When a soul acknowledges, when a living entity becomes aware and understands who they are, then wonderful things occur and this album reflects, partially, some of those things.
We caught up with the singer/songwriter, Milan Parmar, as his debut album, ‘When a Soul Acknowledges’, was released last week. Featuring tracks like ‘Death Syrup’, ‘Gold (Chaitanya’s Praise)’ and ‘Return to Godhead’, it is safe to say that this is no ordinary hip-hop album.
Hare Krishna, Milan! So tell me, how did you come to Krishna consciousness?
I first started to read the Bhagavad Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada at the age of 15. I found a deeper substance to life which, I guess, I was searching for subconsciously. Everything from Kṛishna’s words to Arjuna’s questions and Prabhupada’s purports made utmost sense and gave a new vision on life.
Jaya! So what inspired you to make this album?
I have been writing lyrics for over 10 years now and thought why not serve Krishna in this way. Connection with God, Krishna, can be done through a whole range of mediums and it’s also more of a personal expression to God. I find my connection through music, through hip-hop, through poetry and to give that expression to others is key, because they may go through what you go through and find that connection through your expression. I pray this album can also inspire other people with talents to not hold back, and give their realisations to the world, because their words or actions can spark many minds to further spread Krishna consciousness across the planet.
What a wonderful thought! Could you tell us a little bit about the name of the album, ‘When a Soul Acknowledges’?
Why this title? Well, just the way Krishna teaches Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Self-realisation is the step prior to God-realisation. We have to understand our true identities first and then know what and who God is. I find people lose themselves in a society that doesn’t help build them and when you lose yourself, then you basically lose it all. This title reflects the story within the album; it’s about an individual finding himself, acknowledging who they are and from there – finding God, finding Krishna. When a soul acknowledges, when a living entity becomes aware and understands who they are, then wonderful things occur and this album reflects, partially, some of those things.
Do you have a favourite song?
Personally, it’s hard to pick out a favourite but I can say one song that stands out to me is ‘Here Again’. This is the first song on the album and it discusses how we are not these bodies but the living entity within, the soul. When we come to this understanding, then everything around, within, on the outside, wherever and whenever becomes amazing. You have a deeper perspective or vision on life. You appreciate more, you cherish more, you help more, all these things but most of all – which I find extremely important in any day and age – is that you love more. And the most purest, untainted, spiritual and supreme love is between you and Krishna. What more could you ask for?
Wow! I don’t think you could ask for anything more. How long did this project take to complete?
The album took roughly 6 to 7 months to complete, with the help of a very good friend, Sobia Khan, who is the female vocalist on the album, and Deva Deva Prabhu, who mixed down and mastered the songs.
Nice. So what do you hope to achieve by launching ‘When a Soul Acknowledges’?
Well I hope, more like pray haha, to inspire others. Inspire them to go on a spiritual journey, find themselves and not become what society makes them to be. To give them a gateway, a bridge, to Krishna consciousness through hip-hop. Help them feel inspired to make projects whether it be music, art or any other talent they hold. Most of all, a hope or prayer deep within my heart is to bring people closer to Krishna.
I like that. Often we follow a society which is lost itself — there’s no doubt that your sincere efforts will encourage lots of people out there. Where do the proceeds go?
All proceeds go to Pandava Sena to help give to more projects, more seminars etc. To allow others to grow within their spiritual lives and for newcomers to understand Krishna through a new, fun and dynamic atmosphere.
What’s your favourite thing about Pandava Sena?
Favourite thing? Everything haha. Okay if I have to pick one, then it would be that PS allows all youth to express their realisations through any medium that you could possibly think of.
Do you have any advice for anybody who wants to find out more about Krishna consciousness?
Well it would be to not hesitate. If you haven’t tried it, then don’t disregard it. Krishna consciousness has given an extreme amount of benefit to individuals, to families, to societies, you name it. This can benefit you and I have firm faith that it will, and you don’t have to take my word for it, just give it a go. Pick up one of Prabhupada’s books, read with complete attentiveness. Need help? Then ask a devotee at the temple (Bhaktivedanta Manor, Watford) or contact PS through email, phone etc. Krishna consciousness is a big family. This is what Prabhupada has built, so never be afraid to ask a family member for help and direction. You’re trying to find substance to life, the deeper meaning to life, you’re trying to search out love in the topmost form and Krishna consciousness is the one place that you will find all these things, no doubt about it. That’s basically what I would say.
That’s great advice. We really are one big, happy family. Thanks so much for your time, Milan! It was awesome chatting with you and all the best of luck with the album.
– Rishi Ruparelia, studying Management at Cass Business School