Since I joined about a year ago, Patreon has been a total joy. If you haven’t heard, it’s a new web platform based upon the ancient principle of patronage, wherein fans can become an integral part of the lives of the artists they love. I feel very close with my “patrons” and I’ve been inspired to make and share countless little home movies with mantras, jams, tour videos and much more, some of them silly and some quite serious. I’m continuously touched and humbled by the support the Bhakti community is giving me and I hope to be able to return the gifts a thousandfold for many many years to come.
For the last 15 or 20 years, one of my great joys has been storytelling. This passion got a huge boost when my son Ezra Gopal was born twelve years ago. In between tales of magical eggs and mischievous mice, I always added some stories from the Ramayana. Gradually, at our Kirtan Camps and other gatherings, I began to tell the whole story, from start to finish, sometimes in an hour and sometimes over the course of seven days. As some of you may know, telling and hearing the ‘lilas’ (divine plays) of God and His incarnations is a big part of the Bhakti tradition. The stories themselves, like the mantras, are filled with inherent divine energy and presence, so the speaking and the listening seems to get deeper and more transformative each time, as well as more fun. Because of this, The Ramayana has become a full-on study for me…. I know I make about 1008 errors in every narration but, hopefully, with some help from above, I’ll learn to make only 108… Last year, as part of my “Awakening Bhakti” online course, I told the full Ramayana story in five video episodes, totaling 80 minutes. I’ve decided to offer this as a special gift to my Patreon supporters, in the form of a mini-series!
So if you’ve considered joining me on Patreon, or if this is the first you’ve heard of it, please check out my video below and get a feeling of what it’s about. Then get a comfortable chair and perhaps a cup of chai and enjoy “The Ramayana according to Jai.”
My musical Guru, Ali Akbar Khan, used to speak so sweetly about his time in the Rajasthani court, playing for the king who became his patron and benefactor. Khansahib, as we lovingly called him, claimed he would never have become the maestro that he was without having had that patronage. And the same is true for so many of the greatest artists, playwrights, scientists and musicians of history – they all had patrons helping them to achieve their life’s vision.
Well, it’s 2016 and times have changed. The days of royal patronage are long gone. But now, with crowdfunding and other miracles, we’re relearning the art of giving in a new and very modern way. As we rediscover our interconnectedness and interdependence, we find the awareness that we all need to become patrons of each other.