Every devotional service – starting with śravanam (hearing) and kīrtanam (chanting) – is an investment into blissful eternity. HH Śacīnandana Swami
Bhakti is devotion to God. In the beginning this concept of offering all efforts to God was difficult for me. On which God should I focus? Jesus, Buddha, Krishna? Can I have a comfortable relationship with any God at all?
It is said, that if you want self-realization and enlightenment, devoting all your actions to God is the best way to reach that blissful state of mind. Patanjali calls this practice Ishvara Pranidhana. Ishvara means supreme or personal God and Pranidhana means devotion. So this is great news, because you can choose your own personal God. You can find yourself a God that touches and softens your heart. Amazing, right. No religion needed.
My great teacher Jules Febre taught me, that this God doesn’t even have to have a name. You can practice devotion just by surrendering and giving all your actions to a higher purpose. Something that is bigger than your small ego-self. Actually focusing on serving others, bringing happiness and peace into their lives is the best way to practice devotion and service. This is an idea I can totally embrace and practice happily.
When I started Yoga, like for many, it was all about asana practice. And it’s fine to start by focusing on your workout. Just by taking the postures, things start to change – eventually, but inevitably. Nowadays I find my practice gradually shifting from a mindful asana practice to giving more room to meditation and Kirtan.
By chanting the holy names over and over again, the rational mind quiets and the heart opens up. The ego and all it’s daily concerns become more and more unimportant. God will fill you and the vibration of his name will radiate through your whole being. Your inner wisdom will be revealed and your heart can fulfill its true calling.
As Krishna Das says: Through repetition of God’s name, gradually but inevitably what is within will be uncovered and revealed to us directly and personally.
I love the way people connect during Kirtan. Sometimes being shy at the beginning and then surrendering into the process and just letting go. People dancing, singing, laughing, hugging each other and connecting in such a pure and heart-melting way.
So it’s no surprise that I scanned this year’s program of the Conference paying attention especially to Kirtan presenters. And there are so many great Kirtans on the schedule: Beside Jai Uttal, Petros Haffenrichter and David Lurey will be there. And you definitely shouldn’t miss Chaitanya. He always touches and opens my heart with his devotional singing.
Looking forward to see you there. Let’s invest into blissful eternity and find many happy ksanas together.