Monestel Magic Morphs the Monastery

Cool dude and Calypso maestro Manuel Monestel performed and taught at our ashram on December 9 and 10. He had us all singing along and taking risks of singing solo with his reassuring accompaniment. The legendary Tico virtuoso really showed his stuff, and throughout his stay he generally emanated his famous savvy magic vibes. It was a weekend to be stored in long term memory for all who had the good luck to be there and the neurons to record it.

A true “servidor” of the people of Costa Rica, Manuel has devoted his life to the artistic expression of the folk idiom of soulful narration of real true stories that is known as calypso, a Caribbean-centered musical form that unites deep psychosocially aware lyrical poetry with afro-Caribbean polyrhthyms that support the singer’s stoic laughter at the absurdity of ego life. 

We had just initiated a new course at the Sat Yoga Institute, our ashram wisdom school, delving into the theme of creating Divine Renaissance. Manuel came a few days later, to share his music and his memories with us. One of the main threads of each of the classes on renaissance is the revival of the noble qualities of the divine masculine and feminine. In his own way, through an ascetic path of singing the complaints of the oppressed, and shunning commercialism or fame, he expressed the stoic/samurai qualities of the heroic masculine soul, the animus.

Radha Ma and Manuel shared many hours of conversation, as she was once a master’s degree student in afro-Caribbean folklore. Monestel’s love of truth and active idealism has shaped his life, and he remains committed to this day to his beloved art form.


His voice, according to Radha Ma, is “tropical classical,” rich in the overtones and the undertones of a singing style fully saturated with deep feeling and existential streetwise humor. This was contrasted beautifully with the humble joy and spontaneous simplicity he displayed as he shared each of his songs to the sangha and explained the history of calypso’s decline as a vehicle for the current generation.

“I was struck most by the soaring emotion filled with light and compassion of his song Habitante Eterno de la Tierra,” Radha Ma revealed. “Having spent time in isolated indigenous communities of Latin America in my youth, and now living atop a mountain in southern Costa Rica, as a kind of isolated inhabitant of this new-old land, I felt his words blended past and present in such a way that brought a new afcept—Shunyamurti’s term for a concept that is pervaded by and elucidates an affect. I fell into a deep listening absorbed in selfless presence, entrained by his soothing shamanic voice taking us all on a journey down into the soul of song. He led us into the vortex of this patch of Pachamama that has become the new Mountain of Light of the West, which is miraculously resonating with the Absolute Self, manifesting as the “native” Being of Nature, Natura Naturans, flowering in total synchronicity with the whole of God’s wondrous dream.

As part of his own spontaneous nature—a signature of calypso culture, but even more, of that uncomplicated way of being of those who have mastered their art—unflappable Manuel sat with Radha Ma and they created a song together based on Shunyamurti’s lyrics that he had written the day before. Manuel effortlessly arranged it with his original music. Manuel and Radha Ma performed it together the next evening for the sangha.

Manuel with Radha Ma, and below sharing the beautiful calypso magic in an original song:

When will you let me be free?Anxiety,
You push joy away from me!

Why should love cause such worry?

Why be scared of creativity? 

I’m done with you, anxiety
I’m divorcing you permanently!

I’m living in happiness
To vulnerability I say yes! 

I will sing out to the world!
All the bliss my heart does swirl!

There’s no such thing as anxiety!
Every soul is completely free! 

There’s no illusion of anxiety!
Everybody is truly free!

There could never be anxiety:
The one Self is we! 



It was a moment of joyous synergy—closely blending the comedic poetry of Shunyamurti with Manuel’s unique composition skills, woven into singular sound with Radha Ma’s inimitable voice, as the unplanned expression of the truth of the moment. “Get over your anxiety! Its all perfect. Per-form. Be in form, the form of true eternal inhabitant of the land of the Atman, and everything will be arranged.”

Radha Ma continued: “I was seeking a musical colleague, and out of the blue an ashram nivassi, Prema, called her old teacher Manuel, offered him to visit and he gladly accepted, and suddenly an event was unfolding out of the zero point. How a national treasure of a musician like Monestel was willing to visit our ashram cannot be rationally explained. But that is an example of the surprise that forms the indeterminate essence of divine renaissance.”

Then, like a good father, Manuel accompanied all the nivassis wanting to join in the energy field of this gifted musician in an open mike session. The lesson of this event was revealed in the feeling of love with which the music filled our hearts. We are grateful to Shunyamurti for having such a wide horizon of vision that allows such events to happen at our ashram. He understands how to translate all events into their spiritual meaning, so that Sat Yogis can learn to translate every situation into wisdom. We received as a boon of Monestel’s visit yet another seed of renewal that is even now being born on the waves of a yet unheard music wafting on the secret de-collapsing wave function that is opening the quantum unified field of our lives to a new level of cosmic wholeness. This luminous presence is sustaining the vibrational frequency of our ashram and configuring the Divine Renaissance to come.

Manuel with Jagdish, Prema and Hanuman, Mahalakshmi and Tara

Un indio vuela por el bosque
Sus alas ancestrales huelen a milenios de tradición
Su vuelo es comunión con la floresta sagrada de Sibú
Es de los awapa de su pueblo
Conoce todo lo que vuela camina o se arrastra en este mundo
Sabe del aire su destino, sabe de su gente su camino
Conoce el subsuelo que es su amigo
Y lo sabe defender de su enemigo
Habitante eterno de la tierra
Corazón de jaguar, alma de selva
Deja que tu espíritu vuele hasta nosotros
Y nos enseñe nuestro verdadero rostro
Un indio vuela por el bosque
Sus alas ancestrales huelen a milenios de tradición
Su vuelo es comunión con la floresta sagrada de Sibú
Es de los awapa de su pueblo
Habitante eterno de la tierra
Corazón de jaguar, alma de selva E
Deja que tu espíritu vuele hasta nosotros E
Y nos enseñe nuestro verdadero rostro

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