Hello Krishna Das
I've got an idea I want to tell you about.
First a little background on myself. I've been chanting along with your recordings for awhile now, since back when I was a grad student at Berkeley in the late 90's. For the last seven years I have helped run a music club with my brothers in Arvada, Colorado called D Note (dnote.us) which has fostered a wide community and brought joy to many. The business is not exactly viable (after seven years we are still fragile), but grace has been with us and the work has been good for the soul. It is a magical place.
Onto the idea. I want to help create a space in inner cities (starting with Denver in 2010) where there would be a continual live chanting of "Om". I would find or build a dome shaped space that could fit a 100 or so folks around a central flame. There would always be at least one person chanting "om". There would be some very basic rules, like "no talking, no sleeping, no eating" which would be lightly enforced by the keeper of the space. The building would be open 24/7. There would be a place for donations to help pay for rent and keeper, with excess moneys going to charities. The Om would never end in this space, maintaining a single voice from which many would come and go. I don't have a name for this space yet. Any ideas? I believe it would be best to keep all religious signifiers out of the equation, so that those weary of religions would not be deterred from coming. So no use of the word church, or kirtan, or any iconography inside the space that would suggest such. Keep it very simple that way.
I believe this space would be healing to a whole demographic of people in deep need (all of us?). I imagine a person feeling depressed, even suicidal, at 3am. Where could such a person go at that hour? They can go here and listen to the sound of one or more people chanting and chant along, and begin to be healed. This is the vision driving this idea.
The reason I bring this idea up to you is that I'm hoping I can enlist your help. I would like to organize a kirtan at Red Rocks Ampitheater (ever been there? it's awesome) with you as the main attraction, maybe with Jai Uttal (since he has local Colorado connections) and a few others. This concert would be a fundraiser. I think if we could sell 5000 tickets at $20 on a Sunday afternoon we could raise $100,000. Assuming we'd need approx half of that for expenses we'd be left with 50k which would fund the space for a year, by which point I think it would be self-sustaining. And if it works well then I'd look to do a second one in L.A. 2011, NY 2012, etc.
Would you be available next summer/fall to help get the ball rolling?
If you agree, then I feel this dream will have taken its first step to becoming a reality.
Thanks for listening,