voices of the divine
Everybody with a voice can sing, and everyone with a breath in their body can experience their divinity.
This is Deva Premal and Miten’s offering to the world. This is their vision as they share their spiritual devotions through song and chant with thousands of people around the world.
“It’s the same,” says Deva about the connection between their spirituality and music. “Our nourishment and life’s work is to create gatherings around the planet where people can come together in celebration and meditation. I’m just so happy that people can come and sing with us. It’s so beautiful.”
“It’s really my spiritual practice,” says Miten. “We never set out to be successful in worldly terms. It happened because there was a need. If there were no people, we’d still be singing.”
A native of Germany, Deva grew up no stranger to Eastern spirituality. The combination of being raised by a mystic/artist father and a musically gifted mother created a beautiful intertwining of the Eastern world and the arts. On one hand, she learned violin, piano and had voice training. On the other, she was chanting the Gayatri Mantra daily by the time she was five.
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“As a child I didn’t really get the meaning of what we were doing – singing the Gayatri Mantra every evening, chanting the Bhagavad Gita, reciting the ‘Ten Bulls of Zen’ before every meal,” says Deva in an interview with deekshas.com. “But their teachings, and the Eastern way of looking at life and death influenced me deeply.”
At 10, she began to find her own spiritual path with Guru Osho, an Indian spiritual leader who claimed that the greatest values in life are love, meditation and laughter, and that the highest grace in life was in experiencing spiritual enlightenment. He gave her the name, “Deva Premal”, which means “Friend of God”, at 11 years old and she continues to be blessed by him every day.
“He brought me into the present moment…a gift I couldn’t possibly have imagined,” she says.Miten grew up in England the ‘60s amid rock ‘n’ roll and the mania that surrounded The Beatles. Eventually he became a successful singer/songwriter and toured with bands like Fleetwood Mac, Lou Reed and Ry Cooder.
He released two albums, one produced by The Kinks and the other by Los Angeles producer Bones Howe. Nonetheless, he was left in wanting of something deeper and he began an inner search that led him to meditation. Enter Osho.
“After I met Osho, everything fell into place,” he says. “He gave purpose to my life, and an understanding that divine chaos is the essence of it. My eyes were opened to new possibilities which I continue to explore to this day.”
Deva and Miten first met in India, at the ashram of Osho. Their music arose from their love of their Guru, and through their experience of meditation. With a nudge from Miten, who led the evening meditation music, Deva began singing harmony wit him. This led to the rediscovery of the mantras she’d chanted as a child and her true expression flowed freely from it. Now the Gayatri Mantra has become her constant companion.
“They [mantras] are a two-way love affair because you’re asking God for help, asking for liberation,” she says. “But you’re also being grateful to God for all His blessings and gifts.”
“We’ve sung them thousands of times, but every time we sing them they’re refreshed and they have new life,” says Miten. “We’re never like, ‘Oh, not that one again.’ They renew themselves.”
Deva’s parting words for those embarking on their spiritual journey are like the mantras: short and straight to the point. “Trust yourself, even if what you’re gifted in seems too simple. When I found what I do easiest, the world opened up to me in a beautiful way.”