JANET ATTWOOD: Welcome, everyone, this morning to the Dialogues with The Masters call. With us this morning are my dear, wonderful, great friends who I just love more than life itself-well, not more than life itself!-Deva Premal and Miten. I just am so, so happy that they’re able to be with us this morning. I met Deva and Miten when Marci Shimoff, who is one of the stars of “The Secret,” and I and her husband, Sergio Baroni, when to Chennai.
I was there interviewing Bhagwan [Call-tee] from Oneness University. As I was walking up to the building I saw this beautiful blond woman walking towards us, and Marci walks up to her and she says, “Deva, it’s so wonderful to see you!” I just thought, “Oh, my god! That’s Deva Premal!” I had sung Deva and Miten all over the Himalayas as I was interviewing all of these saints.
I was always singing their music at home. Seeing Deva was like seeing Elvis Presley for me, only bigger. I was like, “Oh, my god!” I walk up to Deva and I say, “Are you Deva Premal?” She says, “Yes,” and I break out into one of her songs. She just looked at me like, “Okay,” and that was my first moment of Deva, or Deva’s first moment with Janet, which was so appropriate. Go ahead.
MITEN: I was going to say that at least it wasn’t, “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog”!
JANET ATTWOOD: It’s true. I was going to say after that, I take me wherever I go. Anyway, it was just such a wonderful time that we all had together. Just from that developed what I just know will be a lifelong, wonderful, close friendship. I want to just say a little bit about what they’ve done. After touring nonstop for almost 15 years, and with their CD sales topping the half-million mark, Deva and Miten are truly proof that the power of mantra is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
Eckhart Tolle, the spiritual teacher and bestselling author of The Power of Now, has said of their music that “as you listen, the sacred space that lies beyond the mind emerges naturally and effortlessly.” Then Brandon Bays, the life coach and author of The Journey, describes their music as “carrying the listener into realms of ecstasy, bliss, and joy.” Another admirer is rockstar Cher, who says of The Essence, their wonderful album, “It is my favorite CD to do yoga to. In fact, I drive my teacher crazy because it’s the only one I ever want to hear.”
I’m with her, actually. I have a song that I play, Deva and Miten, and I think I’ve told you this before, in our Passion Test Certification Program from your album, Dakshina. It’s Aad Guray, and I play it over and over so many times that my roommates are saying, “All right, already! We know you love that song. Is there anything else you love?” It’s just kind of wedged in there, into my heart, and I just sing it everywhere.
Thank you so much for all the beautiful, beautiful music that you share with the world. We have these wonderful questions from the readers of Healthy Wealthy nWise. You two met when you were both at Osho’s ashram. Some people have misconceptions about Osho, your master, from the press he received when he was in Oregon. Would you both talk about your experience of him, and what drew each of you to spend time with him?
DEVA PREMAL: I think naturally there are misconceptions about a spiritual teacher in general if you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be with one. I think especially in the West the idea that you could have a master is so tainted, has bad connotations easily, so I think it’s natural that people are a little cautious. It’s something you almost can’t explain; it’s something that looks strange from the outside.
It’s like being in love, you can’t explain it while you’re involved with somebody or how it feels to be in love with somebody. If you felt it, you know it, so that’s really what it is… [tape break 4:35] …why I am this, and I can give you reasons why I feel he’s a wise person, how I feel that he transformed our lives, but it’s so much bigger than that that all these reasons make it small. I came to Osho when I was 11 years old.
I think that also shows that it wasn’t kind of an intellectual thing. It was really a feeling of being drawn to their community, and he created meditations and techniques that I just love doing. It felt right at home and that’s what introduced me to him, and that’s what really [indiscernible 5:20] all my life, and that’s what I’m grateful for him, too.
JANET ATTWOOD: Deva, did your parents draw you to him because you were only 11? Was it your mom or your father?
DEVA PREMAL: They definitely introduced me to him. I grew up with Eastern spirituality, and at that point when I was about 10 I changed to Christianity. I did it secretly at first because I thought my parents were kind of against it, so I was secretly saying The Lord’s Prayer at night and wanted to get baptized and everything. Finally, when I got the courage to say that was actually what I wanted to do, they were totally okay, “Yes, of course. If that’s what you want, we’re totally behind you.”
When they first introduced me to The World of Osho and his meditations as an offering, there was not pressure, just like, “This is what we want to try out, and here it is if you want to try it out, too.” My father actually never was a disciple of Osho. It was my mother who really got into it and really, it helped her a lot with her personal life.
JANET ATTWOOD: Thank you. Miten, what about you? What do you have to say?
MITEN: I think it’s so difficult to speak about your spiritual path. In a way, Deva… [tape break 6:53] …because our whole life is our spiritual practice with the music that we make, so it’s kind of out there. I think we could talk for a few hours on Osho because he was such a controversial figure, of course. I think personally there were many reasons for being with him, but all those reasons kind of pale when you actually feel the love between a devotee and guru.
It’s just beyond the mind, so whatever controversial things might have been happening, it was peripheral, really, to the connection that I had with the window to the divine, which is what the master is. I loved Osho for many reasons, not least that he was such a rebel. He was a guy who would live on the edge, and he encouraged us to live on the edge, too. There were no halfway measures, Janet, with Osho.
You were either out in the wind or you were in the house. We lived out in the wind and the rain and the sun, and we celebrated that, and I think that was a great gift. He woke me up to life, so I’m sure there are many people who’ll tell you something different. That’s the way it is; there are always opposites in the world, no?
DEVA PREMAL: Of course, there is the whole thing of the press, which always makes things look very different than they really are. We could go into every detail of Rolls Royces and this and that, but there is always another side to it or a deeper side, and if you go in it then it’s either teaching or even just not true, so I think in any spiritual path you have to face controversy. That’s kind of part of being on a spiritual path.
JANET ATTWOOD: It’s interesting to hear you talking because I remember that moment so clearly when we were all at Oneness University, and Marci and I were sitting there with both of you and many other Osho devotees. Marci says, “You guys are so much fun!” That was my experience of hanging out for the first time with people from Osho’s movement, is that everyone seemed so integrated, so much fun, really easy, flowing, alert and bright. That’s what I saw from the outside looking in, which was really very impressive, what you got from your master.
MITEN: That’s beautiful.
JANET ATTWOOD: Let me ask you, how has your spiritual practice affected your music and vice versa?
MITEN: There’s no separation, Janet. There’s really no separation. When Deva and I met, we were in an ashram that was saturated with music as a spiritual path so we naturally adopted that path of music. [tape break 10:28] …beautiful was because he used music all the time. His ashram is filled with music. He had this vision of Zorba the Buddha, which was a way of him describing the way you could live an integrated life in the world and not go to the Himalayas to find enlightenment. The important thing was to find it and to live it day to day in the world.
That’s really what we’re doing; our spiritual practice is to share music and to connect to the divine with the music. Somewhere along the line, we just started to look up and notice that a lot of people were enjoying our spiritual practice and it helped them in their own spiritual practice.
JANET ATTWOOD: Isn’t it fun? Isn’t that so fun what you get to do? I want your job! That’s what I told you, a bhajan band. What a blast?
MITEN: There is a thin line now because there’s a business involved. This is delicate area because we are running around the planet on a, basically, 24/7 vacation playing music, connecting to our spiritual master, and connecting everybody else to their spiritual gurus and to their own spiritual path. At the same time, there’s a financial issue involved so it’s a great training that Osho helped us to say, “You have to live in the world.
This is your reality,” and to keep the people who work with us in that same understanding, that this is not a business where you go knocking on doors and saying, “Will you listen to our CD?” or “Will you distribute this music?” It’s never been that. It’s always like you have a jewel, you have something very precious and you offer it. If that offer is accepted, beautiful. If it’s not accepted, beautiful. It’s a very interesting dance, this thing now that’s happened to Deva and me where it’s a spiritual connection and yet, at the same time, it’s a business.
JANET ATTWOOD: That takes me to the next question of our readers, which said that you have said, Miten, “Our music is born out of meditation and a celebration of life. It’s not a matter of entertaining people.” Do you want to explain what that means?
MITEN: It just means that we don’t perform. We’ve never looked on this music as a performance. It’s always been that Deva will sit there and close her eyes, and the more that Deva and I can get out of the way when we sing the music, the more that God can be there for everybody, for all of us. By ‘getting out the way’ I mean as much as we can to step out of any ego that might be present so that we can just laugh together, make mistakes together, pray together.
It’s all one, and when that happens the magic happens. That’s when the divine is so tangible with… [tape break 14:02] …sing with us. It’s not about, although it might look like, entertainment, but it’s not a situation in the entertainment business where you whip up some kind of act and then you go out and do that night after night after night. It’s always fresh.
We’ve been doing this for 15 or 16 years now and singing some of the same mantras that we sang then, and every night, I swear to God, they’re as fresh as the first time we ever sang them.
JANET ATTWOOD: I would say if it was entertainment, it’s the highest form and truly what the purpose of entertainment was, which was to know the self, don’t you think? That’s where the bliss really is, is to really be saturated in the self.
DEVA PREMAL: Yes, and to come in the silence with people, that communion and silence.
MITEN: We couldn’t do it if it was anything else because, on the surface, it’s such hard work in the way of traveling so much and playing so much, but as it is, it’s just a case of, “When’s the next concert so we can plug in again?” That’s very nourishing. It’s incredible, really. It’s beyond our understanding in some ways, so we’re trying to answer questions that are not easy to really understand how this happened or how it is happening.
Yesterday we played a concert in Berlin, and the place was just so beautiful, the energy, and Deva said to me afterwards, “I felt disconnected from myself.” For her, she was having a journey that wasn’t internal. It was not so easy for her, but that was owned also.
JANET ATTWOOD: Much of your music is a recitation of ancient Vedic mantras in Sanskrit. Could you explain why you have chosen to chant these mantras and what effect they produce?
DEVA PREMAL: Basically, they chose us. I grew up especially with one Sanskrit mantra growing up, the Gayatri mantra, which was supposedly the oldest one, and my father was singing it as a welcome for me on the planet when I was in my mother’s womb and then also during the birth. Then as a child, he introduced me to it so I would sing it every night as a good-night song. It was really a natural part of my life, these sounds.
I think around that time, earlier when I said I turned to Christianity, that was around 10 years old, I stopped singing the Gayatri as a good-night song, and I actually left pretty much all the mantras. There were a few mantras in my life through him for different occasions, and we would chant them. Also, I would be encouraged by him to say ‘Om’ each time I put something on the table or say ‘Om’ each time I switched on the light; ‘Om’ is the name of God.
It was just very natural; it already sounded very natural to me. I stopped when I was about 10 years old, and they came back to me maybe 15 years later, in my mid-20s. I just heard the Gayatri again fresh and I realized the connection, I realized the power and the preciousness of it. Then I started singing and searching for more mantras, and the sounds of Sanskrit just rolled over my tongue easily.
It’s like it’s natural. It feels really good. I don’t speak Sanskrit, but the sounds are very familiar to me. I’m not closed to anything else. We also have African chants and Native American chants, so if they speak to us and if they touch us then I love singing sacred songs and chants from many different cultures. That’s really what I love most, to bring people together and to sing, and to sing in these languages that we are not connecting to consciously, but English.
We don’t have to use too much brain power to remember them. It’s quite easy. It’s kind of straight to the point. They’re like telegrams, the things we sing. They have one sentence and it tells you the whole story. One more thing, we have the songs of Miten and they really complement the mantras because, for me, they express what the mantras express, and they say it in English, so we can sing together.
When we do our concerts, we sing together with the audience and then we can come to a silent state. There’s no clapping, and then the songs come and the audience can just receive those songs in their ears, and just make that feeling even deeper, which everyone’s experienced working in the mantras.
JANET ATTWOOD: Deva, as you were speaking one of the things that I heard you say is that when you were about 10 or 11 years old, you left the mantras and then they came back to you in your mid-20s. When they left you, did you feel any different energetically in your life until they came back to you? Did you feel any change at all?
DEVA PREMAL: I always had a spiritual practice, it just wasn’t in the form of mantras. I was still meditating, and I was the hearing Osho’s word, as I am now. It wasn’t like I turned away from spirituality; I just dropped that expression when you sing the mantras, but I do feel that when they came back… [tape break 20:27] …I realized a whole new had opened, and I actually, really found my voice only when the Gayatri came back to me.
I had started singing already when I was in my early 20s, but somehow just that feeling of the world flowering only really happened once I started singing the mantras. Yes, they just totally opened so many huge dreams for me I would never have dreamt.
JANET ATTWOOD: Would you share some stories of experiences you’ve had or that others have told you about as a result of listening to these mantras?
DEVA PREMAL: It’s quite mind-blowing and also humbling. We look at our emails and we receive amazing stories from people with different things, very, very touching stories of healing, like just 10 days ago, I met somebody at a concert who said he fainted waxing cars and was paralyzed, and they had to remove the spine in his neck, so he has no more vertebrae in his neck.
The only thing that holds up his head is muscles, and just the Gayatri mantra, listening to the Gayatri, helped him through that really, very intense period and coming out of the paralysis, and now he’s fine. You know stories where the mantras help people, also, who are close to suicide and then their joy of life is coming back just by listening to the music.
MITEN: One of my favorite stories is about the policewoman who likes to listen to it in her car, in her police car, and I think that’s great.
JANET ATTWOOD: Then she just has this full heart because that’s what they do for me, so you’ve just got this really loving policewoman somewhere out there who gives all of the police people one of your albums. That’s the next thing, right? I shared with you that, actually, the reason I’m in Miami is because Marci Shimoff and I are going to be speaking along with another woman, Cynthia Kersey to 200 to 300 homeless women in transition tomorrow.
As I give them The Passion Test, this process that I share, I play them your music as they’re writing. What I’ve found, and I’ve tried so many different types of music, is that every time, and I mean every time, I put on your album-and we should see growth in sales in the United States because all of our facilitators now play this album, as well-people start crying immediately.
They just start crying because this music truly has the ability of deeply touching everyone’s hearts. I just see it over and over again, and it changes the energy in the whole room. I know that’s what you see over and over and over again in all of your concerts, right? From the moment you begin it’s just so magical, isn’t it?
MITEN: It really is, and that’s what I was saying. It’s beyond the mind, because if we just set out to do that we could never have done it. It’s really that we are also on the journey. We’re watching it happens and unfold just like everybody else is .
JANET ATTWOOD: It’s so profound. Now the two of you appear to spend most of your time playing together, playing music and traveling. For many couples that would be really difficult. I’m laughing as I’m saying that because I’m thinking of me being with someone fulltime. How are you able to spend so much time together and still be so loving and warm in all of your interactions? Do we know that that’s true? Just keep going.
MITEN: The answer to that really, Janet, is I just do whatever Deva tells me to.
JANET ATTWOOD: Smart man. Deva?
DEVA PREMAL: No way!
MITEN: I totally surrender to the goddess.
JANET ATTWOOD: Okay. That was a good answer, and we’ll go on to the next one. How do you think the love you share has affected your music? That’s the next question. How do you think the love you share has affected your music?
MITEN: You could reverse that. How has the music affected the love we share? I think that’s a more potent question because without this music, the love would, of course, be very different. For us, the music is our Tantric practice also, so it takes us to that place where normally you’d share a sexual connection with your partner. That energy and that connection is shared in a dimension of music, so we’re nourished on many different levels.
I think the music has given us a doorway to something that, speaking personally, before I only really experienced through lovemaking with my partner, but now there’s another dimension to that whole experience, and we’ve discovered it through music. The music has given us an incredible gift, personally.
JANET ATTWOOD: Miten, it’s not just you and Deva who are open to this. Wouldn’t you say that’s true for everyone? For everyone listening, you can all go to Deva Premal and Miten’s website. What website do you like to use? What’s your favorite one because I know you have a number of them?
DEVA PREMAL: www.DevaPremalMiten.com.
JANET ATTWOOD: www.DevaPremalMiten.com is where you would go and you can download, not only some of their music, but you can download the words to their music. People could just listen to your albums, sing your songs, and get the understanding. It’s so kind of you and generous. You also put the translation up for everyone who can then have the same Tantric experience that both of you have. Would you agree?
MITEN: Yes, that’s really the way we see what we do, and that is to be servants. We’re just here to share this gift that we’ve been given through the mantras, and we’re doing everything we can to make it available to the world at large. A couple of weeks ago we actually flew from Germany to Fiji and back again in six days, because we were invited by Tony Robbins to play music at a very special gathering that he’d put together at his resort there, in Namale in Fiji.
When we first had the invitation we thought, “That’s impossible to go for a week to Fiji and back,” but when we considered it we realized we didn’t really have any choice. It was our responsibility to go there and play for those people, so we did. That’s the way we live our life, we just respond to it. [tape break 27:58] Another thing that happens, Janet, that’s very interesting that I’ve noticed lately is that all the traveling that we do actually creates a vulnerability… [tape break 28:10] …which is in some ways is looked upon as something you don’t want to be.
Actually, this constant traveling and the constant not knowing what country you’re in or what town you’re in creates this kind of vulnerability, which is another way of being very open and very much in the flow, so you’re constantly receiving the space of God. You’re in a very vulnerable position, which is the best place to be if you’re playing music. If you’re in a tough position, you’re going to play tough music.
If you are vulnerable, you’re going to be able to go deep and you’re going to really be able to reach to your soul. I think that’s something I’ve been realizing lately, that this traveling is also a big part of why love [will stay? 29:03].
DEVA PREMAL: To come back to your question, the reason why we make all these chords and lyrics and words available on the website is because we want to encourage people to sing and to come together in song like we do in our concerts. That is not just with people like Krishna. There’s also Jai Uttal, but that people can continue that space… [tape break 29:29] in their daily lives.
We started this thing called Satsang Circles on our website, which is a forum for people to find each other in whatever city they are, and to meet in somebody’s living room once a week, twice a month, or whatever, and meditate and sing together and have that depth in their lives continuously, not just once or twice a year.
JANET ATTWOOD: That’s so great. I didn’t notice that on your website, but I created my own Satsang Circle with my roommates. I’ll put my name up there and then have people come over. That would be such a blast. There is nothing more fun than not knowing someone and sitting there and just singing for hours. You develop this love affair without having to know a thing about the person, which is really, really great. It does create that transparency because you’re getting to the very root of the feeling level, which is so profound.
MITEN: Where we’re all the same, that’s where we all live really.
JANET ATTWOOD: Now you have played for the Dalai Lama among many others. Will you tell us the story of how that happened, and what his response to your music was?
MITEN: The Dalai Lama story is that we have a story that we’ve told a few times, and it borders on the line of entertainment for us, so it’s not easy for us to keep talking about that, but basically we can say that we met a very special and amazing human being in His Holiness. We were given the chance, or the invitation, to play in a very intimate gathering for scientists who were giving a conference in Munich, in Germany.
It was about scientific research, Buddhism, and religious teachings of Buddhism to find if there is a thread between those two very apparent differences. The Dalai Lama was there to facilitate that and talk to the scientists before the actual conference began. We were there to play a concert for the gathering even though many thousands of people were there.
The pre-conference meeting between the scientists and the Dalai Lama was something very special, actually, very interesting. We were kind of ushered into this room, and there were maybe 20 scientists, His Holiness, some translators, and some other Tibetan monks. They were introducing themselves in the field in which they worked, and they were asking the Dalai Lama questions, telling him what they were doing, and things like this.
One woman asked him a very sweet and innocent question like, “How often do you meditate? Do you meditate?” The Dalai Lama’s reply was something like that he’s a very lazy man and that he only does five or six hours every day, but with such humor and with such humility. It was such a special moment. He even said that he was practicing non-attachment to Buddhism after hearing a special talk by one scientist who was explaining that scientific exploration was hindered by attachment to ideas.
So he said he realized that he was actually attached to Buddhism in that way, and he was practicing non-attachment to Buddhism. The outcome of that whole thing was that we actually took the guitar out of the case, walked up to where he was sitting, and we sang his favorite mantra. Such a silence descended on that gathering. After the mantra finished, there was a profound silence in the room for quite an extended period.
Everyone just sat and stood and closed their eyes and just let that mantra be there, and let the sound and the power of it be there. Eventually, His Holiness just said to us, “Beautiful, beautiful music,” and shook our hands. Just talking about it right now actually brings me to tears, it was such a special moment in my life.
JANET ATTWOOD: Thank you for sharing that with us. I can just feel that beautiful feeling of everyone in that silence, their hearts just being so open, and sitting there with the Dalai Lama. How good is that? He’s someone who is doing such great work for the world.
JANET ATTWOOD: One of your very popular albums is called Dakshina. What is Dakshina? What is that word and why is it the title of your album?
DEVA PREMAL: Originally, I wanted to call the album Homage because that’s what I felt it was; it was homage to my guru, and also to all the different paths through which the mantras come from that are on that album. Somehow, I didn’t really like that title. I asked somebody how that would be in Sanskrit, and the answer was, actually, that to be more precise, Dakshina is really the gift you make to your guru in gratitude… [tape break 35:35] …given to you.
I feel that’s totally perfect for that album because I’m singing to him, and there are all these different parts on that album. There’s a Buddhist mantra, there’s a Sikh mantra, there’s Hare Krishna, so it felt like homage to all these different paths and traditions and gurus.
JANET ATTWOOD: It has a very different feeling to it than all the other albums. It feels, and this is my experience, very inward compared to the others even though those are very inward. Do you agree?
DEVA PREMAL: Yes, I know what you mean.
MITEN: It’s deep. It’s a deep album.
JANET ATTWOOD: Really. It’s extremely soft, so soft. Go ahead, I’m sorry.
MITEN: Probably, I think it’s that we used more natural instruments on that album also, so you have the delicacy of violins and cellos and violas and things like this that express or creates more of a natural sound. It’s very beautiful.
JANET ATTWOOD: Our friend, Marci Shimoff, remember, we’ve all had dinner at her house together, and she’ll love that I mentioned that.
MITEN: Marvelous. Hi, Marci!
JANET ATTWOOD: Hi, Marci! She’s got this incredible book coming out. It’s called Happy For No Reason. Isn’t that a perfect title, Happy For No Reason? Actually, as a sidebar, that title came when Marci when into silence for a number of days in this wonderful little place in Marin County all by herself. As she was in silence, this title just popped into her awareness, it came to her as a gift.
In her wonderful book, Happy For No Reason, it says that from her research that she’s seen that people who are truly happy have developed a habit of seeing the gift in every situation in their lives, and both of you appear to enjoy a lot of happiness. How have you seen this in your own lives? Is this true?
MITEN: [tape break 37:55] …vision of celebrating everything is exactly that. It’s a case of learning from every situation and accepting every situation as a gift from God, happy for no reason.
DEVA PREMAL: I just often feel like I’m lying in bed at night and I’m kind of counting my blessings. I just feel like I’m so blessed, and then always that feeling, “Okay, am I ready to let go and leave the body? Am I ready to die?” I think that’s a beautiful part of being happy, that we are fulfilled with what is and what has happened in our lives, and we are ready to let go and move on if that’s what’s needed, if that’s what’s planned for us.
JANET ATTWOOD: You both said that it’s an important part of your work to create gatherings around the world of celebration and meditation. Actually, I kind of understand the reasoning of this, but let’s hear it. Why is this so important to you, and what type of gatherings do you have that you’re putting together, if any?
MITEN: Why is it important for people to come together? The answer is pretty obvious. It’s so easy for us to be isolated, and most of us have experienced that feeling of isolation, being cut off, or feeling like there’s something better or there’s something else. We just want to kind of cut through that really, with celebration, meditation… [tape break 39:47] …we feel part of something.
You feel home. You feel at home and you don’t feel isolated. Those are the two wings of the bird, celebration and meditation. If you don’t celebrate it, you can be sitting there meditating with a very grim look on your face, but once you celebrate it, you have this inner smile. You have an inner warmth in your belly, and those two things make a human whole. A whole human or a human whole; you know what I mean!
We know that because we’ve lived it. I’ve lived an isolated life. I know what it feels like and I’m sure everybody else does. I know now that I don’t have to live an isolated life and I know what it takes not to, so it seems to be my path to share that.
DEVA PREMAL: One thing is that forum on our website where people can find each other and come together by themselves. Another way that we do that is, obviously, our concerts are those gatherings. Then you do longer events like holiday groups where we come together in very beautiful places on the planet, like in Greece and Corfu, Greece or in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Australia.
We come together for a few days and we sing, we meditate, and we have holiday and beach and deep connections with the people who come from all over the world. It’s always a very mixed group. Lately, also, we’ve actually been starting Tantra groups… [tape break 41:37] …because we felt that singing creates such a deep connection between couples. It’s a different way of sharing love and being in synchronicity.
When you sing together you breathe together, so immediately you’re in synchronicity. We have found a beautiful Tantra teacher, a very dear friend of ours, who we’d been working with already for many years before, and created a group called Tantra-Mantra, which it’s nice that it rhymes. It’s a way for couples to have a holiday with each other, discover sacred and meditative ways of making love, sing together, and come in silence together. Those are the things we do. Do you want to come?
JANET ATTWOOD: I do! Anyone who’s listening, I’m single. You can email me at… Okay, so anyway, I do! I’m setting an intention because I want to go to your Tantra-Mantra. I know Marci and her husband, Sergio, have put that on their next-thing-to-do list. I want to be there with them, so yes, I think all of us would love to. For anyone who is interested in purchasing Deva and Miten’s music and knowing about their different wonderful courses, again, you can go to www.DevaPremalMiten.com. Make sure when you say his name you say Miten, not ‘mitten,’ like I used to. Did I say it right? Have I been saying it right? It’s important that I say that name right.
MITEN: Actually, it might be just a nice moment to just clarify those names because they are kind of weird. It might be interesting for your listeners to know where we got them and what they mean. They’re all Sanskrit names and they were given to use by Osho, by our guru, many, many years ago. Deva’s been Deva Premal since she was 11 years old.
The word ‘Deva’ means divine in Sanskrit, the word ‘Prem’ means love, and the word ‘Premal’ means loving, so the name that Osho gave her as a little girl was Deva Premal, which means ‘divine loving.’ Osho just sees right into your soul, and that’s just the way she is. For me, although we didn’t know each other then, of course, but almost around about the same time, he gave me the name ‘Miten,’ which means friend in Sanskrit.
My first name, it wasn’t Deva, it was ‘Prabhu,’ the name Prabhu Miten. Prabhu is a sweet way, the sweetest way to address God, so he gave me the name Prabhu Miten, which basically is ‘friend of God.’ He gave me that name at a time when I swear to you I didn’t have a friend in the world, and he didn’t know this either. I’d left my world in London, in England. I’d had a record company, a band, a manager, a publisher, and everything, and one day they looked up and I was gone.
I disappeared into the World of Osho because I’d read a book, and I know he was speaking to me so it wasn’t a decision, it wasn’t even a question. I just knew that this was where I should be. I showed up there and he gave me that name, “You’re a friend of God, be a friend to yourself.” These names are very, very dear to me and obviously mean a lot to me. That’s why they’re weird names, they’re Sanskrit names, Deva Premal and Miten.
JANET ATTWOOD: I always thought Miten meant biker-guy but I was wrong, wasn’t I?
MITEN: There was once, but those days are gone.
JANET ATTWOOD: Before we close, would you both leave us in singing one of your mantras so we can all experience your beautiful voices? Would that be possible? Actually, do you know what I would like to do if this is possible? Chris, how much time do we have left?
CHRIS ATTWOOD: About 15 minutes.
MITEN: Is that God speaking there?
JANET ATTWOOD: Yes, that was God. The name Chris means ‘God.’ That’s, at least, what I’ve noticed. Is it possible, Chris, that you could do your overview for 10 minutes? Then would it be okay if I asked that you both sing the last five minutes, and we’ll just close in silence? Would that be profound?
MITEN: That’s fine with us.
JANET ATTWOOD: Good. Again, just one more time, for all of you who want to know more about Deva and Miten, where they are, what they’re up to, their courses, their music, and to download the words to their wonderful music, it’s www.DevaPremalMiten.com. Chris, if you would…
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Great. Thank you, Janet. Deva and Miten, thank you so much for being with us and taking the time and the patience to allow us to record this interview, so that so many thousands of people will be able to hear it and to feel the connection with the profound love and the beautiful gifts that each of you project. It’s such a delight to be with you always.
We began talking about the fact that both of you met when you where in Osho’s ashram, and talking about what it was that drew you there. Interestingly, both of you said that it’s natural to have some misconceptions about a spiritual master, especially if you’ve never been with one, that it’s difficult to talk about one’s spiritual practice. Particularly in the West, the idea of having a master is so strange and unusual for most Westerners.
Deva said that perhaps the best way to explain it is to think of what it’s like to be in love, that it’s really like that. To be with a master is to just be in love, and really, listening to both of you, what I hear and from my own experience, as well, that master is the expression of God, to be in love with God, which, again, comes back to ultimately being in love with ourselves, the master being that connection with that deepest part of ourselves.
Deva shared with us that she came to Osho when she was 11 years old. She was drawn to the community. She loved the techniques and the things that were offered there, and it changed her life in many ways. She had grown up from birth, really, with Eastern spirituality. Her parents, her father, had sung the Gayatri mantra even when she was in the womb, and then as she was a child, singing it to her.
She grew up singing it even as she went to bed at night. At 10, she had this switch, and she decided to let go of all that and to adopt Christianity as her spiritual practice. At first, she was doing it secretly because she thought perhaps her parents wouldn’t approve. Yet, when she finally did tell them they were completely supportive of her and said, “If that’s what you want, then of course you should have that.”
She said that they introduced her to Osho just an offering, there was no pressure, and that for her mother the relationship with Osho and the experience there was deeply transforming, but I think it’s a statement of what incredible parents you had, Deva, also that they were able to allow you the freedom to make your own choices and your own decisions about your spiritual practice.
One of the things that Miten said is that your music is your spiritual practice and that this has become the extension, that Osho is, in fact, still with you in many ways, in the most important ways, as you play and share your spiritual practice with so many thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Both of you said that there were so many reasons to be with Osho, to be with your master, but all those reasons pale by comparison with the experience of it, with the love that is experienced in that presence of the master.
Miten said that the master is a window to the divine, and he said that there were no halfway measures with Osho, that he was in many ways a rebel. Miten said that Osho woke him up to life, his master woke him up to what life really is. Of course, we all know that the press makes things appear differently and there’s always another side. On any spiritual path there may be some controversy, but the real truth of it from listening to both of you was that it was an experience of deep and profound love and deep and profound connection with God.
It sounds like it was a very special and foundational experience for both of you that has led to work that takes you around the world traveling everywhere. As you talked about your spiritual practice and the effect on your music and vice versa, you both said that there’s really no separation, that in Osho’s ashram music was part of the spiritual path and you both naturally adopted the path of music.
The ashram was filled with music. Osho, in fact, described Zorba the Buddha, that what was important was to find enlightenment in the world, not in some cave in the Himalayas, but to actually be living that state of wholeness within the midst of life, in the act of living of life. Miten said that your spiritual practice is to connect with the divine through the music, and that you happened to notice that other people were enjoying it, and that your spiritual practice was, in fact, enhancing their own.
It was interesting to me how you described, Miten, the thin line between this passion, if I may use that word, and this deep spiritual connection that is expressed in your music. There’s a business involved, and that you’re going around the world and performing, there are people who are working with you and who are getting your music out in one way or another, and that part of your practice is working with those people who are with you to help them appreciate the whole depth and the expression of the music, the music as you experience it, as you described it, as an offering, a precious jewel that is offered to the world and that people can take or not.
It’s not necessary to go out knocking on doors and asking people to listen to the music. It’s there, it’s offered, and if it resonates with people then it’s something for them to take advantage of. In talking about this statement that Miten had made that, “Our music is born out of meditation and a celebration of life. It’s not a matter of entertaining people,” he said, “We don’t perform; we never looked on the music as a performance.”
He said that the more Deva and he get out of the way, the more God can be there for everyone who is listening, everyone who is present. He said, “I mean by that that it’s stepping out of any ego that might be present so all of us can laugh together and pray together, and when that happens, that’s when the magic happens.” Deva added that to come together, what’s so beautiful about it is coming together in the silence with people, this communion, this feeling of communion and the experience of silence.
It might look like entertainment, but it’s not whipping up an act and performing it over and over again. Every day, every moment, every performance, it’s fresh. Every night is a fresh as the very first night. It’s that ability to evoke that silence. I had the great good fortune to listen to both of you, as I mentioned before, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and there were over 1,500 people present in this huge cathedral.
The ceilings rose up hundreds of feet in the air, it seemed, with beautiful acoustics in that building, and as they played, when the music would finish, there was no clapping. The music would just settle down over the crowd, over the people who were listening. All of us sat and sank into that silence, sank into ourselves. I have to say, my experience of listening to your music is that the music brings that connection to the self, that connection to the deepest part of my own nature.
For me, as with Janet, that’s why your music is so incredibly precious. My wife and I play it all the time just for that reason. Deva talked about the fact that she grew up with the Gayatri mantra, that it’s said to be the oldest mantra, and from her earliest age she was singing it. Then she turned to Christianity and for 15 years stopped singing the mantras. There may have still been some habits, some things that were said at various times, that the sounds of it were so natural to her, she said.
The mantras came back when she was in her mid-20s. She had been singing for a few years, and then she heard the Gayatri again and it was fresh. She said, “I realized how precious it was to me.” In that, she discovered the mantras and found that they would just roll off her tongue, it was so natural, completely natural. Of course, Deva and Miten also use African chants and they sing Native American chants, and they said that really their love is to bring sacred chants out from every culture.
There is so much included in that, so much brain power, that just one sentence gives the whole story of the creation. Then, also, the songs of Miten, these beautiful songs in English that Miten composes and creates, complement the mantras, they express what the mantras express, but in the English language. As they perform these songs together, they notice that the audience receives the songs and the experience goes deeper and deeper and deeper. I know I need to draw this up.
JANET ATTWOOD: You do!
CHRIS ATTWOOD: I know I do. One of the things we asked them was about the love that they share because it’s so clear that they share a deep and profound love. What Miten said is that the music really has created a depth of love that they could never have imagined together, that where that kind of intimacy and depth that one experiences in a sexual relationship ordinarily, the music has given them a doorway to something that previously they only experienced… [tape break 58:43]
JANET ATTWOOD: Thank you, Chris, so much for that. [tape break 58:50] …nature organized perfectly, so Deva and Miten, if you would sing, it would be wonderful.
DEVA PREMAL: Yes, we want to share the Gayatri mantra. The translation of the Gayatri mantra is, “May all beings on this earth become enlightened.”
JANET ATTWOOD: Our love, Deva. Our love to you, Miten. Thank you.
DEVA PREMAL: Thank you.
MITEN: Thank you, Janet. It’s great to talk to you. Namaste.
DEVA PREMAL: Namaste.
JANET ATTWOOD: Namaste.
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