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40 Years Ago: Carlos Santana Changes Name to ‘Devadip’

Gianni Ferrari, Getty Images

In the early ’70s, a lot of people were searching for answers. Carlos Santana was apparently one of them, and he went so far as to change his name as part of his efforts.

By early 1973, Santana had been introduced to the teachings of Indian guru Sri Chinmoy. It was fellow guitarist John McLaughlin who first took Santana to meet Sri Chinomy, who, according to author Norman Weinstein in the book ‘Carlos Santana: A Biography,’ taught a “disciplined spiritual path that forbade the use of drugs and alcohol and encouraged music and poetry as expressions of thankfulness to the Divine.”

To complete his transformation, in March of 1973, Santana adopted the name of Devadip, which had been ‘given’ to him by Sri Chinmoy. The meaning of the new name was “The light of the lamp of the Supreme.” The new found friendship between Santana and McLaughlin would also lead to the two making the spiritually influenced album, ‘Love, Devotion, and Surrender.’

The peace, love and harmony, however, would not last a lifetime. Santana eventually left the flock of Sri Chinmoy after noticing certain cult-like aspects of the leader. In a later interview with Rolling Stone, Santana said that upon his decision to leave, Sri Chinmoy showed his true colors, describing him as “pretty vindictive for a while” adding, “He told all my friends not to call me ever again, because I was to drown in the dark sea of ignorance for leaving him.”

Next: Original Santana Group Reuniting

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