Born Jeffrey Kagel, Krishna Das grew up in suburban Long Island, where music was part of his life from the get-go. While he dreamed of becoming a rock 'n' roll singer, KD couldn't imagine that as a viable career path for "a white Jewish kid from Long Island." In the spring of 1969, Ram Dass invited KD to join him in New Hampshire. KD then spent the next year traveling across the country as a student of Ram Dass. In August 1970, KD finally made the journey to India. KD's first pilgrimage led him to Ram Dass' own beloved guru, Neem Karoli Baba, known to most as Maharaj-ji, who espoused a potent message of unconditional love. Adopting the name Krishna Das, KD began to chant as part of following the path of Bhakti yoga – the yoga of devotion. "We began to learn how to override the things that close us down," KD says. "Chanting was a way of entering into that flow. The theory is that you develop the strength to continue to override the ability of that stuff to grab you."