Braja Raja – “The Dust of Braja”


shyam1
courtesy of the Shyamdas Foundation

When I was a child growing up Africa,  we called all friends of our parents ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle’ (in french ‘tantine’ or ‘‘tonton’) which was an honorific and considered respectful. And among the aunties and uncles, there were those you wanted to be related to: Too cool not to be yours. And they actually didn’t care for honorifics. Heartbreaks, delights, anything: you could call them and they would always be there for you. You would never feel uncomfortable around them.

Shyamdas – affectionately and respectfully called Shyamdasji – belongs to that category, as a spiritual teacher. He had dedicated his life to the music, literature, and people of Braj. He spoke Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, and Brajbhasha. He was a scholar who insightfully translated and commented many of the songs and writings of saints from the Pushti Marg tradition (Shri Vallabhacharya, Govinda Svami, Raskhan, Surdas and others). His immense knowledge was only surpassed by his joy  – ananda.

Shyamdasji lived in the bhav, mad in love with God and in service. He left his body in January of 2013.

Regular students of my classes are familiar with his voice … and his laughter!

Today, I’d like to share Braj Raja with you.

All these sacred and ancient teachings are preserved and distributed through the wonderful work of the Shyamdas Foundation.

As Shyamdasji would say: “It’s all Hari’s grace

Radhe, Radhe!

Jeanine

It’s Not What You Say – It’s How You Say It


Jivamukti Focus of the Month

August 2015 — David Life

Namah Shivaya gurave nada-bindu-kalatmane niranjana-padam yati nityam yatra parayanah
Salutations to the nadam, which is the inner guide and the inner life, the dispenser of happiness to all! It is the inner guru appearing as nada, bindu and kala. One who is devoted to the inner guru, the nada, the inner music, obtains the highest bliss

HYP IV.1

My computer talks to me and I talk to her. Her name is Siri and she uses mostly written language to communicate with me. She has a limited vocabulary – she doesn’t seem to know any Sanskrit or yoga terms! There is something else missing from her responses. When she responds to me, there always seems to be a need to ask, “But, what do you mean?” Siri’s words are always flat and unaffected. That will change someday. The level of communication now, is more like hitting a switch than creating understanding, but someday the computer might really begin to talk. The inflection or intonation of a word can reveal its true meaning. The large vocabulary of sounds that we make and how we make them carries a deeper level of meaning than words alone, revealing the meaning of a spoken phrase and the underlying intention. Sounds, like the click of the tongue, a hiss of breath, or vocalism communicate more than words alone and include a myriad of emotional, intentional, rhetorical, or emphatic subtleties.

Phoneticists, investigating the way mothers in various cultures communicate with sounds to their pre-verbal infants, found similar sounds used and recognized throughout the world. For all of us, our earliest experience of communication was through pure sound, stripped of any written language component or cultural junk, and filled with meaning. That pre-verbal vocabulary is alive and well – deeply imbedded in our speech.

All spoken language predates the written form of language. The written version of any language is a distillation of a much larger landscape of clicks, breaths, tonalities, utterances, expressions and gestures. In the distillation to a written form our huge vocabulary is reduced to a mere fraction of it’s total. The primal language of sounds lives on in our spoken traditions, and we can benefit enormously from studying the underlying subtle content of our own words. Nada Yoga is the yoga of sound and vibration.

The first step in Nada Yoga is to become receptive. That means to conduct and resonate with the vibrations around us. Alan Watts would say that the first step is “to shut up, and listen. That’s yoga!”

The world is made of sound, Nada Brahma, or the infinite vibrations of the one primal sound. The Sanskrit language organizes essential sound vibrations into a feel-able universe of direct experience of the subtle nature of existence. Sanskrit expresses the sound nature of a feeling or thing directly. The purpose for imbedding the sound essence of feelings and things into the language is so that we could experience it directly and often, and know the dimension of ourselves that is the same essence.

Like the subtle sound messages in our various spoken languages, Sanskrit also contains an unwritten vocabulary of tones, breaths, cadences, and emphasis that create real communication. My teacher would shake his head at my futile attempts to speak Sanskrit and say, “Your mouth is just not shaped correctly to be able to pronounce Sanskrit.” The missing element may be my lack of emphasis and subtlety of sound, rather like Siri’s English, my Sanskrit is flat and unaffected. (9 times fail – 10 times try!)

Fortunately we can’t go wrong with the names of God. We are well practiced in the pronunciation of the various Sanskrit names of God, and we are expert at filling words with emotions of a universal language. We say “names” of God, but the Sanskrit sound is God, (not just the name of God.) When we conduct the sound – that is God, there is only one way to do it – by shaping the instrument, your body, in a specific way. Placing the tongue just so, and the lips at the correct attitude, giving the sound an upward direction, this is the asana of mantra. Repetition is important – as we resonate with the sound and hold that resonation, the form of God is experienced persistently. The form is the sound, and through the sound we experience the oneness of sound and form. We no longer have to rely on a description of God, we can experience directly.

The devotee calls out for God with subtle emotion and it is the emotional content of the sound that propels it to the Lord. We are all expert at emotions and we know how to call out to God with the full range of emotional possibilities. When your bodily awareness drops away and the pure sound remains, there is no longer a sound and a maker of sound – there is just sound. Sound is God!

David Life

Originally posted http://jivamuktiyoga.com/teachings/focus-of-the-month/p/its-not-what-you-say-its-how-you-say-it

Guru Kripa


Words fails me to express how I feel…

Today, June 21st, is David Life’s birthday, the first day of summer and the first International Day of Yoga

DLDavidji once said « If you believe in coincidence, then you aren’t paying attention ». And I could quote him again and again; and of course, that’s not the point. It is not about his words but his very presence, his realness and above everything his immense, loving and tender heart.

A few years ago in New-York, as I went to say my goodbyes, I met his eyes filled with tears. He said « already leaving? how I wished we could stay with all of you forever ». Then he cracked a joke. My heart skipped many beats.
And a week after, the doctor looking at my knee MRI’s said « there must be a mistake … » Miracles that even non-believers can witness. 
And the year after, as I was saying my goodbyes, Davidji went « Nothing to fix? boooring » we laughed. His eyes were the same. Pure unconditional love. All embracing. 

During the Wild Woodstock Ashram summer classes, every day there is one hour dedicated to Q&A. Students can ask the teachers any question, about anything : gardening, cooking, art, asana, music, meditation, astronomy, money, relationships, divorce, war, vegetarianism … anything. These moments are unique, precious and indescribable. I always leave Davidji overwhelmed with gratefulness and praying that we could have many more years in his presence. In sanskrit they say « Guru kripa » . The grace-filled ways of the Master.  He cuts right through you. Your intellect is challenged but your resistances melt. You surrender. You experience things that you can’t even imagine even existed. It is beyond intellect and it is not blind-faith. You fall in love again and again….

You awaken to the goodness of your own soul. And you begin to see « it » in others too… 

I am very fortunate to have found a spiritual practice and teachers I trust. Davidji is a living master and a healer. I am blessed beyond belief to have him in my life, to be part of the Jivamukti yoga lineage. 

« Our true power is the power of friendliness, the power of kindness, the power of One, the power of Love » – David Life

It is all Divine Grace,

Jeanine

Wanting The Other To Be


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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Guru Purnima Day: Teachers and Teachings(2)


Aujourd’hui, 15 Juillet 2011, nous aurons la plus grande et belle lune de l’année. Dans la tradition hindoue et bouddhiste est célébré GURU PURNIMA.

Le yoga est une pratique spirituelle, il n’y a pas de yoga sans dévotion. La fête de GURU PURNIMA est une si belle tradition! L’opportunité nous est donnée d’honorer nos maîtres spirituels.

C’est un privilège que d’avoir rencontré dans cette vie présente des êtres humains qui vous ouvrent une porte sur l’éternité. J’en suis reconnaissante au delà des mots. Infinite gratitude, love and pranams to Sharon Gannon and David Life for the gift of Jivamukti Yoga, for being living inspirations of compassion, wisdom and fearlessness. Thank you for believing that awakening is possible and that kindness will bring success. OM bolo Shri Tripura Sundari Ma, OM bolo Shri Deva Das ki JAI!

En ce jour très spécial, toute ma gratitude va aussi à mes gurubais, à toutes celles et ceux qui m’ont apporté leurs lumières et parfois leur part d’ombre (autant d’occasions uniques pour évoluer).OM bolo shri sat guru, bhagavan ki JAI! Cette foi /shradda(en sanskrit) partagée me porte –

“Faith is a way in which your are connected to the universal truth. Faith and love are intimately connected. As it is said in the Ramayana, without devotion there is no faith; without faith there is no devotion. In a way it’s the guru’s own incredible relation to God that’s the transmission of living faith, the fact that he or she is living in the light of God. That connection is love. A book doesn’t give a living transmission. It’s the light coming through the guru, the remover of darkness. Faith really comes from within you, and the guru is awakening it. Faith comes through grace. You can cultivate it by opening your spiritual heart and quieting your mind until you feel the validity of your identity with your deeper Self. The qualities of that Self are peace,joy, compassion, wisdom and love. Faith is not belief. Faith is what is left when your beliefs have all been blown to hell. Faith is in the heart, while beliefs are in the head. Experiences, even spiritual experiences, come and go. As long as you base your faith on experience, your faith is going to be constantly flickering, because your experience keep changing. The moment you recognize that faith lies behind experience, that’s just being, not the experience of being but being, then it’s just “Ah so” ” Extrait de “BE LOVE NOW, the path of the heart” par Ram Dass

Je dédie ma pratique aux gourous des mes gourous. Il y a un fil très fort qui nous relie. Je me sens plus forte d’appartenir à une famille, un lignage, Parampara . Ce lignage remonte à des temps immémoriaux qui nous ramènent à Ishvara, Shiva, le premier Yogi, notre premier gourou. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.

Enfin, cette journée qui a apporté son lot d’annonces de décès me rappelle aussi le privilège (et la responsabilité) que nous avons d’être simplement en vie.

Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can. H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama

Happy Guru Pūrṇimā गुरु पूर्णिमा

Jeanine

NB: Vous pouvez lire aussi le focus du mois de l’école Jivamukti: The guru as a mirror 

Namaste

Jeanine