable musicians including the Taos Temple Band and Shyama Chapin (her “First Light Chalisa” is a beautifully mesmerizing version of the chant).
I’m still learning the Chalisa. It has become an important part of my daily practice, my sadhana. When I need some extra grounding, I play this compilation. My life hasn’t changed in any dramatic ways—yet. But when I’m listening to this album I feel a comforting connection to something that’s bigger than me and my little existence—and I think that’s a pretty good start.
Proceeds from this album benefit the Taos Hanuman Ashram and the new Hanuman temple under construction. To learn more about this project visit the website.
Julie Devi Hale, MFT, eRYT is a psychotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher who attends to private clients in Los Angeles as well as runs retreats regularly in her home away-from-home; the Sequoia National Forest: juliehale.net