Before #kickstarter or #crowdfunding, I crowdfunded a CD for my Sanskrit Professor Dr. M. A. Jayashree. I think it was the year 2000 (or so). Before smartphones, before everyone could easily and effortlessly record a video or an audio file – we simply walked away with our memories, and other references and memorized (certainly we tried our very best) what we had toiled to learn. After a spell away, I had returned to Mysore and immediately Jayashree said – everyone wants a CD of the Yoga Sutras.
By everyone, that meant 8 or maybe 20 students. I had just come from the stationary shop in downtown Mysore, where my friend, the exemplary flute musician, Ravi Mishra, was overseeing his family shop. I was buying my supplies for my studies, notebooks and a fountain pen and colored ink – as Sanskrit study will always be more engaged with sepia-hued or Jaguar green India ink and an art deco fountain pen. The shop counter displayed Ravi’s CDs, which I enthusiastically added to my haul. Then on to Jayashree’s.
A CD? Well if Ravi had recorded CDs, then we could too! As it turns out, two brothers had opened a digital recording studio – the first in Mysore – and both had studied Sanskrit with Jayashree at the college where she was tenured. How delightful, all the parts were fitting into place. The current tribe of intrepid chanters pledged $5 per CD and away we went. I was in Mysore for 3 months. The CD was completed 1 day shy of 3 months.
The CD we produced had red cover art and though it no longer is red, I’ll call it the Red CD. Even today you can buy a hard copy in the “shop” in her library classroom, or digitally from iTunes.
In 2005, again on return to Mysore, Jayashree said, everyone wants a call-and-response CD of the Yoga Sutras. And so it came to be. It is a 6-hour mp3 of she and I chanting in call and response. I have faced many learning challenges in life and the recording of this CD was one of the greatest. Why? We sang from different sound booths within the studio and I was unable to see her. And so the teaching which seems to flow like honey from the Guru’s lips into the