Deva Premal and Miten are on record as saying that their almost magically blessed life has been brought about because of singing prayers all the while. They also speak of the rich silence achieved when singing, their connection to Spirit and to each other.
Interview by Elizabeth Jewell Stephens
Deva Premal and Miten are the ‘rock stars’ of the spiritual chant world. As well as for their music, they are well known for their strong personal relationship, for being Osho devotees and for their generosity.
Q: Miten, you said in the LA Yoga Journal, in October, 2007, “One song we got: love is the only prayer. Our life, it really is that. We get so much nourishment. That’s why we can do it. A big part is to receive love.”When you speak of receiving love, is it spiritual love, or your partner’s love or love from the audience?
Fundamentally, love is love. There are no subdivisions. How to articulate the word ‘love’ –I think love can only be expressed…not described. For us, we share love through our creativity.
How to explain the feeling of what happens when we chant…? It’s more than emotion; it’s a quality intrinsic in the mantras, like a tidal wave that floods our hearts. When Deva chants, and when we chant collectively, our hearts open, our breathing synchronises with the collective, and love descends.
When I met Osho, I experienced–for the first time–a love that wasn’t connected to the physical. I never touched Osho, never had a cup of tea with him, didn’t agree with loads of things he said, etc. etc., but the love I felt for him just blew me out the water. What an amazing human being! But he was way more than that–something was coming through him that had nothing to do with his physicality. Before that time, my love was focused on the wife/girlfriend/son/parents, etc. –all physical connections.
But what was this love–this unreasonable, inexplicable, inescapable experience?It was not connected to reason. It wasn’t emotive. It was way more than that, and, to answer your question, that love that I experienced back then has swallowed me whole–and I have become that love. I don’t know what to call it –spiritual, sexual, adulation, recognition –it’s more than all of that –it’s un-nameable.
That’s why Deva and I do what we do–to enter into the un-nameable with other like-minded souls, who come to be with us for the same reason.
Beyond that, I never think so much about it –how often do you remember to breathe…? It’s like that –you just breathe. I just live it now, and it all happens as it does.
Q: Is there something you can share with our readers about how they can learn to receive love?
To receive love, we have to drop judgement. This is a great challenge. We are all lost in one way or another –all damaged, all scared beneath the personalities we present to the world.
In the light of that arises a sense of compassion –for all living beings, adrift on planet earth–not just the human variety. This understanding creates the soil of a loving heart.
Q: Deva said, “I never expected to wake every morning feeling like I’m living a miracle, but I do.”Do you have a hint for our readers as to how they might manifest that in their own lives?
I don’t think there is anything we can say that would impact your reader’s lives, but we can sing it –and we can chant it –and, by some mysterious occurrence, we seem to have been cosmically entrusted to share these ancient healing sounds with the world–and therein lies the key.
I would say, come and sing with us. I would recommend you chant with your friends and family; make sacred circles in your homes –even if it’s only for two or three attendees. Come together for an hour or so outside the normal social gatherings, sit in silence, share an inspirational poem, chant a mantra together, move back into silence, close your eyes, and spend an hour in this way once a week –or whenever.
Make a commitment to yourself –this always helps –find your mantra and chant it with Deva every night before sleep. Celebrate yourself!
Q: There’s a 22-year age difference between you. What are the benefits and challenges of that?
Deva being only 20 when we became friends (I was 42) was a great blessing for me. First, remember, we met in Osho’s ashram –and like everyone else there, we were there to discover our true nature. We did this through interpersonal connecting (the fast track!) and by diving into his (rather radical) meditation techniques. These structures helped us to move beyond jealousy and other negative emotions that destroy friendships.
For me, I always wanted to be a friend to Deva and to celebrate her flowering as a woman –into the wise and intelligent being she has become. When we first hugged, I realised there and then that she was an older soul than myself. I felt a deep well of silence that belied her 20 years. It was cosmic.
So, our relationship is very much based on mutual respect for our own spiritual journey. We love to see each other grow, and the music is a great medium for this, because when you play and sing music with someone, you stand naked before them. You are seen for who you are –and this gives a tremendous feeling of togetherness, and, especially when you are in a love affair, it’s easier to be compassionate.
I haven’t experienced any challenges! We have a very sweet time together. I enjoy his company, his humour, his loving ways –and so far things have only gotten better and better over the years –something I never expected…I always thought after the honeymoon it was all downhill!
We’ve been together a long time now, and almost the whole of that time, we’ve spent 24/7 together. The benefits for me are having a friend who is open enough to ‘hear’ me –to honour me and to love me for who I am.
Plus, he has helped me into a realm I would never have explored otherwise: music.
For that I am eternally grateful!
We are both each other’s masteror teacher. We learn from each other, continually. This is the gift of all relationships, isn’t it–to reflect each other?
Being with Miten, I have seen, and learnt, so much about myself. I am continually encouraged and challenged to ‘be myself’–to flower and blossom into my potential, both as a woman and as a musician, and I’m sure Miten would say something similar.
Miten is not afraid of my power, my femininity, or my occasional outburst of anger (very occasional!). I think he loves to watch me grow, just as I do him.
Q: How does your music affect the connection between you? Would you still have such a strong connection if you did not sing together?
Good question!Who knows…? To me, music is the supreme teacher. I see it as a living guru –an alive presence that continually seduces me out of our comfort zone –always challenging, always encouraging…so, to be connected to such a strong and wild spirit is totally inspirational.
There is a tribe (I think in New Zealand..?) where the custom is that, to be married, you have to be able to sing together. This is amazing to me –if we can sing together, in harmony, there is a good chance that our marriage will be harmonious too.
Q: Deva’s CD, ‘Mantras for Precarious Times’ [which LivingNow is giving away to subscribers this month, courtesy of Chris Hooper Promotions, see p.28] has a track giving “salutations to divine worship in the form of love making.” Is your love making always a form of divine worship or are there times of ‘ordinary’ sex?
Our love making includes every aspect of our day…from chanting, to playing music, to eating, to this conversation. As far as the bedroom is concerned, you can say we have fun!
Q: I understand that you guys, as well as giving us all a gift of your music, and giving Spirit the gift of your devotion through music, give generously to groups of people in need, e.g., Nepalese and Tibetan people. Is it fair to ask you what motivates you to do that? And do you feel to share any other details about your giving?
What motivates us to help others is the same thing that motivates you. Why would anyone not reach out and give something of what they have to others in need? It’s a small world and we are a big extended family. Money is a fluid energy –so we use it to enhance our lives and our planetary family. We keep everything as fluid as we can.
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