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From Punk to Monk: Raghunath Cappo on The Wisdom of The Sages, Bhakti Yoga & The Pursuit of a Spiritual Life

By April 29, 2024No Comments
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Episode #829



According to Vedic teachings, our senses are ravenous—constantly seeking gratification and engagement. But what kind of nourishment will you choose to provide them?

These decisions chart the course of our spiritual evolution or devolution from moment to moment. The food and drink we consume, the sounds we absorb, and the sights we take in all influence our thoughts, actions, and how we treat ourselves and others.

My guest today is Raghunath (Ray) Cappo, a hardcore punk icon turned modern-day spiritual warrior and Bhakti yoga devotee, who is back for his second appearance (episode 583). 

During the raucous 1980s hardcore punk scene of New York City’s Lower East Side, a young Ray was at the forefront—his band Youth of Today championing the straight-edge principles of clean living, vegetarianism, and self-control. With a devout following, chart-topping records, and a burgeoning label, Ray had achieved punk rock success well before his 20s. Yet, despite this, his spiritual journey was just beginning.

Despite the accolades, Ray felt an existential void that success alone could not fill. This spiritual yearning prompted him to abruptly abandon it all and buy a one-way ticket to India—the sacred land that stirred his spiritual longing.

What unfolded was a remarkable pilgrimage that whisked Ray from the bustling streets of New York City to the serene ashrams of Vrindavan, where he embraced the ancient wisdom of Bhakti yoga. For six years, he lived as a monk, and Ray became Raghunath. The details of this life-altering journey are captured in his heartfelt new memoir, From Punk to Monk, a testament to the transformative power of spiritual exploration.

“Truth is universal. No religion has a monopoly on wisdom.”


Today, Raghunath shares his insights on the power of living an authentic spiritual life—one rooted in personal growth, integrity, and recognizing oneself as a spiritual being capable of moving forward gracefully despite life’s challenges. He delves into how yoga extends beyond physical practice, settling the mind through meditation, chanting, and reconnecting with one’s divine nature.

Raghunath highlights the spiritual significance of sacred sound, noting the purifying effect practices like kirtan have on consciousness by uncovering the pure soul within. We discuss the importance of intentional morning rituals that shape mindset and actions, service over ego, practicing gratitude, and exercising discernment. We examine the necessity of cultivating a positive mindset by eliminating negative thought patterns as a pathway to inner peace, continued spiritual growth, and more.

For those who prefer a visual experience, the conversation is available on YouTube. As always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

From Punk To Monk GIVEAWAY: In honor of Raghunath Cappo’s recent appearance on the podcast, we’re giving away 9 free copies of his new book, From Punk To Monk to listeners of the show, signed by both Raghunath and Rich. If you would like to enter the giveaway, fill out THIS FORM. Enter by Friday, May 10th, 2024 to secure your entry. No purchase is necessary. See Official Rules ( and our Privacy Policy ( for details. And many thanks to Raghunath for this generous offer.

Raghunath’s story is one of a soul’s courageous journey from angst and alienation to vulnerability and self-discovery.

It’s about trading self-absorption for unity, ego for eternity, and selfishness for selfless service to the divine that resides within us all.

Peace + Plants,

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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for audio engineering, production, show notes and interstitial music; with additional audio engineering by Cale Curtis and additional music by Moby; Blake Curtis & Dan Drake for video, & editing; graphics by Jessica Miranda & Daniel Solis; portraits by Davy Greenberg, Grayson Wilder & Gizelle Peters; copywriting by Ben Pryor; and theme music by Tyler Piatt, Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.

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