The Moment Ravi Shankar Saved My Life. ~ Ben Ralston

Via Ben Ralston
on Dec 14, 2012
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I was about 16 years old and profoundly lost.

I was so lost that if God herself had turned up wearing Search and Rescue gear I would have turned away. My head was up my backside and I didn’t know it.

I was an arrogant, traumatized teenager, too armored to allow anyone to see my pain.

I loved my father more than anyone in this world. He was more than a hero. I practically worshiped him—all the more for his unavailability.

And we played chess together. He taught me to play chess when I was about six years old, and that was what we shared most throughout our time together.

What I wouldn’t do for one more game of chess with him.

I’d even let him win.

“But where does Ravi Shankar fit in with this?” you ask.

Well, it wasn’t until 12 years later that I trained as a Yoga teacher. At 16 I had barely even heard of Yoga — I certainly had no clue what it was. And I was sitting there playing chess with Pops when he got up and put on Ravi Shankar’s “Chants of India”. He played me the 15th track on that album: Prabhujee*. Go ahead – press play on the video below.

As the music filled the room all my wounds were soothed.

Balm for the soul.

Now, looking back, I realize that that moment was my first experience of Yoga. The sweet yearning, the devotion, at once melancholic and uplifting. Yoga.

Years later I would learn all the traditional vedic mantras on that CD as I trained in India. I would understand those feelings that Prabhujee evoked in me, and where they came from.

But perhaps without that moment when I was 16 years old none of that would have happened. And I’d perhaps still be lost and arrogant and armored.


So, thank you Ravi Shankar. RIP.

Please share.


*Prabhujee, original composition by Ravi Shankar—scroll down from English translation.

Prabhujee Dayaa Karo,
Maname Aana Baso.

Tuma Bina Laage soonaa,
Khaali Ghatame Prema Bharo.

Tantra Mantra Poojaa Nahi Jaanu,
Mai To Kevala Tumako Hi Maanu.

Sare Jaga Me Dhundaa Tumako,
Aba To Aakara Baahan Dharo.

Oh Master, show some compassion on me,
Please come and dwell in my heart.

Because without you, it is painfully lonely.
Fill this empty pot with the nectar of love.

I do not know any Tantra, Mantra or ritualistic
worship—I know and believe only in you. 

I have been searching for you all over all the world,
please come and hold my hand now.


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


6 Responses to “The Moment Ravi Shankar Saved My Life. ~ Ben Ralston”

  1. guest says:

    Wow, I so needed this right now. This is how I feel, lost and desperate, praying for comfort, praying for faith. Beautiful.Thank you.

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you. Remember, it'll pass. And when it does the world is full of beauty.

  3. shoshanaspa says:

    Thank you for this reminder! Your post reminded me of when I was training to be an Integral Yoga teacher many many years ago and I heard this song. Something happened inside of me and I began to believe that life was at this instant. Of course my path changed and that thought has lead me the rest of my life. To hear this again, reminds me to be now. instant.

  4. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Shoshana, and yes, it's all about being present. Devotion comes very naturally when we're present, because all there is is love, and then you feel it and want to celebrate it and share it.

  5. […] That powerful mix of music, friendship, collaboration and spiritual transformation constitutes a unique legacy. […]

  6. […] believe part of Ravi Shankar’s greatest legacy is and will always be his beautiful daughters, Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones. Although they are […]