The Yoga of the Heart | The Heart of the Yoga
Bhakti Yoga is the “posture of the heart” of acceptance and devotion. The path is that of modesty, respect and tolerance.
Through the psycho-physical postures of the Yoga, the practitioner develops a diamond body and a stable and peaceful mind. Through listening and singing, the practice of the Bhakti Yoga gives a soft and yielding heart that makes it possible to ripen and fully savor the fruits of other Yoga practices. Bhakti Yoga opens the doors to that state of consciousness of the divine love, where “every word is a song and every step is a dance”.
Every second saturday (please check the event page) we meditate on the Bhagavad-gita and sing mantra, Kirtan and Bhajan, and we also organize special events to meet with spiritual teachers and monks from all over the world. These events are open to everyone on a pay-what-you-can basis.
Kirtan | Meditation with Mantra
What is Kirtan? It is an inherent part of the Bhakti Yoga practice. Kirtan is a joyous group practice of mantra chanting that connects us to our deepest self, vibrating in resonance with the universe to which we all belong.
Human beings practiced sound vocalization since the beginning of times. We would say that everything in the universe is vibration and frequency and thus sound is the origin and the essence of everything. The Vedas call this sound Sabda-brahma, which means transcendental sound vibration.
A Vedic mantra declares: sarva kalvidam brahma, which means that everything is expression of consciousness, happening through the medium of sound vibration.
More in depth we could say that Kirtan is strictly interconnected with life and part of the fabric of every culture and every human expression.
The early morning chirping is natural to the birds, as it is the droning at sunset to the cicadas, in the same way the human beings have always glorified life on earth singing and dancing.
Kirtan is the natural expression of the human spirit and of every living being. All the spiritual traditions make use of sacred sounds as a vehicle to get in touch and fusion with the Divine.
In Sanskrit Kirtan means “praise” and it is a form of chanting from devotional traditions. It includes hymns, songs and mantras, with an accompaniment of musical instruments, such as the harmonium, the tabla (one-sided drums), the mridanga or pakawaj (two-sided drum) and the karatalas (cymbals).
Kirtan is also a form of universal and joyful meditation. Everyone can participate, even if it was only to clap hands and sing.
The Yoga of the Bhagavad-gita | Meetings on the Yoga Philosophy
Among the various sacred texts from the Indo-Vedic tradition, the Srimad Bhagavad-gita holds a special place.
The Bhagavad-gita is a poem for humanity; its transcendent message is today appreciated by millions of people around the world. The message of the Gita transcends sectarianism, it is a universal message.
The Bhagavad-gita is important to everyone because it answers the deepest questions of life. It does not matter to which nationality one belongs, or to what social class, whether is man or woman, young or old; everyone wants to know: Who am I? What is the purpose of life? How can I be really happy? What happens at the time of death?
In the Bhagavad-gita Sri Krishna provides the answers to all these questions.
Swami Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj explains:
“Everything about Yoga and spiritual life is concisely explained in the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, where Krishna takes the role of Jagad-Guru to give transcendental knowledge to the world”.
In the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna surrenders his heart to Krishna. He so prays: “My Lord, I now surrender completely to You. I do not know and I cannot understand what is right and what is wrong for me. I pray you, reveal the transcendental knowledge in my heart”.
Krishna becomes Arjuna’s Guru and enlightens him with transcendental knowledge in a thorough and clear way.
In the 700 verses forming the Srimad Bhagavad Gita everything is explained; all kind of knowledge and all types of Yoga are described by Krishna himself, in His form of Jagad-Guru (Master of the Universe).
These sacred scriptures contain the instructions that Krishna lovingly gives to His dearest friend Arjuna. But in reality Arjuna is Krishna’s means to deliver to the world the essence of Yoga and of transcendental knowledge.
Krishna enunciate the Bhagavad-gita for the benefit of the conditioned souls of this world. Today we can see how this text has become well-known everywhere.
In the first parts of the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains that Yoga is a practice to progress in life, to build a sympathetic and harmonious relationship with nature. Krishna starts His explanation of Yoga recommending that everyone should avoid egoistic action and instead engage in the yoga of the unselfish action. Krishna says:
“You are an eternal soul. You have inherent capability of thought, feel and desire and you cannot avoid these aspects of your existence. If you will use your capabilities to exploit material nature you will not be satisfied; you will become a greedy person inevitably destined to suffer in the material existence. By nature you always have to act, so act positively, otherwise you will always harm yourself and others”.
Krishna explains that the Karma Yogi has to perform the prescribed duties, but does not have the right to enjoy the benefits of such actions. The Karma Yogi should not perform the prescribed duties with the intention to gain something in return, but at the same time should also not renounce to action. One’s actions should rather be inspired by the desire to be in harmony with the universe and its Supreme Controller.
Anyone who reads the Bhagavad-gita and seek to follow the recommendations and instructions of the Lord Sri Krishna, as if Krishna was their Guru, will most certainly be satisfied. Krishna will always be merciful with them, and all obstacles will be removed from their spiritual life.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains the way to spiritual development. Krishna describes how the conditioned souls can advance in yoga and how their practice can progress from Karma Yoga to Jnana Yoga, then to Dhyana Yoga to finally reach the practice of Bhakti Yoga. The essence of all scriptures is found in the Bhagavad-gita and everything that is essential for the spiritual development of all conditioned souls is explained in it.
But what is it that a Bhakti Yogi actually do? How does he engage in the service for the Lord? To think, feel and desire are natural expressions of the soul, a Bhakti Yogi simply devotes them to serve Lord Krishna.
yat karosi yad asnasi yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurusva mad-arpanam
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.27)
Krishna lovingly recommends how to practice Bhakti Yoga: “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give in charity, whatever vow you take: do it as an offer to Me. This is your eternal dharma and your natural religion”.
Bhakti Yoga is the ideal practice for all the souls. When our practice reaches that stage, we will be completely fulfilled.
When everything we do will be for the service and satisfaction of Krishna, then we will reach the plane of spiritual existence, we will live in the transcendental world of service and we will not be trapped in Karma any more.
The position of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita is here explained in poetic form:
sarvopanisado gavo dogdha gopala-nandanah
partho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdhah gitamrtam mahat
(Sri Gita-mahatyma: 6)
“The Gitopanisad, Srimad Bhagavad gita, which contains the essence of all the Upanishads and of all the Vedas, is very much like a cow and Lord Krishna, who is very well-known for His pastime as a cowerd boy, milks this cow. Arjuna is like a calf, asking one question after another to draw all the milk from the cow, and all those who are Sudhir, that is to say all those who really aspire to be Krishna conscious, drink the milk from this cow, and that is the nectar of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita”.
“Through His teachings to Arjuna, Bhagavan Sri Krishna mercifully laid His divine glance upon all of us. He distributed the essence of the Vedas and of all the other scriptures for the spiritual development of everybody”.
In our meetings we discuss on the themes contained in the Bhagavad-gita (Karma, reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul, the nature of the soul, the practice and the objectives of Yoga, etc.). All your sincere questions are most welcome.
WATCH THIS VIDEO INTRODUCING BHAGAVAD GITA
Teachers: Munindra and Krishna Kanta see the event. Usually saturday from 7:00 pm to 8:30. The meetings are open to everybody on a pay-what-you-can basis.