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Innovative Devotee Harmonizing Spiritual Melodies with the Gita Govinda

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(iskconnews.org) – Innovative Devotee Harmonizing Spiritual Melodies with the Gita Govinda

Bhadra Rupa Das lecturing at UNESCO headquarters. Paris, 2019.

In music, few artists have achieved the remarkable synthesis of spiritual depth and artistic greatness within research, education, and innovation at the highest level, as Bhadra Rupa Das. From his early days as a prodigious soloist flutist in Lima, Peru, to his international acclaim as a master of his flute invention, Bhadra Rupa’s journey has been a fascinating tale of dedication and devotion. Beyond his captivating melodies, his engagement with the timeless verses of the Gita Govinda has left an indelible mark on the world of music and spirituality.

Beginnings

Bhadra Rupa’s musical odyssey began at age nine when he graced audiences in Lima, Peru, with enchanting concerts. His exceptional talent caught the attention of many, leading to his crowning moment at 15 when he received the prestigious 1st prize as Peruvian’s most gifted flutist (on the Quena) in the Latin American folk music style awarded by Peru’s Ministry of Education. The Quena is a traditional Andean wind instrument played for centuries by the indigenous people of the Andes Mountains in South America. The accolades continued to pour in, propelling him to Japan, where he began his career under the guidance of Hideo Kanze, a renowned master of “Noh” theater. Noh is a traditional form of Japanese theater that dates back to the 14th century and combines elements of drama, music, dance, and poetry to create a unique and highly stylized performance.

It was in Japan, at the age of 18, that Bhadra Rupa’s artistry reached its zenith. He earned the title of the world’s most talented Quena player, captivating audiences with the haunting melodies in his compositions on the ancient Inca’s flute. Embracing a monk life at 19, Bhadra Rupa embarked on a transformative journey of spiritual exploration, disseminating wisdom through lectures and distributing thousands of Bhagavad Gitas to university students across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

Reflecting on his spiritual journey, Bhadra Rupa said, “My time as a monk was marked by the vagaries of life. I found solace in Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita, and my music became a means to convey profound spiritual messages to people.”

His dedication and fervor led him to organize festivals transcending boundaries, including one that drew more than 4,000 non-devotees – the largest festival in Peru’s history. Bhadra Rupa’s unwavering commitment to spreading Krishna Consciousness earned him the esteemed ISKCON European Excellence Award within the domain of “Scientific Presentation of Krishna Consciousness,” presented by the European RGB. 

Innovation

Bhadra Rupa also stands as a trailblazer in the realm of innovation. His unique flute invention, combining ancient musical traditions from around the world with European sensibilities (the Inca’s flute head joint connected to the key mechanism of the European transverse flute), earned him two master’s degrees awarded by Lund University in Sweden. According to this university, this was the first time in the history of music that a musician earned a university degree based on his musical invention. Bhadra Rupa earned official recognition as one of the world’s most talented flutists by the National Flute Associations from Sweden, USA, UK, and Australia by performing his compositions on his flute invention at their gala concerts. The President of the Parliament of Peru, the Mayor of Lima, and other mayors from the country awarded him due to his flute invention as a revolutionary multicultural musical instrument.

Education

Holding a PhD. in educational sciences from the University of Geneva, Bhadra Rupa Das became a member of the research team on the Didactics of Arts and Movement (DAM), where he has mentored Ph.D. students. According to this University, his Ph.D. dissertation, a pioneering work, investigated the musical didactics of ancient cultures within a Western European context, bridging the gap between traditional music and contemporary education. “My research work aimed to preserve and promote the musical heritage of ancient cultures, fostering cross-cultural translation through understanding and appreciation,” shared Bhadra Rupa. 

Research

In recognition of his educational contributions, the National University of Education of Peru granted him an Honorary Doctorate Degree during an official ceremony at the Parliament of Peru. His research found its way into academic articles published by prestigious institutions, including the United Nations’ official magazine, UN Special, and lectures at renowned universities worldwide.  

Bhadra Rupa Das is studying the Gita Govinda with Pandit Gopal Candra Panda, an awardee by India’s National Academy of Arts. Orissa, 2019.

Recording Artist

Bhadra Rupa is a Sony Music recording artist (flutist and composer). His solo album, “Rainbow of Endless Love,” is an artistic collaboration between some of the highest awarded Indian artists of India’s National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama in New Delhi, India; Ithaca College in New York, USA; Sony Music International Japan, and the University of Geneva, Switzerland. It is an expression of devotion that explores the timeless Gita Govinda through a contemporary presentation of musical mastery. According to India’s National Academy, it is the first time in history that an entire music album based on the Gita Govinda has been produced and released worldwide by an international music company such as Sony Music. Bhadra Rupa shared, “The Gita Govinda is a masterpiece of lyrical poetry, my spiritual master’s instruction, HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, to infuse its verses with music, was a melodic enchantment of endless blessings. It was a transcendent experience to intertwine my music with Jayadeva’s profound expressions of love and devotion.” The Record Collectors magazine (the Japanese Billboard) has chosen “Rainbow of Endless Love” album as one of the best musical productions of 2020, appearing together with albums by Elton John, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, Charlie Parker, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, and Jimmy Hendricks.

UN Human Rights Education Ambassador

Through his effort, Bhadra Rupa’s contributions transcended the musical sphere, as he assumed the mantle of a UN Human Rights Education Ambassador, collaborating with the United Nations to promote the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. He uses music (based on kirtan) as a unique and wonderful tool for character building and the full development of human personality in children and the youth, one of the main aspects of Human Rights. His work will be presented during the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to contribute through written statements to the fifth phase of the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education (2025-2029).

Bhadra Rupa Das with Hridayananda Das Goswami, research artistic director of “Rainbow of Endless Love” album. London, 2019.

Recognizing that it is through the mercy of the Vaishnavas that anything is possible, Badra Rupa thanks his spiritual teacher, Jayapataka Swami, for the personal instruction that has allowed for the possibility of his service. He thanks Hridayananda Das Goswami, his siksa guru, for guiding all this service. And the team behind the efforts that constitute this service: Kardama Muni Prabhu, Rupa Manjari Prabhu, and Guru Vrata Prabhu; his spiritual advisors: Mahatma Prabhu, Akrura Prabhu, Iksvaku Prabhu, and Medini Mataji.

For more information, you can email Bhadra Rupa Das.

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