S#!T Bhakti Yogis Say.

Via Big Happy Day
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.

4,139 views

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.

Comments

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.

  3. Luber says:

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

  4. 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! 🙂

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

  6. Scott says:

    Totally agree with Catherine

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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! =)

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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….

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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. :))

  17. Scott says:

    Light a Bowl, Light a Bowl!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Frank Marino says:

    Thank you, Zach – well said!

  21. Frank Marino says:

    Thank you, Zach L – well said!

  22. 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.

  23. 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….

  24. Zach L says:

    But that's where you are wrong Catherine and offensive. There are LOTS of real Bhakti Yogis at Shakti Fest in this video. Many in fact. And I do Radhanath Swami very well and I'm willing to bet he'd laugh at this. Are you really saying that there are no REAL bhaktas here? That's terrible.

  25. 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

  26. 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 🙂

  27. Nice explanation of bhakti, shaydewey: very nice.

  28. 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.

  29. shaydewey says:

    Yes I understand what you are saying, and maybe a different title could have prevented some people from taking it the wrong wasy,but this is a humorous video of people who identify as having a bhakti practice making fun of themselves, I think that even Radhanath Swami maight laugh.
    This is in the tradition of the "Shit Yogi's say and "Shit New Age Guys, http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/sht-yogis-
    "http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/video-response-to-sh-new-age-girls-say-shi-new-age-guys-say-jeff-thompson-liz-cross-thompson/ and

  30. Wow…now she's offensive? :))

  31. 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…

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. Kitzie Stern says:

    Scott, were you there?

  36. 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.

  37. 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. 🙁

  38. 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?

  39. 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…!

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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…

  43. 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!

  44. 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

  45. Scott says:

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

  46. 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.

  47. 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

  48. Shakti Bhakti says:

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

  49. I know, julian (I'll leave out the "yogi" bit, let's just not go there, eh?) — I have understood for a long time that it's all shock and awe with you, every time you see my name. In time you'll recover :))