Wanting The Other To Be

23 Mar

Love is only possible with a person. Therefore one who follows the path of bhakti is engaged in a relationship of love with a person who is other than one’s self. As Saint Augustine put it, “Love means wanting the other to be.”

Hari-kirtana yoga

CatAndDog I 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.

A topic beyond the scope of Sharon’s essay was the subtle but significant distinction between the concept of God and the concept of Krishna. As my friend and teacher, Dhanurdhara Swami, puts it, “The concept of Krishna is when God is fully revealed in love. Sometimes we say Krishna is God being himself, when God is relaxed.”

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