Naren K. Schreiner represents the sacred culture of India blended with American idealism. He is not only a teacher and musician of India’s sacred traditions, he also represents the sacred lifestyle of India’s ancient religion applied to modern life in America.. He began his own spiritual search when he was 14, exploring different paths and teachers. Two years later he chose to take initiation into the Kriya Yoga lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. In 1996 became a monk in the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram (monastery) of his Satguru, Paramahansa Yogananda. For the next 14 years, Naren lived as a brahmachari (monastic yogi), studying religion, practicing yoga and living the pure, disciplined life of a monk.
Naren was fortunate to spend a few years with a monk from India who was a gifted devotional singer and a classically trained vocalist of the dhrupad genre. He spent quality time with Naren and taught him the basic swarsadhana that Indian vocalists practice. Naren was then given a tanpura (the stringed instrument essential to Indian music) and began to delve deep into the world of India’s raga and sacred chants. In 2010 Naren, with the supportive guidance of his spiritual counselors, chose to leave the ashram and expand his lifework. During a pilgrimage to India that year, he visited many holy places, deepening his spiritual sadhana and expanding his experience and knowledge of ‘the motherland’ that gave birth and raised the divine gurus and sages. In Kolkata, Naren was invited to refine his musicianship at the ITC-Sangeet Research Academy in India, where he studied with maestros of classical music, concentrating on the foundations of “bhavsangeet” — music that is classically-based, yet emphasizes “bhav”, or the divine sentiments.
During his trip to India he had many blessings that pointed him in the direction of India’s sacred traditions and sacred music. In 2012 Naren founded Sangita Yoga in Encinitas, CA. Naren continues to deepen and expand his spiritual understanding and practices under the guidance of Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati at the Kali Mandir, where Naren serves as an assistant pujari.