Our practice is the practice of love, of devotional consciousness in everything we do. Bhakti yoga is not about receiving, it’s about offering. Offering love and devotion is our natural state of being. We are made of love, eternal and blissful. Bhakti yoga is the practice of recognizing our true nature and celebrating that in every moment.
Bhakti as Soul Culture
Bhakti comes from the ancient India wisdom tradition called Vedanta. For centuries, these nectarean teachings were not available to Westerners.
Through the mercy of bhakti spiritual masters such as A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and my Gurudeva Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, we now have access to this timeless guidance system towards realizing our birthright of pure love and affection towards all living beings.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the cornerstone of Vedanta and guiding beacon to the American Transcendentalist movement, it’s stated that bliss comes when we practice the yoga of the soul, bhakti yoga. By practicing this highest yoga, the cooling moon rays of Divine love will cause the lotus flower of our most supreme fortune to blossom within our hearts.
Bhakti as Bliss
Bhakti means devotion. The ultimate goal of bhakti is to awaken our inherently personal relationship with the Divine. There are many names for God, each name resonates with a special aspect or mood present in the awesome fullness of the Supreme. As we recognize the Divine as sat-cit-ananda vigraha, or the supreme eternal form of consciousness and bliss personified, an unending stream of love spontaneously flows towards serving that supremely divine person.
If we’re to evoke the love of bhakti in our heart, then we must practice her disciplines and live by her rules. Luckily, these practices are joyful.
The Bhagavad Gita also tells us that bliss comes from uniting the individual soul consciousness with that of the Divine consciousness. Meaning, when we practice connecting our very conscious nature to the nature of the Divine, we enter into conscious bliss. Our soul suffering will cease. This is more powerful than the body/mind suffering. And because this state of true spiritual consciousness is far greater than any material enjoyment, we never deviate from the path. They call this the path of self-realization.
Discovering Your Bliss
Bhakti yoga exists in our hearts eternally. She is likened to a tender flower bearing creeper in seed form, awaiting water, sunlight, and soil so that she may bloom. JaiShree Yoga is founded in the tradition of bhakti yoga. Our classes, workshops, retreats, kirtans, and special events revolve around awakening that seed of bhakti and providing tools to nourish her.
My own journey on the bhakti path could never be successful without the warmth, support, and current of authenticity that flows through my spiritual community. We need each other to strengthen our muscles of remembering who we really are despite the happiness and distress of material life.
Each soul or jiva is sat-cit-ananda, or eternally conscious and blissful. Jivas are like the sun’s rays, and the Divine is the sun. If we recognize that our human nature is to serve and that our human nature is directly linked with the Divine then we discover our own bliss. If we link our service to pleasing the Divine, then we’re naturally pleasing and serving our own soul. This is the process of Bhakti Yoga.
Bliss is Your Birthright
Bhakti is naturally inclusive of every kind of human being.
A soul exists in every living sentient being including animals, insects, stones and streams. Bhakti is both science and spirituality, practice and philosophy.
My wish and goal is that we all embrace our natural state of being in bliss. May we all envision ourselves in the highest light. May we celebrate our unique creativity, artistry, challenge, brilliance, service and process of illuminating the Divine. May we create and sustain a vibrant Soul Culture.
Chant and be Happy!