S#!T Bhakti Yogis Say.

Via on May 14, 2012

 

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Finally! Someone had to do it.

This weekend at Shaktifest we were swimming in an ocean of devotional hippies, yogis and artists. This video was easy to make, we just captured them in their natural setting.

About Big Happy Day

Big Happy Day LLC was founded to create a venue that allows the many facets of yoga and spirituality to be accessible to the world through video. Big Happy Day creates online video campaigns and provides daily video coverage of events within the world of LOHAS, specifically with an emphasis on Yoga and Kirtan. The focus of the content, whatever it may be, spreads the message of yoga, health and awareness while using a conscious media model that connects likeminded companies with teachers, artists and charities within the community.

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123 Responses to “S#!T Bhakti Yogis Say.”

  1. DaveTelf says:

    haha this video totally transported me deep into the bhav brah…

  2. Don't you mean to title this: "S#!t Shaktifest junkies say?" That would be more accurate.

    • Luber says:

      Didn't you mean to say, "Didn't"?

      • No, I deliberately used the word "don't" because it implies that there is still time to change the title, if you wish. But, if your intention is to leave it as it is, then i can see why you would ask me that question.

        So, do you agree that identifying the people in the video as "Sahktifest Junkies" instead of "Bhakti Yogis" might be more accurate? It would still generate views, and serve your purpose to share this video. Otherwise, it's a bit misleading. Consider it, if you would. Thanks! :)

        • Oooops! Here's my typo, in case you can't figure it out: "Shaktifest Junkies" (wink)

          • Luber says:

            What is a, "Shaktifest Junkie?" This is only the 2nd time Shaktifest has happened. The attendees consist of a group of highly comitted bhakti yogis coming together to sing dance and pray. This is simply an irreverent parody of bhakti yogis saying things that bhakti yogis say. We appreciate your continued engagement! HARIBOL!

          • I am happy you appreciate my engagement. I also thank you for participating in this dialogue. In fact, a great part of bhakti yoga involves heart-to-heart dialogue with others! :))

            In response to you question, I believe the word "junkie" is typically engaged to describe a person who is "addicted" to something. In this context, it would indicate a person who can't get enough of this kind of festival. A "Shaktifest Junkie", therefore, could be used to identify people who went to the first Shaktifest, loved it, and returned of more. That's all. I meant no disrespect to the Shaktifest attendees at all. It looks like they are all having a great time! :))

            My sincere concern is that by identifying the people in this video as "Bhakti Yogis" it might be a bit misleading in that it seems to be propagating a misunderstanding of what "bhakti" actually is, and what bhakti yogis actually sound like. My point is very simple, Luber. I'm sorry I am having such a hard time communicating it.

            By the way, I enjoyed watching the video, I just don't think these people represent "bhakti yogis", that's all.

          • luber says:

            Thank you so much Catherine for your clear and heartfelt response. Thank you for the important clarifications. You have indicated to us what isn't bhakti yoga…What is? Bhakti yoga is not only my practice but also my life. I can be found at kirtan 2-4 times a week. My devotion comes in the form of my website http://www.BigHappyDay.com where I, with reverence, spread the teachings of yoga. Fueled by that same reverent devotion that is embedded deeply in my heart, I also irreverently play with comedy as another means of celebrating and promoting this beautiful practice.

            While I agree that this video is certainly not representative of ALL of bhakti yoga, it's intended to be a light way to expose more people to bhakti and kirtan. Just as the "yoga" found in many sports clubs isn't considered "yoga" (by traditionalists), it's a great entry point for those who haven't been inducted – and hopefully leads to deeper practice over time.

            Thank you again for your kind communication. I hope to see you at Bhaktifest in the fall! =)

          • Communicating online is a bit odd, I've found, because the tone is likely to be misinterpreted due to lack of facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, eye contact, etc. But I'm glad we are connecting now! :))

            Thank you for sharing your website with me. I really like your name "Big Happy Day" and your mission, as you describe here: "To create a venue that allows the many facets of yoga and spirituality to be accessible to the world through video."

            I hear the enthusiasm in your heart to connect others with the practice of yoga. And doing it through videos (including comedic ones) is a great idea! I wish you well. And yes, your videos do offer audiences a unique perspective on yoga, and "entry way", as you say. But I have a hard time finding much of bhakti yoga (specifically) in the video you just posted above.

            I hear you very sincerely tell me that you see your whole life as an expression of bhakti yoga. Coincidentally, this is also the aim of my life is: to live it as an expression of bhakti. But I still have along way to go. I have only been practicing bhakti yoga, (and leading bhajans and kirtan), for over 25 years. And bhakti – like love- is so endless, there is never a limit of how deep you can go! :))

            When you ask me: "What is bhakti?", is that a rhetorical question, or would you like an answer? If you are interested, I dedicate myself to helping others clarify their conceptions of bhakti. That is my small, heartfelt offering.

            I am happy to hear you love kirtan! I won't be able to attend the Bhaktifest, but maybe one day we will be in a kirtan together somewhere else :)) I am grateful to *meet* you here, Luber.

      • scott says:

        Luber, usually when I offend someone , I say I'm sorry it that offends you! Pretty simple…We all have much to learn….

  3. Scott says:

    Totally agree with Catherine

  4. Scott says:

    Me thinks you(Luber) dost protest too much…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhakti_yoga

    haribol

    A classical example of overgeneric Hare Krishna jargon. The equivalent of “Hey”, “Hello”, “Have a nice day”, “Good night”,etc. Bears a semblance to the way the Smurfs use the noun “smurf” and the verb “smurfing”, though not as widely applicable.

    Maybe the better mantra at Shakti,Bhakti fest, could be Light a Bowl, Light a Bowl

    • Ha ha ha ha! Your smurf reference cracked me up, Scott! So true! Many will utter "Hari Bol!" whenever they get a chance. But, the context varies. The evolution of linguistics is a fascinating subject indeed!

      Perhaps, in an "over generic Hare Krishna Jargon" context (Well said!), people use it exactly as you describe. Sometimes even without many feelings, in a blaze fashion, as it's so common. All the enthusiasm has been subtracted from it. However, you can still find them chanting it with their whole hearts in an ecstatic kirtan!

      But, in a "Shaktifest" context, I think there is more excitement connected to it, because it's usage is newer there. And Namaste is so passé. (Hey! That's a good title for a song!)

      As you may already know, "Hari Bol" is a combination of Sanskrit and Bengali. A phrase emerging out of medieval India during a time in which kirtans hit the streets. Literally. As the musicians and singers would walk through the villages, they used to say: "Hari Bol" (sing the names of God!), to encourage others to join them and participate in the kirtan. It was an invitation call of sorts.

      Technically "Bol" means "Speak" in Bengali. But it can be understood to mean "chant", "sing", "utter", Cry out", "exclaim", etc. And "Hari" is, of course a Sanskrit name for "God", "Divinity", etc.

      With the assign of time, phrases and their usage change. This one seems to have remained the same in certain yoga circles, as I see it. And that is as an invitation to "come join us and have blast in kirtan". In which case, I don't mind Luber's use of it at all. In fact, I think it was sincere and here felt. But that's just me. :))

    • Kitzie Stern says:

      Scott, were you there?

      • Scott says:

        I was at Shakti and Bhakti last year….I also love Kirtan!!! and have had the blessings of Kirtaning with Wah, Larrisa Stow, Girish ( my favorite) Bhagavan Das, Krishna Das as well as being a part of Amma's Divine kirtans during Devi Bhava….I feel that these festivals are indulgent…and have chosen to develop my own practices deeper..For me it's about daily practice….Not how "nice" and Bhav'd out you can be for 2 days……YOurs in Humility and Humor, Scott

        • Kitzie Stern says:

          I understand, and I totally get that aspect of these festivals. Usually I've left the premises by the time things really get going. There are many people who come just for the kirtan, and I'm one of them.We're the ones who hang out all day under the scrim ;-) I'll be going to Midwest Bhakti Fest, and I'm curious to see what the atmosphere is like there. I'm also curious about Omega, have you been to that one?
          This post is going in an interesting direction, the video certainly has stirred up some passion!

          • scott says:

            I have no plans of attending any Kirtans, I may go see Dave Stringer IN San Diego this summer..I get just as much Bhakti energy from nature especially the ocean and trees..:0) I do love the dialog ..Passion is GREAT!

  5. Jill says:

    Too many "Bhakti yogis" I meet delegate and deflect the problems they're going through to the presence (or lack thereof) to a certain deity in their life. And because its so convenient to do this, there's a huge lack of responsibility for participation in circumstance… There's a new term for this because its becoming so rampant. Its called "spiritual bypassing." Check it out y'all.

  6. deleted1588147 says:

    It might mean something if "bhakti" was, indeed, what all those people who think they're practicing were actually doing so. Alas, they're just another bunch of something-yoga wallahs. Their fix of choice, the word "bhakti." And it truly is only the "word" bhakti. Anyone who had respect for bhakti or any idea what it truly encompassed would not find such a low-rent "send-up" so amusing.

    Unfortunately it looks like America is about to send bhakti yoga down the same shitty road that every other form of yoga has been sent down, so that the idiots, wannabe's, and nobodies can all jump on board and call themselves something. What a mess of a country….

    • __MikeG__ says:

      I'm sure many people would consider me to be an idiot. There is much about myself that I would like to change, so many people would consider me a wannabe. I am not famous or wield great power so I am a nobody. And I was born in the USA.

      From your post it seems that you really hate my guts.

      • You should do a poll before you go posting comments that claim you're an idiot :))) Though I'm truly sorry about your being born in the US. Man, that must suck…..:))

        • http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/the-dark-s

          One very wise and onto-it American woman speaking about the American fallacy of willful ignorance, the "no bad thoughts" policy, and the facade of how speaking the truth is so "evil." See, Mike, I actually love anyone: Indian, Aussie, Swedish, American, whatever….as long as they have something substantial to say. Apart from that? I have zero tolerance (my bad :) and even less for ego, stupidity, and self-created philosophies about how life is. This woman speaks well of the hard-wiring that Americans are suffering from….

          • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

            crazy lady – you have zero tolerance for anyone who has not also been surviving on the diet of bat guano in your little cave!

          • yeah but the drugs are great….who gives a crap? :)))

          • i love the way you just don't go NEAR all the mistakes you make about Hindu/Scandinavian, and all the rest. You're classic internet debater lunatic material, Juliet. Kudos, whacko!

          • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

            hmmm my apologies for interpreting your scandanavian name as meaning you have scandanavian heritage.

            the reason i even mentioned it is because you are doing this kali tap dance around being an authentic hardcore bhakti badass and criticizing all american yogis as being confused and fake.

            but please continue in your reactive venomous diatribe – it is a wonderful education both in the true nature of bhakti and how the rest of us just aren't as enlightened or knowledgable as you.

            perhaps we can one day aspire to your lofty heights of heart centered , intellectually astute, bitch slappin' evolution?

    • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

      wow. {said with a christopher walken inflection.}

      {and now switching to rober duvall while starting the flight of valkyries on my itunes}

      i love the smell of napalm in the morning…

      too funny this thread – tickles my bones.

    • Joey Lugassy says:

      Ahhh earnestness… A very dangerous thing in my view. I recently hugged someone, apparently on the wrong side, and he stopped me to tell me the right way to hug, and that by hugging on the left side (or was it the right side?), I wasn't touching heart to heart. But the heart he was referring to is just an organ and my "heart" (the seat of my love) in reality was touching his "heart". The explanation and redirecting me actually stopped the flow of the hug. How ironic and silly. Too much earnestness is what creates 'us and them' think, excommunications, dogma and even "fatwas" condemning someone to execution. Salmon Rushdie and the editor, Roger Köppel, for reprinting the Mohammad cartoons both disturbingly come to mind. And while I'm certainly not suggesting that Braja is implying this, and she seems very "learned", I smell the seed of that kind of anger and intolerance in her writing. If I could just put this out there – Maybe by all of us saying these silly things that we hear over and over, and yes to the point where it has no meaning and begins to be destroyed, maybe this puts light on it and maybe we think about what we're saying with a little more effort and feeling? Yes, sardonic play sometimes has it's place. I think the reason this video was even created is because we recognize the very things that Braja is saying. So we laugh at ourselves doing that very thing. For instance, how can I say "be in the bhav" in a sing-song flippant manner after seeing this video? We're ALL Bozos on this bus but we're pointed in the right direction. Compassion, patience and a little levity can be our gasoline. Some will come away from these festivals as if they went to a rock concert. What's wrong with that? Some of my best memories and biggest times of inspiration came from rock concerts. Some will come away with a profound sense of inquiry and go deeper. Good for them. No one has the right to assume what bhakti or yoga practice means to others or how it changed their lives from what they might be doing instead. In the end, bhakti just means Love. You can wax and talk about it until the sacred cows come home but bhakti, bhav, shakti, Jai Ma, Jai Shri Krishna means nothing more or less than Love. It's the end message of all religion and philosophy. Not all can be so smart as to learn all the scriptures and their myriad meanings but all can access Love. Shakti Fest was full of that. Peace to all! Life to all! Love to all!!!!"

      -Joey Lugassy

  7. Eva says:

    This is wonderfully fun & funny! In my experience, levity & playfulness are important parts of a spiritual life & I deeply appreciate the laughs this gave me! Shakti Fest was a deep, healing, joyful & earnest celebration of God, and I'm grateful to gather with beloveds in communal devotion. The fact we can poke fun at ourselves is healthy. THANK YOU!! – Eva Clay

  8. Zach L says:

    This thread is absolutely full of so much insanity and self righteous panting. The video is a joke and is actually quite fun. It's called humor. If you can't laugh at yourself then you're off to a bad start on your spiritual practice.

    In addition, I find some of these replies so offensive – they virtually are putting down some of the people who attend Shakti Fest. They are many scholarly and truly devoted Vaishnavs, Shaktas and Shivites who attend this gathering and this rash of judgement that is coming from the replies here are simply uninformed. Judgement gets you nowhere. Just laugh and be playful. To each their own yoga. If this video isn't for you – then cool, just move on. We can all love and respect each other in whatever form of devotion is being expressed.

    • Scott says:

      Light a Bowl, Light a Bowl!

    • Your conclusion on what "humor" is leaves a lot to be desired. You may consider it "personal opinion," but as I point out below, the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu explains the rasa of humor: if you think you know better than Rupa Goswami about the refined process of bhakti yoga and what humor within that process looks like, then you'll defend what is posted here as "humor." And perhaps you might read my referral to Raghunatha Dasa Goswami's offense to a devotee even in a naive fashion, an accidental offense—forget deliberate parody or the defense of low-grade derisiveness. Raghunatha Dasa Goswami didn't jump up and start deriding that person who was offended, and tell him to "get over himself" or "laugh at himself" and promote that as a path to pure devotion. Don't rewrite philosophy, Zach: it doesn't work :)

      • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

        well i personally asked dionysos to consult with zeus and he said that when maimonides took a piss in the fountain and zeno had a good laugh about it they were both heard to utter oaths that revealed their lack of faith in the literal existence of any gods – something for which aristotle would later be executed…..

        but dionysos said that zeus said it was ok to joke around about the early philosophers in our little sect of revivalist greco-roman wrestlers.

  9. shaydewey says:

    We all need to take a deep breath here. Bhaktifst/Shaktifest is an event of love and devotion, I attended, it was great. Radhanath Swami who attends the September Bhakti Fest in service to us all says this about bhakti:
    1.Most simply, bhakti refers to the common religious devotion that is held in the heart of a devoted person of any spiritual faith.
    2.Bhakti can also refer to a practice of yoga (Bhakti-yoga), a spiritual discipline meant to bring one to a state of pure love of God.
    3.More specifically, the term Bhakti can refer to the devotional interpretation of Vedanta. Vedanta is the most popular of India’s six classical schools of philosophy and the primary influence in Hinduism.
    4.Bhakti also is used to refer to a trend within the history of Indian spirituality – the Bhakti Movement.
    5.Finally, the word Bhakti refers to the perfected state of consciousness – exclusive and continuous love of God, the natural condition of the soul; eternal, enlightened bliss.

    • Thank you Shay! Yes, these all describe Bhakti. I am afraid my point has gotten misconstrued somehow. I simply meant to say this:

      I just don't think many actual bhajkti yogis (including Radhanatha Swami), would relate to this video as "stuff bhakti yogis say". That's all. (But, I could be wrong. This is only my perspective).

      BUT, I think it would be AWESOME if someone made a video that actually showed a comedic, light, fun, humorous presentation (like the one above), of what REAL bhakti yogis sound like! :))

      Still, the video above is a good way to invite people to the shaktifest. Therefore, to me, it sounds like something "Shaktifest Goers" would say, instead of Bhakti Yogis. I like the video, but the title, to me, is misleading, even within the BROAD context of what defines bhakti.

    • Nice explanation of bhakti, shaydewey: very nice.

  10. shaydewey says:

    So let's please show some love here, and by no means is bhakti restrictive or exclusive, everyone can join. My understanding is that Sri Krishna Chaitanya brought us kirtan so that EVERYONE can have access to the mantras, even "so that the idiots, wannabe's, and nobodies can all jump on board " and that is a good thing.

    • While everyone is keen to defend this as a "parody" or as "irreverent" humor, or claim that, in the process of sankirtan, anyone and everyone can do or say anything, I'd like to see something substantial in support of that. If you want to speak of bhakti, then refer to Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, wherein Rupa Goswami outlines the various rasas, or mellows, one of which is humor. There is nothing inherent in the process of bhakti where irreverence is emphasized or encouraged or practiced. Please don't defend the unrefined senses and their rampant insistence on having their way: bhakti is a process, as outlined in the Gita also, as a refinement of the senses, and Sri Upadesamrita begins with the tongue. I'm reminded of how Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, while in meditation, laughed at the memory of a pastime, and as he did so, a Vaisnava walked by. Seeing no reason for Goswami's laughter, he assumed Goswami was laughing at him. He took offense. Goswami was mortified that someone had taken offense at something that was not even related to them: imagine his response to irreverence or parody, or what passes as low-rent humor? Call me a purist? I doubt that very much—far from it, and I have an irreverent humor that I love. But not at the expense of the bhakti process or its practitioners, thanks…

      So go ahead, parody until the cows come home: but don't defend it as a rightful passage through Lord Caitanya's movement. If you want to jump on board that wheel-less wagon, go ahead….but be sure there will always be as strong a reaction to your dismissiveness of the refined process of bhakti and those who practice it….

      Love, indeed….

  11. Frank Marino says:

    Thank you, Zach – well said!

  12. Frank Marino says:

    Thank you, Zach L – well said!

  13. erica says:

    thank you for this absolutely HILARIOUS video. and for those who are taking it "personally" need to sit down and chant another 108

  14. Zach L says:

    Oh boy. Don't engage with Braja above. Never argue with a well educated Gaudiya Vaishnav, they have a Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam quote for anything they want to defend and they will school you pretty much all the time. Such wonderful books and a wonderful tradition. I personally choose to have good association with people who can laugh at themselves and don't take it too seriously to the point of righteous fanaticism. Passion (not in the rajas form) and conviction is great but not to the point of having no original point of view that stems from your own mind and heart.

    • No, don't engage with me if you don't have the intelligence to, Zach: if you don't, then admit it. If you can't admit it, don't resort to insults. You, my dear boy, just became your own best parody :)

      Lights out: and btw? I don't have a "Gita or Bhagavatam quote for anything." Rather, I choose to "walk the talk." I believe that's how it's done: live what you speak, don't make it up as you go along and come out swinging when someone challenges you for doing so. If you want to engage in intelligent discussion, then by all means write back. If you want to keep swinging at the air, know in advance that I really couldn't give a damn what your mind throws back. OK?

  15. While everyone is keen to defend this as a "parody" or as "irreverent" humor, or claim that, in the process of sankirtan, anyone and everyone can do or say anything, I'd like to see something substantial in support of that. If you want to speak of bhakti, then refer to Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, wherein Rupa Goswami outlines the various rasas, or mellows, one of which is humor. There is nothing inherent in the process of bhakti where irreverence is emphasized or encouraged or practiced. Please don't defend the unrefined senses and their rampant insistence on having their way: bhakti is a process, as outlined in the Gita also, as a refinement of the senses, and Sri Upadesamrita begins with the tongue. I'm reminded of how Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, while in meditation, laughed at the memory of a pastime, and as he did so, a Vaisnava walked by. Seeing no reason for Goswami's laughter, he assumed Goswami was laughing at him. He took offense. Goswami was mortified that someone had taken offense at something that was not even related to them: imagine his response to irreverence or parody, or what passes as low-rent humor? Call me a purist? I doubt that very much—far from it, and I have an irreverent humor that I love. But not at the expense of the bhakti process or its practitioners, thanks…

  16. paul says:

    that guy at ~1:11 has a tattoo that looks like v. 3 of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Siksastakam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siksastakam ( http://sanskritdocuments.org/all_sa/shiksha_sa.ht… for the devanagari), which I quote in full below for the conversations' sake (mainly v. 2); Mr. Tattoo looks like a tool to me still (and probalby will for some time as I've conditioned myself for some time to think this way), I am glad for him, and to have looked him up!

    1. Glory to the Sri Krishna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.

    2. O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krishna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by chanting Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.

    3. One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.

    4. O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.

    5. O son of Maharaja Nanda (Krishna), I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms of Your lotus feet.

    6. O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs on my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?

    7. O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.

    8. I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly in His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord unconditionally.

    9. If anyone recites or hears these eight verses of instruction by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, his ecstatic love and devotion for Krsna increases day by day.

  17. shaydewey says:

    And btw much respect to both Catherine and Braja's writing on Elephant Journal, I always enjoy reading the writing they do about the Gita.

    • Thank you Shay. I am afraid my views are getting a bit misconstrued here. (sigh)
      I never said there was no bhakti at the Shaktifest. And I have enjoyed all those humorous video series in this mood. I have nothing against that. I was just trying to say -in a not so effective fashion evidentially- that I would LOVE to watch a funny parody video made by more "traditional" bhakti yogis, you might say. And yes, Kasey seems like a sincere sweetheart, and her playful spirit is appreciated! I was just trying to propose a different title for her blog. Sorry this went in such an uncomfortable direction here in this comment thread. :(

    • Actually I couldn't see a single thing in that video that had anything to do with bhakti. It's a shame that that community—whoever they are—are so uninformed of what bhakti is, to the extent that they think they're bhaktas.

      Hippies with a lingo; though no doubt they also think they're "avadhutas" :))

      And on the merry circus goes…!

  18. Kitzie Stern says:

    Those of us who attended Shakti Fest recognize this video for what it is … a hilarious parody of the weekend. What a treat it was to see our favorite kirtan wallahs having fun with Kasey, who is beloved in this community. Is it pure bhakti? Probably not. Does it bring more people to God? Probably yes — and isn’t that the point? The path to Spirit is joyful, and full of play — well expressed by Kasey’s videos of the whole weekend.

    Thanks, Kasey. I’ve enjoyed them all. Hari bol.

    • scott says:

      "The path to sprit" can also rip your heart out, hand it to you…make you examine it…turn you insied out..forcing you examine your ego..as well as make you concious of all the suffering in the world..Raisning your consiousness and compassion….!!

  19. Ali Dawn says:

    Maybe I am simple, but maybe the world could use a bit of simplicity…Love one, Love all. Smile and laugh if you think its funny. Forgive if you feel its offensive. Have compassion. Breath.
    We are all brothers and sisters here. We are all brothers and sisters here. We are all brothers and sister here.

  20. Marita says:

    I enjoyed the video… people were having fun. We all could be doing something better with our time (including me), than arguing with people online, people who in another time and place would likely all be chanting in bliss next to one another. On that note, Hari Bol, light a bowl, pass a bowl or put it in your pipe and smoke it… either way Ram loves only love, he who knows this, can know.

  21. love you… be love, breath love, forgive, and Remember, remember to remember… laugh, play, Pray…. be true, be the warrior, Do my work, stay on path, be the priest, the priestess, The Angel that you are. Be reverent….. and remember, Remember every moment our Divine Essence is our True Nature.. Nurture and cultivate that seed of Light in our hearts, that God lives within and without. Divine mother, Divine Father… i thank you, I love you. that is what i am left from this brilliant weekend. It brings me great joy to laugh and play with each of you… THANK YOU KASEY AND BIG HAPPY DAY for spreading the love! Jai ma! Radhe Radhe! Hare Krishna! Ram Ram Ram….Sita Ram…..! Sham!

  22. Micheline Berry says:

    Because I can not say it any better… “Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.” ― Tom Robbins

    BTW… For what it is worth, I taught a class on Friday at said festival which was one of the most profound of my 16 year teaching career, witnessing myself and my students break open in a spontaneous, direct collective moment of fierce grace… dare I say "Bhakti".

    Wax on… Wax off…

    • lauraplumb says:

      We witnessed that class for a brief moment, Micheline, and it was, even in the witnessing, inspiring! Thank you for your fluid grace. And, Thank You, Kasey, for helping us laugh at ourselves. I think Swamiji would smile at you for your work. Jai Ma!

  23. Scott says:

    Thank you Braja and Catherine for you Wise, Insightful commentary……

  24. bo forbes says:

    If a great part of bhakti yoga involves "heart to heart dialogue," as one commentator said above, then where is the "heart" in this dialogue? Part of our spiritual practice is embodied in the way we communicate with one another. Is it really necessary to point out to others how intellectually inadequate you feel they are and how superior you feel in comparison? The dialogue above in many places seems to bump right up against the boundaries of ahimsa- and in my opinion, disavows the very practice of bhakti.

    • Yes, nonviolence at any cost, right? No? How would you explain ahimsa to Arjuna? Sometimes pointing out *is* necessary, but unfortunately the "yoga" community in the US pounces on the first sign of instruction or correction and screams "judgmental!!" "ahimsa!!" and any other catchphrase that prevents them facing the truth. As for someone's claim that a "great part of bhakti yoga involves heart to heart dialogue," that's not some sweeping generalization. Actually there is a certain way to address those who have a greater knowledge of a subject than we do — and I'm shocked to have to point that out — while heart to heart dialog only takes place with those who are our equals in terms of spiritual understanding, practice, and so on. To those who are less equipped with understanding, instruction is given. Unfortunately when an ego kicks in throws it back, whaddya gonna do? Me? Sorry, I bite back :) Or slap down. I know, I'm pure evil….:)))

    • Thanks Bo! I agree.

  25. zoekors says:

    Thank you, Micheline, for the Tom Robbins wisdom. Spot on. And yes, well said, Bo. "The more one judges, the less one loves." —Balzac

  26. Shakti Bhakti says:

    I am a kirtan junkie and Kasey I enjoyed your spoof it made me chuckle :)

  27. Scott says:

    When I attended, Shakti/Bhakti fest last year attended a yoga class, a fellow yogi sets up beside me and with extreme delight proceeds to expound his joy at all the beautiful, scantily clad women at the festival…little did he know I was enjoying some eye candy myself..HIM. I know when I object to a comment I make, especially by one far more educated in the subject. I.e. Braja and Catherine, there must be grain of truth to it! AllCatherine was saying is that a more fitting title to the video may have been Shit Shatki festival goers say!

  28. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    kasey luber this is another really fun, sweet installment in your continuing efforts to expose more people to the practices you love. your sincerity and lovability is evident in how many people you consistently get to participate spontaneously in creating these segments…. your hard work and quick turn around on this material evidences a wonderfully self-motivated temperament with multiple mad skills.

    the teachers who's livelihood depends on being exposed to the potential students who are intrigued by the glimpse you give and the community that enjoys seeing itself reflected and celebrated are all i am sure deeply grateful for all you do.

    i never thought i would see the day when the same fundemantalist trolls would be attacking your innocuous video about shaktifest as come at me regarding my controversial articles about integrated spirituality!

    welcome to the club?

    • You know, I debated giving my 2 cents here since I am not part of the Bhakti community, American or otherwise. But, I couldn't shake the irony of such an angry debate between groups that are supposed to be focused on love and devotion….not angry all over…but definitely pushing the respect boundaries in several comments. (Not you specifically, Julian).

      So my 2 cents: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/im-right-s

      • Julian Walker yogijulian says:

        yea i can't resist pushing back when i see braja bullying my friends.

      • shaydewey says:

        I think this may have been one of the first posts on the internet I have commented on, I too am amazed by the complete lack of boundaries in communication in some of the comments. Instead of adding to the conversation or discourse or providing an education, there is anger and namecalling and generally comments are filled with hate.

  29. scott says:

    Here's the thing, The video was supposed to be a joke…But the punchline missed the mark!

  30. bo forbes says:

    I was curious about Braja's creative interpretation of how dialogue is meant to ensue in bhakti yoga (i.e. relating one way to 'superiors,' another to 'equals,' and a third way to those with less knowledge). So I asked one of the world's authorities on bhakti yoga, Edwin Bryant (if you haven't already read his books or know his work, he's at http://edwinbryant.org/) to weigh in. He said:

    "Such elitism simply reflects the absence of a genuine spiritual bhakti rasa (taste), as, if we had that, we would not need to feel better about ourselves by peering down our noses at others. I can tell she is a Gaudiya Vaishnava from her langauge and the texts she quotes (Bhakti-Rasamrita Sindu). Gaudiya Vaishnavism stems from Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the 16th century (the tradition considers him an incarnationof Krishna). However, he only wrote 8 verses himself, the massive corpus of the Gaudiya theological canon being written by his disciples (such as the text noted above written by Rupa Gosvami). The full 8 verses, called the Siksastaka (the 8 verses of instruction) can be read at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siksastaka#Translati….

    "One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Siksastaka, verse 3

    I think that about sums up what spiritual discourse can be like.

  31. bo forbes says:

    And to be clear, the final sentence above was mine, not Edwin's.

  32. Joey Lugassy says:

    Ahhh earnestness… A very dangerous thing in my view. I recently hugged someone, apparently on the wrong side, and he stopped me to tell me the right way to hug, and that by hugging on the left side (or was it the right side?), I wasn't touching heart to heart. But the heart he was referring to is just an organ and my "heart" (the seat of my love) in reality was touching his "heart". The explanation and redirecting me actually stopped the flow of the hug. How ironic and silly. Too much earnestness is what creates 'us and them' think, excommunications, dogma and even "fatwas" condemning someone to execution. Salmon Rushdie and the editor, Roger Köppel, for reprinting the Mohammad cartoons both disturbingly come to mind. And while I'm certainly not suggesting that Braja is implying this, and she seems very "learned", I smell the seed of that kind of anger and intolerance in her writing. If I could just put this out there – Maybe by all of us saying these silly things that we hear over and over, and yes to the point where it has no meaning and begins to be destroyed, maybe this puts light on it and maybe we think about what we're saying with a little more effort and feeling? Yes, sardonic play sometimes has it's place. I think the reason this video was even created is because we recognize the very things that Braja is saying. So we laugh at ourselves doing that very thing. For instance, how can I say "be in the bhav" in a sing-song flippant manner after seeing this video? We're ALL Bozos on this bus but we're pointed in the right direction. Compassion, patience and a little levity can be our gasoline. Some will come away from these festivals as if they went to a rock concert. What's wrong with that? Some of my best memories and biggest times of inspiration came from rock concerts. Some will come away with a profound sense of inquiry and go deeper. Good for them. No one has the right to assume what bhakti or yoga practice means to others or how it changed their lives from what they might be doing instead. In the end, bhakti just means Love. You can wax and talk about it until the sacred cows come home but bhakti, bhav, shakti, Jai Ma, Jai Shri Krishna means nothing more or less than Love. It's the end message of all religion and philosophy. Not all can be so smart as to learn all the scriptures and their myriad meanings but all can access Love. Shakti Fest was full of that. Peace to all! Life to all! Love to all!!!!"

    -Joey Lugassy

  33. Dedee says:

    None of this matters.

  34. doug says:

    My wife and I love to chant the divine names and do so daily. But this video, in spite of it's attempt to be humorous, reminded us of why we're glad we didn't attend Shaktifest. Last September we attended Bhaktifest and in spite of the bliss of singing all those kirtan songs, we were taken aback by the many displays of rudeness, narcissism, and inconsiderateness. Common courtesy was said to be the key to Shangrila. Common courtesy and emotional maturity were lacking at last year's Bhaktifest.

    • froggie says:

      while there were sparkily wonderous moments- Larisa @ 1 am, Mothers Day morning kirtan, Jai's self-effacing humor – it is true: mindfulness of Being was not a strong point of Shakti fest. Low attendance – more vendors, musicians, yoga rockstars & 'Press' (& the extensive entourages, riding free) than participants. Many 'voyeurs' who didn't chant, were more concerned with their chips, sitting in their HIghBack chairs, SERiousLy mat-less in their lives (phat..).. SOooo.. the Bhav's kinda going the way of Burning Man – spectator sport versus tribe & anahata… This relatively uncreative vid demonstrates the dumbing-down of spiritual gatherings. Yea, yama-niyama is more than a concept, it is a way to BE..

    • scott says:

      I'm finding that"common" courtesy has gone the way of "common" sense,, not so common any more…

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  40. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    hmmm thing is braja – you don't know me. you don't know kasey, who made the video above. you don't know any of the people in the video – many of whom are people i actually do know from my neighborhood.

    you don't know what their character is like, or what the nature of their practice is.

    you don't know that i am not american but south african and originally of english and scottish stock, but lived in africa half my life – born in a country called zimbabwe. you don't know that i didn't have a stutter as a child.

    in fact you are not a good judge of what is accurate, sincere, correct etc with regard to anything in this thread – you are only displaying your bitter, dispossessed, self-righteous, quirky wannabe scandanavian hindu fundamentalism.

    i also note with interest that you have deleted a couple of your other comments.

  41. You've confused me with someone who gives a shit about what you think :)

    btw, Juliet, I'm an Aussie, so there goes the "you know nothing" soapbox you're standing on. As for Hindu? Nope, wrong again. I could keep going but…no wait….I just remembered: I couldn't give a shit :)) G'nite, Ah, boy, I'm lovin' the way you get soooo worked up and sanctimonious. You really are fond of yourself, aren't you precious?

    btw, you're still stalking me. I do believe you have some deep-seated anger issues towards women who are infintely superior in their intellect to you. Every time I say something on EJ, there you are. So tell me, O So Wise One: who's the one with bitterness issues? Who's the fundamentalist, self-righteous….well, whatever. I just remember I couldn't care less :))

  42. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    braja – i am glad your sophisticated intellectual piety (not to mention powerful imagination) adds up to your best insult being a grade school effort at feminizing my name!

    you know honestly – no-one has implied i was a girl, while accusing me of being angry with women in the same breath….. i am confused. if it is an insult to call me by a girl's name wouldn't the insulter be the one with anger towards females?

    thanks for putting me in my place. ;)

    you have done a bang up job of demonstrating the true power of being the only REAL bhakti yogini on the block. brava!

  43. it was "sugarcane" called you juliet. obviously it bothers you though, since you're still stalking me. my powers are sublime, and they're conquering you. best you just bow down and STFU. And thank you for thinking I'm the only real bhakti yogini on the block. Alas, you're wrong: many others surround you…

  44. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    {sigh}

    have a nice batshit sandwich. ;)

  45. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    wow.

  46. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    hey something just occurred to me – you are probably not aware of the "sh*t ______ say" video series on youtube are you?

    basically about 6 months ago there was a video called "sh*t women say" that became very popular and spawned a whole genre of related videos (sh*t men say, black girls say, gay dudes say – and of course in our little subculture – sh*t yogis say etc…)

    knowing this context up front may have made you take less offense?

    also – quick disclaimer: i personally am not big into kirtan, chanting the names of god or gathering with others for weekend festivals to do so, but i tell ya this braja, i would rather spend an entire weekend chanting to krishna with these supposedly confused, fake american bhakti heads than a minute longer listening to your faux superior fundamentalism, childish attempts at debate zingers, or idiosyncratic self-aggrandizing .

  47. Hilarious :) You follow me everywhere, you use the word fundamentalist more than I've ever seen anyone use it, yet you're the most fundamental keyboard warrror wannabe whackjob I've come across. You attack and chase anyone who has a thought even slightly different from yours, you praise the crap out of anyone who shows even the slightest appreciation for your "writing," and I use the word lightly. REAL lightly! Your pseudo-intellectual bullshit is so droll it's like comedy. I guess the fact that my articles hit the thousands really pisses you off, eh? Otherwise why do you keep chasing me? Textbook insecurity issues that would be amusing if they weren't so pathetic. Seriously Julian, how many times do I have to tell you to get a life? Sad little man….go and do an asana in front of your big mirror and calm your ego …..

  48. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    mmm inhaling the bhakti!

    you made mean spirited comments on a video made by a friend of mine and featuring several friends of mine – thats why i responded to you, because most everyone else was either afraid of your bullying tone or just chose to take a wide berth.

    this last paragraph from you is is stunning, braja – truly stunning, and a bit bizarre.

    i shoulda just left it at my initial response – WOW.

    i can honestly tell you i feel zero competitiveness with you, but it is telling that you choose to take it there, and odd.

    hope your day gets better from here on, and rest assured i do not follow your online activity, but when you come in all bluster and bravado on a post by someone i know, assuming and projecting really insulting things while pretending to be a deeply enlightened authority, i will speak up.

    take care of yourself, i hope you have someone who hugs and holds you braja.

    i have to tell you though, your tactics are amongst the ugliest i have ever encountered:

    just in this exchange you have called me by the female version of my name, told me i must have a small penis, called me pathetic, tried to one up me by pointing out that your blog posts have recently gotten more hits than mine and insulted my writing….

    i can only imagine what a living hell it must be to live inside such a tormented psyche. get help, if not for your sake – for ours.

  49. vish says:

    braja has her hands in it too- she was calling names and psychoanalyzing from afar like a twin julian- who himself called someone a pseudo-intellectual dweeb or something not too long ago, like a good yogi.
    choosing sides (cause that's what their spat looks like) i'd take braja's, but that doesn't mean she wasn't being nasty, right to the border of hateful. worst though is julian pushing love for the bhakti scene while almost everything he writes takes a spit at god, and slightly less worse is braja not being able to articulate why the mellow goofs of the video aren't bhaktis

  50. Thaddeus Haas Thaddeus1 says:

    It is with great hesitation that I even venture forth into this arena…and I only do so to set the record straight…it was "pseudo-intellectual bully" that Julian called me…but hey, who's keeping score? I probably deserved it.

  51. Seems like it got heated overall, with some that was quite over the top and in violation of our comment policy, which is—debate is wonderful, no personal attacks on the writer or other commenters. I love that you ended your statement with, "I probably deserved it," Thad! If more of us would embrace that idea of driving all blames into one instead of being defensive and angry all the time, we'd get a lot more accomplished.

  52. vish says:

    i understand your sentiment, score keeping is what the two kids are all about. the actual line is "you pseudo-intellectual pretentious bully" so +1 me :D

  53. Thaddeus Haas Thaddeus1 says:

    Yeah…I definitely lost a taste for the debate early on. Although I thought Catherine's original point was a good one and expressed in a very clear and considerate way. I often think her communication is impeccable and real model for me(us) to emulate.

    Also, whether or not I was a being a bully, I think we should all try to remember and adhere to the comment policy you point out above. Because at the end of the day, it's just not nice to call people names, not to mention stifling of debate.

  54. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    well, when someone stoops to feminizing my name as an insult, telling me i clearly have a small penis, that i am just jealous that she (supposedly) has more readers than i do, and that i am stalking her….. come on!

    fact is this woman is out of control, super reactive, adept at going for the personally insulting jugular and cannot handle a moment of discussion/debate that does not conform to her bizarrely fundamentalist religiosity.

    read through the threads and you will see i am not the only person she lashed out at venomously – i was just the only one who stood up to her crap. i actually maintain a pretty calm tone through most of it, the only real insult being that i think she is batshit crazy, which she either is, or does a great job playing on TV!

    the tragicomic irony here is that all of this was in the service of her supposedly schooling a group of friends from my neighborhood on the "true nature of bhakti."

    give me a break.

  55. Thaddeus Haas Thaddeus1 says:

    I'm not defending her, nor will I be convinced that you are the noble, victimized defender of your friends.

    It takes two to tango. I'm sure your motivations were pure. However, your tactics were less than faultless. I mean even now you are calling names and spewing unkind sentiments. Just let it go.

    However, the real point of my above statement pertained to when you referred to me as a "pseudo-intellectual bully" in a previous comment thread and how this bears on the comment policy which Kate cited as not endorsing personal attacks.

  56. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    just to be clear thaddeus – are you actually comparing me calling you a "pseudo-intellectual bully" with braja's obscene, reactive, ad hominem as listed above?

    and to clarify further – i never claimed to be a "noble victim" – i said i was standing up to braja after seeing her attack sever others in the comments section of a video made by and featuring several people i know personally.

    yes i was engaged in a tango with her – and i chose to be, and part of why i continued was to illustrate her out of control reactive hateful style.

    did i insult her? sure – i implied that she was batshit crazy based on how she was acting here and has acted before and based on the lack of continuity, reason, indeed of anything other than childish self-aggrandizing and schoolyard insult in just about anything she said.

    and yes at one point i said she was a scandanavian hindu fundamentalist wannabe, in response to her diatribes against how fucked up and full of shit the american yoga is that was now gonna pervert true bhakti, telling me i should change my avatar name to americanjulian etc….

    personally i don't think anyone should be censored, nor that free speech should be limited. braja is free to speak and act this way – in fact i feel the more she does it the deeper she digs her own hole.

  57. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    now that this is out of the way….

    i am sorry if you were offended when i said that to you thaddeus. you bring it up so clearly you felt it was wrong.

    i agree with kate that it is big of you to say you probably deserved it – and you may notice in the thread with braja when she corrected my impression that she was scandanavian i apologized – which was met with further grade school one-upsmanship and hystrionics.

    i do remember saying you were a pseudo-intellectual bully and it was intended less as an insult than as a description of something i think you do.

    i may be wrong – but i have over the years encountered a style based in postmodern relativist, historical revisionist, and philosophy of science sophistry that seeks to use complex and intellectual sounding arguments to somehow make it seem as if supernaturalist beliefs and magical thinking are plausible and that those who deny their plausibility are mere "scientific materialists" who are somehow deluded about their own religious dogma and are blind to how they think their reality is superior to that of other supposed metaphysics etc…

    personally i find that whole position very dishonest, convoluted, murky and pretentious, and also impossible to debate, because it is in my opinion an elaborate circular self-inoculation against any and all arguments based in simply redefining terms and playing games.

    now i may be wrong and i may be missing something important as i am sure you will no doubt think, but when i see people adopting this kind of sophistry i try to just point it out quickly and move on – because the experience is otherwise for me one of quicksand.

    you'll note that i have a pretty harsh critique of these ideas and style of arguing – but they do not result in me telling you that you most likely have a small penis, are jealous of my readership, are stalking me when you make comments, that you are secretly a girl who has no balls and should go by the name thalidomide because your mother obviously bore a mutant etc….. right?

    i also mean you no offense here and do not want to hurt you as a person – in the moment when i said you were a pseudo-intellectual bully, i think i was coming to the defense (albeit briefly) of someone in the comments section of one of my articles who i thought might be overawed by your style.

    the problem again for me in this regard is i know there is nothing i can say to penetrate what i experience as a kind of sophistry and so either not saying anything or just making a comment like that seems all that is left.

    i probably should just say nothing.

  58. vish says:

    you "never claimed to be a "noble victim"" yet "the same fundemantalist [sic] trolls… attacking [you]…come at me … welcome to the club? " and the "i never thought…" this thread begins with
    you write like you actually addressed the (little substance) braja said, that you have these great friends who you look down on ("i fact my values explicitly hold that belief in god is more often than not a actually a drawback with regard to actualizing those principles [i value]! "- i looked through some of your comments, you got a lot of words) but all you did was poke and poke, "wow" you say, "i can only imagine what a living hell it must be to live inside such a tormented psyche. get help, if not for your sake – for ours. " and "crazy lady – you have zero tolerance for anyone who has not also been surviving on the diet of bat guano in your little cave! "and to you that's defending. and worse you posture like you're the honest one who calls out sophistry but you use the same specious FSM, invisible unicorn teapot lines as if they had a real equivalency to how people relate and consider god, even here you defend with "well i personally asked dionysos to consult with zeus and he said that when maimonides…"
    you poopoo "[braja's] faux superior fundamentalism, childish attempts at debate zingers, or idiosyncratic self-aggrandizing" while sitting arm in arm with her in the same potty, painting yourselves exactly the same.

  59. athayoganusasanam says:

    yea, you probably should just say nothing :) can you imagine how much less stress would be in your life if you stopped arguing with people online all the time? wouldn't that be a sweet relief.

  60. Thaddeus Haas Thaddeus1 says:

    Well…here's what I would say…

    Killing is killing no matter how many people one kills, or whether they do it nicely or viciously…I think ad hominems and name calling is analogous in this situation. For me, the issue boils down to tone and respect. If you want to point out what you perceive to be someone's faults perhaps I might suggesting doing so in a more nuanced and respectful tone. Or better yet, actually looking at yourself and see how you (the general "you" in this case) perpetrate the same thing you find so offensive.

    As for being a sophist…I will merely say in the words of Socrates, "I would rather die having spoke after my manner than speak in your manner and live."

    But, I would like to thank you for explaining/apologizing for your bully comment while simultaneously explaining to me how and why I apparently am one.

  61. vish says:

    vish, why do you bother, you know he's not going to listen to anything but his own echo.
    ah, but vish, clarity. you love the reflecting pond as much as anyone, and just cause you don't surname yourself as someone who really gets yoga doesn't mean you don't sometimes think it, so go for the clarity, cause maybe some of that muck will get pushed to the side of the toilet and you can see yourself a bit more clearly
    oh, ok +1 me, oh wait, the score is love love love love love love love love :D

  62. Thaddeus Haas Thaddeus1 says:

    Wow. You did your homework. You win! :-)

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