About the Author - Sankirtana Das
The text and timeline for this site has been prepared by Sankirtana Das.
He has been a practitioner and presenter of the Hare Krishna tradition,
philosophy and literatures since 1971. He first explored the roots of
the Hare Krishna Movement in America for a college course project in
1969. In college, he majored in theater and film making (CUNY '70). He
met Srila Prabhupada in 1971 in Detroit and became his initiated student
in 1973. Two years later, he received brahminical initiation. He and
his family moved to New Vrindavan in 1976. There he became artistic
director for the theater program. He wrote, directed, and performed
in many dramas that became popular throughout the movement, including
his solo performance of the aging poet/monk Krsnadas Kaviraj and the
story of Bilvamangala Thakur who blinded himself so that he would
not be allured by worldly temptations.
In 1987, Sankirtana and his long time friend and associate, Locamangala
Das (Leonard Jones), co-produced The Mahabharata, India's classic
epic. Their project had been in the making for several years, and was
unique in that it involved only two actors, serving both as storytellers
and playing multiple roles. As is traditional in Sanskrit drama, the
performance included on stage musical accompaniment, and also involved a
Bharatnatyam dancer. In the fall of '87 they opened The Mahabharata Off
Broadway in New York City. Their five week run coincided with the run of
international director, Peter Brooks' own nine hour production of the
same epic, which included a cast of over thirty.
In his theater work, Sankirtana explored the dynamics of the
storyteller/actor. By 1989 he began to focus most of his attention on
storytelling. He developed Sacred Voices, a solo piece that showcased
stories from a variety of sacred traditions. He became a member of the
National Storytelling Network and is their liaison for West Virginia.
Currently, Sankirtana travels extensively as a multicultural and sacred
storyteller, offering programs at special events, conferences, and in
schools from K through college. He tells stories from around the world
and also offers workshops on the uses and dynamics of storytelling. He also continues to make
presentations in many colleges on the growth of the Krishna movement,
the Vedic philosophy and culture of Sanatana Dharma (The Eternal
Path), and the epic stories of the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas.
Notably, he has given presentations at NYU's Center For Near Eastern
Studies, the Religious Communications Congress 2000, the 1993 Parliament
of World Religions Centennial, and at other interfaith gatherings and
conferences. He is also the author of The Fish Who Wouldn't Stop Growing
And Other Wisdom Stories From Ancient India.
For more information concerning the topics on this site or about his
presentations contact Sankirtana das (Andy Fraenkel) at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sacredvoices.com