📖 Day 6 Cookbook Discussion Prompt - BHAKTI YOGA

Welcome to day 6 of our Cookbook for a Sacred Life virtual course!

Today our topic is Bhakti Yoga.

The yoga of love and devotion is known as Bhakti Yoga. Song, dance, chanting and prayer have been throughout the ages traditional forms of Bhakti Yoga, and Ram Dass had great appreciation and love for the tradition.

From Be Here Now:
This yoga is difficult for us in the West to understand because we have used the term “love” in such a profane sense…that is, to reflect attachment to worldly objects of people. We speak of “loving” that food or drink or automobile or person…often in the same sense. We are so “action-oriented” that we think of love as “something to do.” But most people have sadly found that you can’t “make love” if love does not already exist. Meher Baba, a recent Indian saint who advocated love as the supreme vehicle said:

Love has to spring spontaneously from within: and it is in no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together: but though love cannot be forced on anyone, it can be awakened in him through love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative: Those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. True love is unconquerable and irresistible; and it goes on gathering power and spreading itself, until eventually it transforms everyone whom it touches.

QUESTION: How does this interpretation of love make you feel? Have you experienced love like Meher Baba describes it?

Log into Teachable to access your day 6 teachings here: Day 6 - Bhakti Yoga - March 21st | Ram Dass Courses

6 Likes

I guess a mother loving her child. Like my moms always loved me but I didn’t always live my mom. It was always there but her devotion to her child and the lessons I saw later in my life transformed my love for my mom.

Thank you for reading and as always, thanks for sharing :pray::sparkles:

7 Likes

I find it challenging to verbalize the feelings I have on this. This type of love makes me feel like I’ve swallowed the sun. Warm & fulfilled I guess is the best way to put it. Haha. As I continue on this journey, I find that the more I offer light and love, the more it comes back to me. I run into hiccups of course, it is a steady practice. When I am not offering light & love and instead offer judgement I lose that warmth feeling. Love is an energy, and I don’t want to block it from flowing through me. I’m not sure if this answers the question directly, but this is what my heart feels at the moment. :heart:

7 Likes

I feel like this description of love is the best description I’ve ever come across. My grandma comes to mind when I think about this kind of love, mixed with a warm playfulness I feel when fully engaged in play with kids or my dogs. It also brings me back to the feeling of being a kid, with no real responsibilities or obligations, exploring the woods behind my house without a care in the world because it was all so familiar and felt so wild at the same time, and there was nothing I was trying to get done out there except enjoy it. I felt so connected and taken care of.

8 Likes

this love is the purest, like love of Mother for Her Child, Grandmother for Her Grandchildren, and yet those are labels we place upon it in an effort to define. Listening to the meditation, just as Ram Dass gets to the deepening love, my little granddaughter comes over and cuddles up into my lap. Glorious cuddles!!!

5 Likes

This description of love resonates with me. My grandparents would be an example, just total unconditional love. They were present in my life in every sense of the word, they just wanted to spend time with me, be with me. If I think back pretty much every moment of my childhood and well into my adulthood they were absolutely formative in my life My grandparents arent around anymore, but they remain such a present part of my life, that love is so strong, so unconquerable even space and time can’t stop extinguish it. I also enjoy the image of love as self communicative, that we pass it to those who dont have it. Just even in basic situations where I am talking with friends or family and seeing a friend laugh and joyously tell a humorous story about their life, it rubs off on people around them. When I see someone smile, it makes me smile. Being around this love that Meher Baba speaks of is like no other. And then I think also of Ram Dass in the readings today talking about seeing the Beloved in everything and everyone in the universe. How wonderful would it be to model, embody, everything Meher Baba is talking about here. I feel like maybe the Buddha mentioned being the lamp for others, once you have been lit, your lamp can light others. Meher Baba seems to be suggesting the same thing. “True love …Gathering power and spreading itself until it transforms everything it touches”, is such beautiful wording, and is absolutely correct. I hope to embody that love in my daily life.

4 Likes

well what comes to mind for me is the love of my animals and that I feel from them… it is not coerced and arises spontaneously! with humans I feel like I love so easily and was cautioned from an early age to not “feel” so much… so I think that we are definitely told to dampen love down! And to not always give it so freely! And nowadays I run in to the women who love too much syndrome ! When I need better boundaries… since people can be abusive! so this confuses me! and yet love is not to be coerced… love arises naturally… seems a bit interesting if we are love and our nature to love then it is always here… not coerced and not difficult either… I think the whole conditional love paradigm creates so much separation… and judgment of others – as if anyone could be unworthy of love… yet as I say that I realize of course there are those I would find it difficult to love… those who torture animals! Those who hurt children… making the Bhakti path of seeing everyone as the beloved… not so simple. And I would say after listening to some videos on Narcissists yesterday there is the question as I said of loving too easily and too much leading to a tendency to be vulnerable to a sort of predatory energetic with people that amazes me… so how to love everyone yet stay “safe” and not get too engaged in loving someone who will emotionally abuse me? I think Krishna Das addresses questions like these too… keeping our heart open in the marketplace… not judging others yet being safe interpersonally… this is my growing edge. Thank you.

3 Likes

Yes! Such a good reminder! Thank you for sharing.

This brings such a warm feeling to my heart…tears almost because of the tenderness and truth of it. We were not trying to survive…just be…and enjoy…and it flowed through. What a great reminder!

2 Likes

Glorious cuddles!!! The best!

2 Likes

Yes! Love this. And that Buddha quote…it reminds me of the Jesus quote that is similar - the parable of the lamp. It comes through in all of the traditions. Thanks for the reminder Zac!!!

1 Like

This is such a great discussion Gail. Thank you. I think this is the crux of what we actually grapple with. Loving everyone is easy in theory, but then loving people who take advantage of, abuse, or take from us, or hurt the things we love, that is where it gets more nuanced and real. Someone once said to me that “Love includes boundaries.” Which to me means I can say “no” to your actions, and even “no” to having you in my life because of how you treat me (or the things I love), but I can still work to see you as a soul. That old adage “do what you do with another person but never kick them out of your heart.” Sometimes, it seems I need to kick them out for a while to be able to hold important self-respect or self-care boundaries, but at some point, when it is time and not forced, I can allow the energy of forgiveness and understanding to flow through and let my heart open again, even if the boundary stays in place. Or I can soften the wall and make it a more loving boundary, peppered with firm kindness. It’s so much easier said than done, but to me this is the real work of the ages. Thanks for bringing it up!!!

4 Likes

One way for me in which I experienced profound love was through ayahuasca retreats

3 Likes

yes thank you for reading and responding! This is such a growing edge - as a spiritual practitioner I am trained to see good in everyone, to forgive often, and to keep my heart open. and repeated I find myself in situations I don’t even really comprehend - sort of trying too back peddle and say no this isn’t ok - when really it was too late I already felt run over by a bus of other people’s attitude and opinions usually towards me! I fumble as an introvert and as somewhat less able to lie and play games too… an aside I guess but it seems to make me vulnerable… I listened to a talk about what makes us vulnerable to narcissist yesterday and one of the things was reverse empathy - too much empathy for them and not enough for me… now I dont like the labels - but again I was in midst of an entanglement I didn’t understand and my friend said “he’s breadcrumbing u” so when I looked that up - it rang true! everything I know is grist for the mill so I have to empath myself… fill in my own holes as it were - so maybe the love everyone is also part of that self love we so often skip over!

1 Like

An aha!!! I have experienced this love, and it’s surprised me on those instances when I’ve felt love, acceptance, and joy run through my whole being, while my body simply stood at the front of a room pondering the “strangers” gathering for a class I would soon begin. I would think: “Wait. I know nothing about the individual people in this room (yet). This feels amazing, but how did I EARN it? Let’s do that again!”

Yes, there are many observations which we could make about that question, but for now my point is this:

Today, while studying, I heard from Meher Baba:

…love cannot be forced on anyone, it can be awakened in him through love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative: Those who do not have it catch it from those who have it.

I suddenly saw: it’s absolutely true that I did nothing to EARN the love I felt for those beautiful beings in my classes. I was given the gift of unconditional love from others throughout my life. Or some previous life? I felt love because I “caught” love at some point, maybe even an extra dose somehow that day, so that I was blessed to radiate on a frequency higher than most.

This lesson really touches me. Thank you.

3 Likes

I feel this type of love for my kids. When I want to connect to my heart, I think of my three kids. Their smiles and laughter are pure love. From there I can move to other people I love and open to their heart where they are at seeing their inner child vulnerable as I am in that moment, and we become one. pure light and love as one. Thank you

3 Likes

The times I can most relate to feeling this kind of love were mostly when singing to God. Ever since I learned about the path of bhakti yoga in my early 20’s, I have always identified as a bhakta.

Other times I can remember feeling this overwhelming love flowing up from within me were times where suddenly I would just feel so much love for every single person I saw… like I was just madly in love with all of humanity in those moments.

I used to love going to kirtan events and chanting, and I experienced a lot of this kind of love while at those events. Then in 2017 I had this wild experience with Christ that changed all that.

On March 22, 2017, I was sitting on the floor in my room on Maui and this voice came into my head and said, “You’re supposed to focus on Jesus again.”

And I was like WHAT?! At the time, I was little Miss New Age Buddhist Hindu Kirtan Yogini Ayahuasca Shaman Maui girl… I pretty much never thought about Jesus!

(Even though I grew up in the Catholic Church, which never really resonated with me and I stopped going to church as soon as my mom stopped making me go.)

Then about two hours later, I got an email from my mom saying “I’m getting this message for you… I can’t get it out of my head. You’re supposed to focus on Jesus again.” WHOA.

That evening, I went to my friend Taya’s house, and my dear sister friend Holly was there, and she started telling me how she had been thinking about Jesus a lot!

So I began learning about the life of Christ for the first time as an adult, and I LOVED what I was learning. I fell in love with his simple message about loving one another and caring for the oppressed, poor, and others living at the margins of society. I loved his radical social activism.

And suddenly the devotion from my heart became a straight laser that went to Christ, and Christ alone. It was nothing that I tried to make happen, it just spontaneously happened, and has remained like this ever since.

Now, I have heard Ram Dass say that Maharj-ji said that that Hanuman and Christ are the same. And this definitely may be true! I just for some reason do not feel devotion toward Hanuman or any of the other Hindu deities, which I once did very much so.

So I have missed going to kirtans and expressing my devotion in this way, but I have found other worship music that resonates with my heart, and that has been wonderful.

3 Likes

This interpretation of love makes me feel pretty good inside. I definitely resonate with what Meher Baba is describing. I identify with love. It’s of the same substance that goes in and out of everything that exists. Unconditional loving acceptance is a really great place to be.

It’s not to say that we should let ourselves be taken advantage of or use this as a method of spiritual bypassing. Love is to accept things for what they are. Noticing your place in what’s going on, and then using the blockages of love as a tool to work out what needs to be worked out in ourselves. It’s a hard thing to verbalize since we have many levels of experience. Love is that thing which pervades all experience for me now. :pray: :pray: :heart: :heart:

Namaste Erin,

Thank you so much for sharing. Your story is powerful and beautiful, and helped me gain some clarity today.

Recently, through my practice and speaking with people here, I have been feeling a pull back to the canonical Gospels. However due to having other books in progress and plenty of more “exciting” studies, I hadn’t executed. Your post solidified this urge, and I am now reading the New King James gospels (hopefully) without attachment.

I’ve learned that I can’t close my heart to ANYTHING, without it eventually closing to EVERYTHING. The suggested meditation for today’s lesson was perfect. I actually wept during the session, as Love entered and my heart soften, which is not like “me” and never happened before.

Aversion and rejection are too forms of attachment which I must surrender. Feed deeply Kali Ma… If something isn’t currently “right” for me, I must learn to just release it, without judging, correcting or even forcibly rejecting it.

I love you all, and thank you for being open and available here. :two_hearts: :pray:

4 Likes