Living Meditation: How to Merge Meditation Practice with Daily Natural Life

Glad to share a new video with you, Living Meditation: How to Merge Meditation Practice with Daily Natural Life

You can easily make your life a natural, living meditation. Many people on the path find that balancing formal meditation practice and contemplation of Truth with an active natural life difficult. This is due to seeing spiritual practice in isolation compared to the world. This is the case even for those are steeped in teachings that embrace the world as the Divine itself.

One one side, regular meditators access peaceful states during their meditation practice, but often can become disturbed by various happenings in daily life. They can become worried or anxious that they might miss their meditation practice and then become a wreck during a stressful moment during the day. To avoid this shock, they slowly withdraw and avoid things that could cause this overwhelm and try to do more meditation. On the other side, those who live a very active life can become overly enmeshed in the happenings of their world and body and thus have difficulty finding peace during meditation. They may not want to meditate for fear of how difficult it might be and throw themselves into more and more activity to avoid arising thoughts and emotions.

The key is to discover and access the common aspect that is ever present both in formal practice and natural life. This is of course our own Awareness, or the simple feeling of just Being. This feeling of Being is there in the depths of meditation, dream and deep sleep as well as during active hours of the waking state. It is there with you right now, as you read this and watch this video. During meditation, you notice and rest in this Being, but during active hours, you may forget the Being, the natural Awareness that is aware of everything and become engaged with thoughts and external happenings.

The next step is to begin to notice the feeling of Being or Awareness while you are active. At first, it may not feel natural. So use your work or an enjoyable hobby as a doorway to this practice. Music is a perfect example, but you could use anything, like painting, running, rock climbing, writing, even washing dishes. I have described the method for this with music practice in my previous video, but it is as simple as noticing you are aware and resting in the feeling of Awareness or Being as you are doing the activity, gently relaxing your intention and attention and allowing it to dissolve in Being. You will notice that the activity will continue despite this shift and you will be naturally witnessing your body and arising experiences happening all by themselves. This is active meditation! It is that simple.

Once you are comfortable doing this, you will recognize the simple truth that you are already meditating! By being aware and naturally knowing this, spontaneously, without effort is itself meditation. There is nothing else you need to do to meditate. It is happening automatically, as simple as breathing. It is even simpler than breathing actually. Now outside of formal practice and hobbies, you can be at Home in any situation, anywhere. It continues unbroken, 24/7.

The merging of these two aspects of life leads to more and more freedom, lightness and Peace while continuing to lead an active life in the world as necessary.
The music intro includes an excerpt from the Muthuswamy Dikshitar composition Annapurne Visalakshi in Sama raga, Adi talam.

When there is a spontaneous silence in the talk, please use it as an opportunity to rest in Being. It is left in on purpose. 🙂

Other videos by Prasant on this Topic:

Connect with Prasant:
Satsang (held online via zoom):

If you found this video useful, please share it with friends and loved ones! Prasant is available to speak to your group or organization about Realization Through Music or on approaches to meditate with Sound and Music as well as Satsang. He is also available for concerts, masterclasses, private lessons on the saxophone. You can contact him through his website linked above.

You can also support more of this work by downloading Prasant’s free meditation albums and choosing to contribute there:

#activemeditation #meditation

San Francisco Chronicle Datebook features Prasant Radhakrishnan and VidyA, Indian classical music and Jazz

Last week’s San Francisco Chronicle featured myself and VidyA in a well written article on the front page of the Datebook section.

Here is a link to the article online: San Francisco Chronicle Datebook.

The article is informative and good introduction to what I am doing with my music. One thing I want to point out, is a minor inaccuracy: The article states that I slept on a bare cot behind my guru’s house. This is not really true.

I actually had a special room for me that was attached to the house, and of course there was a cot in that room. The point that I wanted to make with the questions regarding my “gurukulam” or time spent with my guru studying music in India was this: I felt extremely blessed to be taken in by my guru to study the music and he treated me literally like I was his own son. The rigorous training he gave me was like that he would give his own child. In fact, I spent quite a few classes learning along with his younger son, Manikanth (who is now a popular music director in India).


The writer, Andrew Tolve, did a good job of highlighting one of the other aspects, which was that concept of “gurukulam” was not just about classes, but about living with, spending time with and absorbing everything one could from the guru regardless of whether the student was in a “lesson” or not. I feel that I benefited greatly from this aspect of my learning with Padmashri Kadri Gopalnath.


I also want to thank my dear friends and artists Howard Wiley (friend and saxophonist) and Todd Brown (of the Red Poppy and Nefasha Ayer) for saying nice things that ended up in the article.


I am pleased that this article came into being, because it shows that Carnatic music and new directions in Carnatic music are ready for a larger audience in not only the Bay Area, but this country.

Visit to Boston: Playing with Veena, Violin and Double Mridungam

(Edit: 10/22/07: Pictures of this concert have been posted here.

It appears that even after my attempt to get back to posting here, I let a couple months go by again. I moved to a new residence, though I am still in the Bay Area. It was a hectic month packing, moving, painting, and buying/selling/giving away furniture. I also painstakingly set up a sound system: speaker cables/banana plugs and all — definitely a subject of another post.

Anyways, this post is about a concert I am about to do tomorrow evening in Framingham, MA. I will be playing a very unique Carnatic concert with four musicians: Durga Krishnan (Veena), Tara Anand (Violin), Pravin Sitaram (Mridungam) and Mali Santhanakrishnan (Mridungam). Here are the details:

Keefe Tech School,
750 Winter st, Framingham, MA 01702
6th October 2007, Saturday: 4:00 PM

This is a significant event for both myself and listeners, and here is why:

1. A Unique Combination: It is not common to have a instruments such as veena, saxophone and violin performing together in such a format — I suppose it is close to the famous “veena, venu, violin” trio concept that comes around once in a while, but it is agreeably a rare case. We had a rehearsal yesterday just to touch base, and the sound is quite unique. I suppose the double mridungam, while not too common, is also not uncommon at all these days.

Warning: Delving into some instrumental technicalities below!

2. Sruthi and Flexibility in Ragas: The significance here is mainly from my perspective. I will be playing my alto saxophone as I usually do, but instead of playing my normal sruthi of Bb as I do in my solo concerts, I will be playing in D. Most musicians would wonder why that is a big deal. In jazz and Western music, the key/chords are always changing. We have to practice jazz standards in all keys, right?

For Carnatic music it is much different. Of course the details of how that is would be too much to mention here, but suffice it to say, it is a challenging endeavor just to play Carnatic music on the saxophone in one key/sruthi. That is of course because of the difficulty of producing gamakas etc. on the instrument and also the fact that changing the key changes in all ways possible, the complete approach to producing gamakas and rendering Carnatic compositions on the saxophone. For those Carnatic listeners/musicians out there, the only way to adjust to pitch on the saxophone beyond maybe a 1/4 step is to start on a different note, thus changing the fingering. In order to do such a thing, one would have to re-evaluate and re-invent, while slowly perfecting fingering/blowing technique and crafting an approach to playing in the new sruthi, taking into account the limitations of the instrument.

That said, my guru Sri Kadri Gopalnath had initially adapted the saxophone to Carnatic music in Bb taking to account the range and possibilities of the instrument. Having spent much time studying under him and practicing on my own, as well as having many other influences, I still very much agree with his choice of Bb as the best and most musical sruthi for adapting the alto saxophone to Carnatic music.

Why then, do you ask would I change my sruthi for this concert, and how would I actually perform? Good question! For the sake of the group and for trying to have a concert with this instrumentation, it was necessary. I am just taking it as a challenge and hoping that it will in some way, help me develop more. Over preparing for the concert the past few days, I already feel that it is opening up different ideas for me, though in very subtle ways.

The three biggest challenges are limited range, producing appropriate gamakas, and lastly playing compositions and improvising in a completely different fingering set, effectively unlearning my years of practice and muscle memory. Such a thing is commonplace in jazz, but in Carnatic music, it just is not the same, as strange as that may sound to jazz or Western musicians.

So those of you who attend the concert will be able to hear the Carnatic saxophone in a different, much higher pitch than usual. It should be interesting.

Special thanks to all the musicians for going along on this journey.