Krishna Das traveled to India in August 1970 where, as Ram Dass had done, he studied with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji). Krishna Das has studied ancient Indian meditation practices, Bhakti Yoga - in Hinduism this is the yoga of devotion, and is now devoted to singing and teaching. He has released several CDs, and he travels around the world giving performances and teaching, sometimes with Ram Dass. In recent years he also has often led workshops in combination with meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. He has also offered workshops with yoga teacher Dharma Mittra. In India, he visits Rishikesh for practicing Yoga and meditation.
Krishna Das is arguably the best known U.S. singer of Indian kirtan-style devotional music. Other artists working within this genre include Bhagavan Das, Jai Uttal, Ragani, Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band, Shyamdas, Lokah Music, Wah!, Deva Premal, Girish, Shantala, Gina Sala and David Newman. He was referred to as the "Rockstar of Yoga" by the Grammys when he was nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award.
Krishna Das has recorded numerous variations of Hanuman Chalisa, a 40 stanza Hindi devotional poem to Hanuman by Tulsidas. In recent years, he has also performed and recorded the traditional gospel song, "Jesus is on the Mainline." Other heterodoxies are found on his album Door of Faith, which includes a setting of the Hanuman Chalisa that interpolates the Buddhist "Gate of Sweet Nectar," and a setting of the Gospel tune "God is Real," which blends in "Hare Ram".
Krishna Das's harmonium bears an image of Hanuman, and he generally wears red T-shirts when he performs (a coloring associated with Hanuman).
Krishna Das's musical style is distinctly Western, using chord progressions typical of Western popular music. The kirtans he leads often build from a slow, meditative tempo to a high paced catharsis. It is common for his audiences to stand up and dance during some of his Hare Krishna chants. The ensembles with which Krishna Das performs change frequently. He is usually accompanied by a tabla player (Arjun Bruggeman), other percussions (including cymbals, drum kits, and occasionally cowbell and triangle), strings (cello or violin—Genevieve Walker), or electric bass guitar (Mark Gorman, Mark Egan or Patrick Hammond), or guitar (David Nichtern). Often, he is accompanied on kartals (or karatalas, small cymbals, also known as manjeera) by Nina Rao.
Krishna Das has been associated with many other artists. Two of his albums have featured Hans Christian as a guest multi-instrumentalist, and Sting appears on the album Pilgrim Heart. He has also appeared on an album with Baird Hersey & Prana entitled Gathering In The Light. Walter Becker of Steely Dan plays bass guitar on and Co-produced All One, which also features Rick Allen (drummer) of Def Leppard on drums and Steve Gorn on flute. Ty Burhoe plays tabla on several albums. Rick Rubin produced Breath of the Heart.
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