Goa Gil: A Tribute to a Psychedelic Trance Pioneer and Icon

Updated 7 months ago

Chang Island Thailand

1951 – October 26, 2023
Goa Pioneer
Goa Gil on Wikipedia
Rolling Stone India

“October 2023 will long be remembered as one of the heaviest most profound and sad periods in the multi generational, global community that is psychedelic trance. Following on the heels of Oct 7, our world is yet rocked again by the passing of one of our most enduring icons.

It’s not a hidden secret that I’ve had some rather vocal opinions about Goa Gil over the years, but one’s opinions and hot takes are just that… the ramblings of a singular experience.

The weight and impact of man who has profoundly affected so many for so long surely transcends the soap box of a malcontent such as myself.

Goa Gil was truly the definition of a living. legend. One whos influence and dedication to the music and the scene touched countless dancers and hearts around the world. The dance floor and healing holistic experience we all bask in would not be how it is today if not for his dedication to openness and the discipline of meditation through dance

We owe much of who we are today regardless of where our musical styling lay to the bedrock and foundation that one our undeniably greatest pioneers laid down so many years ago.”
Lawrence Chavoya

Goa Gil Memorial

Dear Global Community,

Words are inadequate for what we wish to communicate with you.

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you news of Shri Mahant Managalanand Puri aka Goa Gil has left his worldly body in the comfort of his home. Babaji was cared for in his final days by his family, devotees & friends.

In his final days Babaji wished to send his love and blessings to all and wanted to thank everyone for the love and support he has received over the years. He was at peace and was ready for his onward journey.

We thank you for your respect and support during this sensitive period.

If you wish to know more about the current situation, give dakshina or donate to his final expenses, please check the link below.

Nyanim 1
meets Goa Gil

December 17, 2005
by Machinelf 

Goa Gil will be playing in New York City over New Year’s 2005.  When he answered our questions via email, he added various pictures and icons.  The following is the email received from him “as is.”  Goa Gil is a living legend who needs no introduction; he is a living embodiment of GoaTrance and was in many ways goa trance/psy-trance’s obstetrician.


hi jeff,

namaste and greetings from kalifornia !!!

here are the answered questions !!!

please keep the whole thing intact as one thing,

and please do not edit, or remove, any of the answers or the questions !!!

so here you go:

In a message dated 12/5/2005 2:16:05 P.M. Pacific SA Daylight Time, machinelf@tranceam.org writes:

When I was selling advertising for the Mayor of New York’s financial company Bloomberg LLC in 1998-9, I would pop your Spiritual Trance CD in the rental cars as I was driving around Texas.  I think the music made me not want to do work that felt so inherently meaningless, so I eventually left for an extended period of (I’ll use a euphemism here!) technobohemianism.  I know it wasn’t like I was Manson listening to the White Album, but I’ve always wanted to ask you, did you program that message in yourself or was the big ole Trance Rorschack Blot?

interview goagil image012

the spiritual trance cd…

that is quite a long time ago..  more than 10 years !!!

it is the Cosmic Spirit who programs all the messages,,

guiding us through what we call inspiration !!!    

I love the photo of you in 1970…. you looked like Jesus, but even then you had those deep soul staring eyes.  But your face was like a baby, with the whole world in your future.  Where were you in that photo?  Did your beard come much later?

that photo was taken in india in mid 1970 sometime…

i was 18 years old at that time….

i know it was 1970, because in the beginning of 1971,

i shaved my head at the sangam,

the confluence of the ganga, yumuna, & sarasvati rivers

on the occasion of the ardh kumbh mela,

where i was staying with one of my guruji’s in the juna akhada….

What kind of upbringing did you have?  I assume classic baby boomer postwar 1950s Beaver Cleaver variety.  Were your parents closet beatniks?  Jazz musicians?  Descended from Vikings? Communists? Are you Jewish?  What gives (there has to have been a mutant strain in there somewhere 🙂 

wow, you want my whole story !!!

maybe we better do this on the phone !!!   🙂

i am 5 generations san franciscan…

my great great grandfather came here in the mid 1800s

and they started a tobacco, tea, and coffee import business

in the gold rush era and did very well !!!

when my great grandfather inherited the business,

he sold it, invested the money,

and they went travelling around the world…

they were some of the first tourists !!!   🙂

my grandfather and his brother travelled with them,

and my grandfather turned 18 in india in 1910 for example…

he became a professional photographer,

and every year when i was in grammer school,

he used to come to our school and show a slide show of his photos

from india and around the world…

so that was a big influence,

also my both parents were very musical…

my dad was born and raised in honolulu, hawaii,

so he was always playing ukelele and singing hawaiian songs,

and my mother sang, played piano, and tap danced also !!!   🙂

so all of these things were a big influence…

Did you move to San Francisco in ther 60s or were you from there? 

although my family is an old san fran family,

when my mom and dad married they moved to fresno, california,

where i lived the first 10 years of my life,

as there were many oppurtunities there at that time…

we moved back to the bay area in the early 60s

and i had my teenage years growing up in marin county,

and hanging out on haight street a lot !!!   🙂

If so did you ever run into the Ken Kesey people?


Did you ever live the Electric Kool Aid Test SF scene?


Did you ever go the Psychedelic Circus in NYC in its hayday?  We  did a party there before it got turned into condos  in the late 20th Century:-(

no, never went to new york in the 60s

What cool pleces were there outside of India in the late 60s early 70s?

amsterdam, tangiers and marrakesh, mikinos,

istanbul, teheran, afghanistan, katmandu, bali,

just to name a few…  

there were many cool places

hidden away from the world in those days

Did they try to draft you for Vietnam?


well kind of…

i turned 18 in tangier, morocco, in 1969,

so i registered at the us embassy there,

because i was travelling

i got registered to the foreign board in washington d.c.

by the time i recieved my induction papers a year later,

i was living with my Guruji in a temple in kashmir, india,

and had already received my initiation as a hindu monk !!!

so i wrote a whole paper on our rules of monkhood

and our vow of ahimsa (nonviolence in thought, word, and deed)

and my Guruji also wrote a letter for me,

as did the chief of police of srinagar, kashmir,

and then when i got my draft card i was designated as 4D

minister of religion or student of divinity,

so i was exempt from the draft….

interview goagil image004

You’ve been an musician all your life.  Can you expound a bit on that?  What instruments did you play, what were your influences,I’m guessing you were into jazz and early psychedelia, maybe Ravi Shankar and Roky Erickson, 13th Floor Elevators, Can, Eno, Yellow I heard, Pink Floyd, that kinda stuff…

i first played piano from very early age, but soon switched to guitar…

my first 45 single was elvis

my first vinyl album was the ritchie valens memorial album

i was into all the music of the time,

starting with early rock and roll, motown and soul,

blues, jazz, and the acid rock from san francisco in the 60s…

i saw everybody live, as i was involved in the san francisco music scene

working for chet helms and the family dog at the avalon ballroom…

saw the beatles last us concert at candelstick park,

saw the stones with brian jones, saw pink floyd with sid barrett,

saw dylan when he did his first electric tour in the like a rolling stone era,

saw jimi hendrix a number of times and even hung out with him

the first time he came to san francisco before monterey,

and i knew most of the san francisco bands at that time on a first name basis

(drank quite a few rainier ales with janis joplin on haight street in the early days !!!   )

anyway, the list goes on and on !!!

i have always been very passionate about the music,

and have been through nearly every style of music

to arrive to where we are today !!!

Were there any uncannily prescient sonds from the 60s, 70s, 80s that predicted the psytrance soiund? 

for me it all has been one evolution

of music and musical education

that has brought us to where we are today musically…

Has your Kundalini ever unleashed itself serpent style?


What is it about Babas that set them apart from others, and connect them to others?  Do they have their own secret codes?



What’s your current passions, music and otherwise?

God and music, in that order…

Any labels or artists that you think are doing groundbreaking things, in of course no particular order of favoritism?

same as above

interview goagil image006

From Bryan Ladd – What do you think about the barrage of new dark psy springing up all over the US and the rest of the world?

great !!!   

my quest for the musical holy grail

has been an unceasing search for new sounds and new beats !!!

and most of the new ideas that are pushing the boundries further

come from the global underground….

and for me,

this is the most interesting and psychedlic music at the moment !!!

if you have been into this music as long as we have,

you get bored of hearing the same old thing all of the time….

we need something stronger !!!     

Do you think on-line music file sharing is helping or hurting your success?

it doesn’t really phase me,

never really think about that…

but probably it has helped…

as it has given access to the music globally,

and in places where, normally,

people would not be able to come into contact

with such underground sounds…

interview goagil image008

I personally think (and I bet I’m in the majority) that mixing things up with other genres adds a great freshness to the Goa sound and brings thing back to the original fertile sands of Goia in the 70s..  Mixes of Front 242 and Cabaret Volataire?  I’ve heard some stuff from Skazi..  Is making psy-trance back to its mix it up roots like HipHop used to be a good directionh for aspiring producers?

i think that whatever you believe in you should do…

and maybe then you might come up with something new !!!

everything is about inspiration and believing in what you are doing !!!

after that,

music is a question of taste…

some people like italian food,

some people like japanese food, etc etc etc

it is all a question of taste…

Some have said that the pairing of you and Ariane has brought a harder sound into the mix.  Is this a coincidence?

ariane has been with me since 1986,

and we have always liked the harder side of the music…

for example, our favorite group of the 80s was front 242…

but ariane did bring a lot of the african tribal feeling into the music !!!

I think beat matching is no substitute for inspiration, composition and relevance.  Agree/Disagree?


I think some may thin you live in a hut or a clay temple in India somewhere, with the I think some may thin you live in a hut or a clay temple in India somewhere, with theonly nod to technology being computer and audio.  Are there any other handy westernized techno tools you use for music or otherwise?

sometimes it is like that !!!  

in india, a cellphone with a usb broadband internet connection

over the phone also comes in handy !!!  and a camera !!!

From Bryan Ladd, Easthampton, Mass – Where do you think the next step is for Psychedelic/Goa trance?

it will keep evolving in unexpected directions, i’m sure !!!

From Bryan Ladd, Easthampton, Mass – – Where do you see the music in 10, 25 and 50 years?

God only knows !!!

From Scott Abott, Allentown PA – How does the psy trance movement / community  compare in its accomplishments and momentum to the psychedelic and peace movements of the 60’s?  

well, we are trying !!!

at least now it is a global movement,

with circles of light all over the planet

in communication with one another through the internet !!!

so we have made a lot of progress

from our humble roots on a deserted beach in goa !!!

From Scott Abott, Allentown PA  – Do you think psy trance will ever gain broad appeal in the United States? If so, will it survive the mass influx of people and commercial interests that come with sudden fame?

that is the problem !!!

to keep the original spirit and feeling intact

when it becomes too big

or one becomes too successful !!!

the pitfalls are many !!!

one must be strong and remember his duty !!!

that is where a good spiritual and moral foundation is important !!!

when one in One in the Spirit,

then one can withstand the pressures of success & fame,

remaining pure within the framework,

and staying true to the mission !!!

in pure service to the Divine Will.


I heard you and John Draper AKA Cap’n Crunch ran into each other in India.  He’s had a wild life, and now seems to be on the rebound doing things like giving computer security lectures at West Point..   (comment if you will 🙂


he did visit me in goa,

at my dhooni (holy fire),

when he was there a number of years ago…

glad to hear he is doing well !!!

haven’t seen him in quite a long while !!!

What else are you into besides the music?  I assume you don’t play first person shooter video games…  Anything that may surprise anyone? 

Being a servant of God, Ma, Shiva,

the Cosmic Spirit, or whatever you want to call it,

Music, and the numerous duties of life, take up most of my time,

there is little time for video games….

Are there any good nutritional/dietary advice from your travels and exposure to so many cultures?


be kind to animals by not eating them !!!

i have also done very well since i stopped drinking coffee,

chai, and sweet drinks a few years ago, and started drinking a lot of green tea !!!

my best diet is a fruit diet, as when i do that i feel sooo pure and energized !!!

Any emerging technologies that will be majorly trance inducing do you envision for us?

Boxers, briefs, nothing?

how about a biofeedback virtual kundalini meditation program ?!!??

Are there any psychedelic drugs that no one has tried that you may recommend, for research purposes of course.

that is not my main area of expertise !!!

perhaps you should ask that question at the hofmann symposium next january !!!

Any thoughts on the New World shamanism of the ayahuasca variety? 

no comment as i have no experience with this movement…

Do you see the pairing of psy-trance and Mexico/Brazil as a natural evolution?

i see it as a natural evolution globally,

as in earlier times,

every tribal group on the planet has used music and dance

to communicate with the Cosmic Spirit and become One with It !!!

and this is what we are doing for this time we live in now

by redefining the ancient tribal ritual for the 21st century !!!

You’ve travelled far and wide in your life… as a forerunner and pioneer in the first truly globalized transmogrified music movement that breeds fertile grounds for exchange of ideas from many world cultures, where do you think is the Next Best Shore for psychedelic trance?

the moon ??!!??

Where do you think UFO’s come from?

from uranus.

Do you think Timothy Leary was the devil? 


Any opinions on his Intelligence Agents book which expounded on his theory that human races evolved in two directions, one migrating east from northern Africa, following the rising sun and genetically becoming more Hive minded over generations, culminating in the Confucian Far East nd the Rising Sun (and by extension the Native Americans), and of sourse Westerners migrated over harsh terrain away from the sun, basically evolving into a sstrain of risk takers that culminated into the West Coast of the U,S?

sorry, but no comment,

as i did not read that one by leary !!!

my favorite book by him is the original (not reedited) version

of “the psychedelic prayers after the tao te ching”

which he wrote while he was in almora, india, in 1967.

Do you think any of Terence McKenna’s ideas made sense, such as us learning language from mushrooms or even Timewave Zero?  He did say the plant based shamanism was the direct source to the divine with the middleman taken out, and that India was a big personality cult “shell game”…

no comment,

as i have not read his books…

although i read many many books in my time,

by the time his books became popular

i did not have much time for reading anymore…

but i do have close friends who grew up with him,

and have heard many stories from them about him,

even from the last moments, so i have a great respect for him.


How is the world different from what you’d thought it would be when you were in that pictuire in 1970?

it is different than what i expected at that time…

as at that time i expected to be all my life a yogi living in the himalayas !!!

but looking back now, everything that has happened makes perfect sense !!!

i prayed so hard at that time to Ma to please make me a pure instrument of Her Will,

never realising that it would happen in a completely new and unexpected way !!!

but looking back, i understand now, that through all the life experiences,

i have been perfectly programmed to complete my mission !!!  

You’ve played all over the world.  Any particularly memorable  or favorite places?

of course goa in it’s heyday was the best !!!   

we love the parties in kalifornia and oregon with or friends and family there !!!

the tour of japan this summer was really great also !!!

we just got back from a 5 week tour of south america that was nice !!!

in europe we love the party every summer in hungary with our friends there !!!

russia, italy, portugal, greece, etc, etc, etc, they have all been fun in one way or another !!!

we had so many good parties all over the world, and it continues to grow and flower !!!

I’ve heard Prince William is/was a major goa head  At least he had Flying Rhino posters in his room. 

cool !!!    

Any ideas on ghetting world leaders clued in to save our planet, or solving the Palestinian peace process through, say, musical pacts with the Sufis?

would be nice,

but i will leave that to others

whose duty it is to take care of such things…

i am not into politics as such…

and for me it is all Maya !!!

Do you think China will ever be infected with the psy-trance virus?  

i believe it is already started in a small way…

also when we were hitchiking across tibet to mt. kailash

in 86 and 87 (2 times), i gave quite a few cassettes away,

and even did a very small indoor party

with some locals and tourists near kailash in 1987 !!!    

Is the Indian caste system as unfair and hierarchical as say American racism?

that is a big subject…

too big to go into here !!!

but let me say here that,

according to the Sanatan Dharma,

the 4 orders of men arose from the creator,

each man having his particular duty,

and thereby the society and their world turned in harmony…

later on, it was corrupted and abused and recieved the reputation it has today…

Are there any historical figures who would have been trance heads had they been able to hear the music (George W not included!) ?

Guru Dattatreya Maharaj ??!!??

Psy-trance seems to be huge in countries which lost World War II.  And maybe slowest per capita for one of the, ahem, victors.  Do you see any connection? 

not really…

people in those countries were more open to new trends in music,

and since a lot of the early techno was made in europe,

the europeans embraced it as their own !!!

germany even considers techno one of it’s biggest cultural exports !!!

and in america, the majority of the people

were so locked into radio and mtv music and rock and roll,

that this techno music they found too robotic,

and so it took them quite a long time to understand and come into it.

there are always exceptions of course !!!

Do you believe the Mayans were right when they said we’ll be entering a Spiritual Transformation in 2012?

were right ???

ARE RIGHT !!??!!     


Where have you played in the States before, and will you be playing more dates here in the future?

Kalifornia, Oregon, North Carolina,

Philadelphia, New York State, Grand Canyon Zippyfest,

Burning Man (several times), that’s all i can remember right now…

hopefully we will play more in the states sometimes…

I’ve heard this after in North Carolina last year you played the same loop for ~24 I’ve I’ve heard this after in North Carolina last year you played the same loop for ~24 hours, offset with sounds that sounded like, well,  violence. 

that is sooo much crap !!!!!

I’m not sure an explication about the big idea came out about that.   I unfoirunately wasn’t there (everyone said I would have loved it) , but I assumed it was all about the role of America in the world, and the degradation of nature, and maybe something of a catharsis on sacred Indian land.  Any thoughts on this, or did your music get lost on the flight?

i played all night & all day

the most new killer unreleased

cutting edge dance music on the planet,

as i always do !!!

that rude person who was ranting and raving on the internet

saying very bad things just didn’t comprehend what was happening

because of his lack of musical education in this genre,

and so it sounded like the loop from hell for him….   poor baby !!!

What’s your perspective on the Bay Area scene these days. 

great !!!

many killer new artists are emerging !!!

alien mental, fractal cowboys (quasar & dylalien),

ocelot, ghreg on earth, mubali, and yohimbe just to mention a few !!!

Any kind words for New York?

May the Light of Love shine

in your hearts and in your minds

and may you always walk in Peace !!!!!    

You are always a positive truth seeker and have recommended meditation to all aspiring djs.  Any other suggestions?

Any suggestions to the organizers of psy-trance here in the U.S.?

yes, keep it Holy and keep it Pure !!!

the Magic happens when a party is Holy and Pure

from the initial idea and organisation on up !!!

so remember to keep it Pure & Holy !!!   


Do you have any New Years Resolutions for 2006?

my mother always used to say:

“if you don’t have something nice to say,

it’s better to say nothing at all.”

i would like to be able to do that always !!!

What kind of journey are you going to take us on for New Years? 

probably a continuation of the story in north carolina !!!

a journey to the deepest, darkest regions of the mind and soul,

so that you confront and exorcise your demons,

thereby unleashing the Triumphant Power of Light & Love !!!   

From from one of your fans who works for our government’s space program- “If i were to smoke one of your dreadlocks, just how high do you think i would get?”


probabaly pretty high,

but i don’t think it would taste very good !!!   

ok friends, i guess that’s it then…

finally the end of the questions….

see you soon in new york city !!!

interview goagil image002

wishing you all the best for 2006 !!!   …..om shanti, gil


2005 12 31 Alladin

Back to Interviews
Back to Memorial

Napster 2023 40x40 Indigo Ico Bigger
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x