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Mahamaya Princess, Mahamaya Experience, Ranjit Makkuni


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Throughout the centuries literature and cities in Asia have shared a special symbiotic relationship. Modern metropolitan cities carry the complexity and tension of modern life. The creativity they inspire bears a special genre of literature of discontent and tension conflict and existential angst. In comparison cities such as Kashi, Banaras, the ancient city of enlightenment, revels in a generative environment of traditional learning. As early as the 7th century B C, the sacred city became the focal point of increased intellectual and spiritual activity. And since then, has flourished as one of the greatest centers of traditional learning and of established theological and philosophical discourse. 

This song is largely inspired by our findings about Kasi's intellectual tradition!

From Makkuni, R., Khanna, M., 2002, "Banaras: The Crossing Project," Sacred World Foundation. 


Mahamaya's song about key teachings from Asian philosophies 

Minds that light Asia capture key ideas from a spectrum of concepts and experiences found in Asian philosophies, sung energetically in a rock, funk style.  Verses in the song explicitly calls out different philosopher and their unique contributions to the knowledge of the world, and many innovative instrumental solos punctuate the song!  

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Who's who of sants and teachers that contributed to the intellectual traditions of Banaras, an ancient site of learning, from Ranjit Makkuni's Crossing project, 2000.
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Minds that light Asia!

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Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born in the sixth century B.C. as a wealthy prince of the Shakya clan.


He left his palace in search of truth and enlightenment. After Buddha attained enlightenment, he delivered his first sermon to five disciples at Sarnath and  preached the Four Noble Truths that outlined the middle path for attaining “Nirvana”.




The Great Shankaracharya (8 th century A.D.), himself came down to the city of Kashi and wrote a commentary on Vedantasutra here, known as  Sharirakabhashya.


In Kashi, he encountered on outcaste, a chandala. He asked the outcaste to stay away from the street. It is maintained that the outcaste posed a certain question to him; whether he wanted to be away from his body or soul—the soul, which is omnipresent and all-pervasive. Then Shankaracharaya realized that it was Lord Vishvanatha himself asking him this question in the guise of chandala.


Shankaracharya, went on to write the Manishapanchaka, in which he maintains that if a person is aware of the true nature of the atman, then such a person, even if he is an outcaste was his guru. This interesting work is a

testimony that Kashi thought the great Shankaracharya the real meaning of the Vedantasutras which led to his writing an inspired commentary.




Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Sri Chaitanya (c.1485-1534) was the founder of Vaishnava sect popular in Bengal. He preached his path of love through singing, chanting the name of

God (kirtana) as aids to ecstatic communion between the god and the devotee. This form of worship came to be known as sankirtan.

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Kabir ranks among one of the greatest poets. A weaver by profession, his

poetry is a fine blend of Hinduism and Islam into a single faith.


Kabir believed that there is no need for scriptures, temples or mosques, for where Kabir stands, God himself will find you.

Kabir’s philosophy went against the current to emerge as an alternative faith stream, where religion had no name and God existed in the heart of one and all.

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Kapil Muni

Sage Kapil (7th Century B.C.), the founder of the Samkhya philosophy lived and wrote his great work The Samkhya Sutra, in Banaras. This work forms the philosophical basis of the classical yoga discipline taught by sage Patanjali.

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Kapil Muni