Tag Archives: bhakti

Wanting The Other To Be

CatAndDogI was particularly impressed by Jivamukti Yoga co-founder Sharon Gannon’s recent Focus of the Month essay, Bhakti Trumps All, in which she made a point of saying that animal rights activism, Jivamukti’s de-facto calling card, is subordinate to devotion to God. She unequivocally states that veganism, environmentalism, and other forms of social activism are not ends unto themselves but, from the standpoint of yoga, are meant to be an expression of something higher, namely, the desire to act in a way that’s pleasing to Krishna.

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The Supreme Personality of Godhead


As is so often the case, Carol Horton wrote a wonderfully thought-provoking article recently. You can find it on her blog, Think Body Electric. The post was an appreciation of ‘American Yoga’ and, as the long parade of comments that her post generated rolled on, the topic of the Bhagavad Gita’s relevance to contemporary yoga came up. Within the sub-discussion that nested inside the larger conversation, one participant suggested that a definition of “Krishna”, the speaker of the Gita, was required in order to ascertain how one should try to understand the Gita and apply its teachings.

I couldn’t agree more.

One edition of the Gita that was cited among examples of how different translators arrive at different philosophical conclusions was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is. In his translation, Prabhupada coined a vivid descriptive for Krishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead. Continue reading

Understanding the Structure of Bhagavad-gita

Bhagavad-gita presents us with a hierarchical concept of reality. The coherence of the Gita’s message can more easily be experienced when we understand this hierarchical conception, which consists of two major levels of experience and an intermediate level that acts as a bridge leading from one to the other. Continue reading

Beyond ‘Scampi’: Q & A with Dan K, Part 2

Returning to my dialogue with Dan K, here are Dan’s next questions and comments:

“… when did the classical text become divine? I took it to heart when David Life proclaimed to hundreds of yogis at the Catholic Monastery in DC that yoga is not a religion.”

I’ve heard David say that on several occasions. Now let’s contrast his statement with this one from the Jivamukti Yoga book, which he co-authored with Sharon Gannon:

“To serve and get closer to God is the only reason to practice or teach yoga. Without the desire for God, asana is meaningless exercise. Without devotion, Yoga cannot be attained.”

This appears to be a contradiction. Continue reading

The Meaning of Surrender, Part 2

Picking up where we left off, once we have surrendered to the idea of a Supreme Being to whom we surrender, the next question is ‘how do we express our surrender’. One of my teachers tells a story of meditating on the idea of surrender and, having accepted in principle the idea that he must surrender to to the Supreme Being, closed his eyes and, directing his thoughts to the person to whom he wished to surrender with all the sincerity at his command, said ‘I surrender’.

Nothing happened. Continue reading

Spiritual Senses

From time to time I’ve spoken in my classes about ‘awakening our spiritual senses’. This seems to inspire a consistent series of questions, beginning with ‘Hari, what are you talking about? What do you mean by ‘spiritual’ senses?’ Continue reading

The Yoga of Gomez

The first person that I ever saw doing yoga was my childhood idol, my role model; the person I most wanted to be like when I grew up: Gomez Addams. Continue reading

Afraid of the Dentist

I went to visit my dentist not too long ago. Lot’s people are afraid of the dentist. And why not; my dentist is terrifying! She’s a sweet and cheerful woman with lots of long, sharp metal objects and motorized devices that, but for a well-placed shot of an anesthetic to numb half my face, would cause me more pain than I can imagine every time she gets down to business.

But the scariest thing she’s ever done to me had nothing to do with drills or dental scalers. The most frightening moment I’ve ever spent in her chair was the moment she gave me something she insisted I use every day: a toothbrush. Continue reading