Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Have you ever said something to someone that was wrong?
I'm asking if you've ever said something, with a fiery conviction and belief that you were entirely right -- only to later find out that flat-out you misspoke and your were the one who was misinformed.
I don't know when or how I crossed my wires on this one, but once upon a time I was familiar with Bhakti as a concept, as a practice and as a path.
While hitchhiking through New Zealand and Australia I continuously bumped into the Bhagavad Gita, which translates to the Lord's Song -- this is the book of the Krsna devotees. Maybe you've seen them? The ones who are usually wearing beautiful flower garlands, gorgeous saris, they'll have drums and bells, they dance in the streets and feed delightful food to those who are around them. And of course, they chant.
One thing led to another and by the time I was north of Sydney, Australia, I finally gave in to the synchronicities with Krsna and I packed up and headed to a farm. This was a space where devotees lived and tended to the fields. Cows are sacred and happy.
The devotees chant. Morning through to night. A constant humming of prayer will fill your ears.
Being that I was not a devotee, I was never expected to chant. Of course, I did, and took joy in it. But also -- I practiced yoga.
The Bhagavad Gita contains in it the oldest book on yoga that exists (by my knowledge). It speaks to karma yoga (the path of self-transcending action, or right-action done-right), samkhya yoga (the path of discerning the principles of existence correctly), and Bhakti yoga (the path of devotion).
It was here on this farm that I learned. That I worshipped. I wondered if I was a Bhakta? A devotee who practices Bhakti.
Every morning I would milk the cows, sip the offering at the temple, collect the flowers, create garlands, paint and chant. But before all -- I would arrive on my mat in the gardens, some mornings I would arrive even before the first resident of the farm would begin their chants.
Bhakti -- devotional practice. I wanted my life to be Bhakti, and in so many ways, that is what I have chosen.
It is funny how life twists and turns though. It was just the other day as I walked along a windy beach in the state of Maine on the continental United States of America that I spoke entirely incorrectly.
Hatha is was I said is devotional practice.
It had been three years since I left that farm. I'm not sure at all when I forgot the word Bhakti.
The concept, the underlying principal and feeling, that never left me. At some point in the years between then and now, I eroded Bhakti and inserted Hatha onto a principal that I has ruled my breath -- both on and off of the mat.
I wonder if I will ever forget the name Bhakti again?