The Monk Dude
Los Altos Hills — In 1984, I walked into the Greenpeace office in Adelaide, Australia, seeking information about the Blue Whale. There I learned that this remarkable animal, the largest ever to have lived on this Earth and one of the most intelligent and sensitive, was severely endangered.
Hunted almost to extinction, they have been protected since the 1960’s but their numbers have been slow to recover. Their gestation period of two years makes for a slow breeding cycle, and once their numbers were depleted so badly it was hard for them to find one another in the vastness of the open ocean, in order to mate and breed and maintain their population.
On the way home, I wondered how it would feel to be the last of the species. It seemed like a tragedy beyond comprehension: imagine the plight of the last survivor, fearing but never knowing if it really was the last.
Songs seldom come to me intact, but this one did, Ocean of Tears – the Song of the Last Blue Whale. The story is simple, but I’ve seen it capture the imagination of audiences across the world. It is my most requested song.
I remember one night I was performing the song at an outdoor festival with a group of musicians including an oboe player. Suddenly we lost all power – all lights and amplification were gone. All the crowd could hear was the mournful sound of the oboe continuing to play on in the darkness. The effect was so powerful that everyone thought it was deliberate.
Soon after I wrote Ocean of Tears, I travelled to India to visit my spiritual master, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. I’d been experiencing some doubt over this whole matter of my getting into performing and recording music, when I’d just given all of that up in order to become a monk.
During one meeting with the Master, he started talking to me about conservation and species extinction and he looked right at me and said very solemnly, “and the great whales, do they not also have the right to live?” As he spoke a wave of sadness filled the whole room and I knew that he loved the whales as he loved all and he was telling me that he definitely wanted me to write and sing this song and more like it.
In 2013, I was blessed with an opportunity to see blue whales in the wild off the coast of Southern California. Their numbers have slowly been increasing, and on that day we saw five of the magnificent creatures. An 80 foot mother and her calf approached our boat and I watched her staring at us with great intelligence, each of us wondering what kind of mind lived behind the other’s eyes. Then she dived, twenty foot flukes rising into the air in a classic pose and with a great splash and a swirl of water she was gone.
Link to Video: Ocean of Tears http://youtu.be/xzgk_zg44nU?list=PLQiz3C0j-HFN_B7OjCLUjwScrzGmUtNMb
(About the Writer: Dada Nabhanilananda, also known as the Monk Dude, is a yoga monk and an award winning songwriter, a meditation instructor and author. He lives in Los Altos Hills in California. For more of his music and works, visit his website on www.themonkdude.com.
You can also support his works through the Enlightened Leader campaign http://www.rockethub.com/