British Krishna Monks Rock to the Top of the Chants

PRESTON, England (Reuters) - Britain's Hare Krishna monks have turned to rock to broaden their appeal, laying a heavy backing track behind their famed chanted mantra.

"The mantra is a spiritual sound vibration that purifies the heart. People like rock so we chant to it," said Patita Pavana Rama Das, a monk distributing copies of the "Gouranga Powered Band" CD Tuesday.

"The Hare Krishna mantra is a telephone line to the spiritual world," he added.

The music was recorded live in Hungary last year, he said, with chants by spiritual leader Jai Prabhupada, and backing music by a group of Scottish and Hungarian monks heavily influenced by veteran hard rockers Led Zeppelin.

"It doesn't matter what kind of music it is, as long as the mantra is there," Rama Das said. "It's not just about people liking the music, the sound vibration of the mantra will purify the atmosphere."