So excited we are going to Bhakti Fest this year! Last year I missed it because of prior commitments but this year we will head out west to Bhakti Fest! Four days and nights of kirtan in Joshua Tree ,CA. The line up is the best of the best and vegan raw food vendors galore. Camping in the desert will be a first for me. Hope you enjoy this video clip from last years Bhakti Fest.
The Path of Bhakti Yoga
The word bhakti means devotion. Bhakti comes from the root word bhaja, which means to love, adore, serve, and be devoted. Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion and one of the four paths of Yoga. The path of Bhakti is the quest of prayer, selfless service, compassion, and complete devotion. The Bhakti has unconditional love for everyone and everything as he or she realizes the oneness of all. Most people will never attain this level of Bhakti but as we journey on the path of yoga and in particular the path of Bhakti yoga our compassion grows and grows. Much progress will be made with the help of the Guru. People who are usually drawn to this path are emotional in nature and of the anahata chakara or living in the heart. Of course people can be in an unbalanced, impure energy state and experience negative emotions such as jealousy, and fear. This path however will help them turn their negative emotions and states to ones of positivity and spiritual growth. A true bhakti yogi is in the emotional state of joy, love, compassion, and has the desire to serve humanity and the divine.
There are nine practices that one can use to help unfold bhakti within you. Swami Satyananda describes these methods. Associating with wise and spiritual people this is called satsang. Talking about the scriptures, stories of the Lord and his virtues. Singing, and chanting the name of God. Continually keeping the mind on the lord. This may seem impossible to some because we have so many other things to do in our daily lives, but when we are in full bhakti it is a continuous at some level all the time. Like the constant awareness a mother has on her child when playing on a playground. Many devotees of the West and East use rosary or mala beads to maintain the thread of awareness on the divine, also by keeping good company of holy beginnings in satsang. Serving the divine through selfless service or serving humanity and the world. Mother Theresa was a great example of this. As Jesus said to the fourth wise man who helped other people:” when I was hungry you gave me food to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, and when I was naked you clothed me, when I was homeless you took me in.” Worshipping the divine in prayer, rituals, and offerings of the heart, whether this is done in the home, church, temple mosques, synagogues, or even on your yoga mat. Begin worshipping everyone and everything as the divine in unique forms and eventually realizing all to be that. One will realizes one’s own divine reality in sometime. When we see everything as divine it begins to eliminate our sense of duality, and by passes the ego by dissolving the illusion of separateness. Seeing oneself as a servant of the divine, maintaining a sense of humility. Each action should be sent as devotion to the lord with no expectations or even attachments to the work itself. This strengthens one’s faith. Know that the Lord is your closest friend. You will never be alone.
Total surrender-just being an instrument of the divine. This leads to perfect union where lover and beloved becomes one.
One of the popular paths of Bhakti Yoga of our time is kirtan or devotional singing of Bhajans or hymns. There are many great Kirtan singers of our time and quite a few are in the west. Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, Jai Uttal, and Durga Das are all devotees of Neem Karoli Baba and have brought kirtan and bhakti yoga into the western yoga community.