RELIGION
09/22/2011 12:35 pm ET Updated Nov 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami Blues: Sacred Sounds Video Of The Week (VIDEO)

Video is courtesy of The Bhakti Beat. Read the story behind Rad Swami's blues. Check out our Sacred Sounds page for all things music and religion.

On Labor Day Weekend (September 2-5) Omega Institute held it’s seventh annual Ecstatic Chant retreat at its campus in Rienbeck, New York. Radhanath Swami joined a large group of musicians including Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Deva Premal and Miten, and the Mayapuris for a weekend of kirtan interspersed with meditation, yoga, and story sharing. Omega's kirtan gathering has become one of the most popular events at Omega as well as one of the nation's largest and most renowned kirtan events.

This years event provided a special surprise for all attending. In his book The Journey Home, Radhanath Swami tells the story of his sitting on a rock in the Ganges River and casting his beloved blues harmonica — a last possession and final vestige of his Western life — into the sacred waters. His heart shivered as he watched the instrument float down-stream and then disappear into the river’s current.

Since the release of The Journey Home Radhanath Swami has been given the gift of quite a few harmonicas, always with the request that he play a little. These requests have always been politely refused - that is until this years Omega Festival.
For over a year the duo Deva Premal and Miten, among of the world’s most popular kirtan artists, had been persistently engaged in trying to persuade Radhanath Swami to play harmonica with them. At the Omega festival they engaged others in their appeal including a senior vaishnava of the Pushti Marg lineage, Shyam Das. With Shyam Das’ encouragement and the cajoling of the large audience, Radhanath Swami agreed to play along to the the blues/gospel classic “You Got To Move” written by Fred McDowell and Rev. Gary Davis.

You got to move
You got to move
You got to move, child
You got to move
But when the Lord
Gets ready
You got to move

You may be high
You may be low
You may be rich, child
You may be po'
But when the Lord gets ready
You've got to move

To the delight, and perhaps shock to much of the audience, Radhanath Swami burst out with some wailing harmonica scales bringing everyone to their feet. The performance was for many the highlight of the weekend.

WATCH Two Minutes of Wisdom with Radhanath Swami: