Devotional practitioner, translator, author, speaker and musician, Shyamdas (1953-2013) brought India's ancient Vedic literature and medieval devotional renaissance to life in the West. An accomplished practitioner-scholar and guide to the 16th century philosopher Vallabhacharya’s Pushtimarga tradition, Shyamdas published more than 15 books on Bhakti Yoga and the Path of Grace. Shyamdasji’s overflowing good mood and ability to relate to every individual and situation with bhāva (divine, good mood) made him an instant best friend to so many. His profound contributions live on in their hearts, and in his audio and written publications.
After being called to India in a dream encounter with the famous Vrindavan saint Neem Karoli Baba, in 1972 Shyamdas travelled to India and took up residence in the sacred city of Vrindavan. Soon thereafter he began to receive bhakti teachings from his guru of the grace filled path, Shri Prathameshji. Shyamdasji’s was truly addicted to satsang—association with fellow truth seekers. He regularly led kirtan and satsang programs at yoga studios and retreat centers in America, Canada, and Europe. Of late he was a central figure in the burgeoning kirtan festival movement, headlining at events like Omega Institute’s Ecstatic Chant Weekends and the regional Bhakti Fests.
Shyamdasji’s love and commitment to the sacred region of Braj and its inhabitants inspired him to dedicate his time, resources, and connections to various charitable works, including environmental cleanup efforts in Braj, cow protection, architectural restorations, direct support to schools, musicians, and temples, and of course, feeding people. The Shyamdas Foundation established in his honor supports charitable works, devotional projects and musical studies, in the spirit of Shyamdasji’s amazing life and legacy.
“Jai Shri Krishna…What a lila! To my entire family as well as to my circle of satsang friends and teachers: it was an honor to have been a part of it. Know that the soul is eternal and plays onwards, always reaching for the Beloved.”
—from the Last Will and Testament of Shyamdas
Hari OM…Beloved friends and loved ones of Shyamdasji and bhaktas and kirtan lovers. Our priceless friend Shyamdasji left this world last night. He spent his remaining hours, as usual, in satsang and bliss with a group of dear friends. On this night in particular they were reading Shri Vallabhacarya’s teaching “Krsnashraya” and reflecting deeply on and repeating the refrain, “Krsna eva gatir mama…Krishna is my refuge and destination.” He has arrived at his final refuge and destination now.
Though nothing can replace this loss for us, he left us with so much, so many teachings, reflections, and memories, and most of all, the example to live a divinely inspired life, in constant search for bhava and in appreciation for one another. He loves us all very much and would love nothing more than for us to continue our own journey towards eternal bliss and appreciation for satsang and kirtan of all kinds.
To support one another as Shyamdasji’s loved ones grieving around the globe, please feel free to share any inspirations, memories, or special ways you are commemorating Shyamdasji’s ecstatic lifetime and his return to the divine abode, by posting comments here (To comment, click on the title above, “In loving devotional memory”
Summer is upon us! Shyamdas has returned from India and is on the road again to bring us the ecstatic chanting and teachings that we’ve missed during the winter months. Feel free to browse our summer events for concerts and teachings in your area. Also, don’t forget to “like” Shyamdas on Facebook to keep up-to-date on all the latest news, last-minute events and announcements throughout the year.
Some upcoming events include:
April 28 – An Evening with Shyamdas – Ananda Ashram, Monroe, NY
April 29 – The Joy of Service and Desireless Action – Om Factory NYC, New York, NY
May 4 – Spring Ecstatic Chant – Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY
May 11 – Satsang and Kirtan with Sadhu Maharaja – Yoga Mandali, Saratoga
May 12 – Sacred Conversation and Bhajan – Euphoria Yoga, Woodstock, NY
May 17 – A Taste of Vrindavan: Stories and Kirtan – Yogamaya NYC, New York, NY
We look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks!
Save the Date!
HUDSON RIVER BHAJAN BOAT
Saturday, May 19, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Don’t miss the first Bhajan Boat of the 2012 season!
This is one of the Hudson Valley Bhakti Yoga Community’s favorite events. Details will be finalized as soon as Shyam Das and other particicpants return from India. This trip generally fills up quickly. If you’d like us to put your name on the list, please e-mail Shyam Das at IAMSHYAM@aol.com. Thank you, and stay tuned for more updates!
The Omega Institute is proud to present the Spring Ecstatic Chant for 2012 from May 4-6 in Rhinebeck, NY.
Celebrate spring with a weekend of inspiring musical prayer. Known in India as kirtan (Sanskrit for “devotional chanting”), the call-and-response, rhythmic quality of these unifying prayers kindles a joyful mood and can lead to profound states of deep meditation. In India, kirtan is accepted as one of the surest paths to enlightenment.
During the weekend, we sing a variety of traditional and new chants in an array of chanting styles, accompanied by contemporary and ancient instruments, including the harmonium and tabla—standards in Indian classical music. The weekend includes an extraordinary late-night Saturday session.
This fifth annual program is a spring version of Omega’s Labor Day weekend Ecstatic Chant, which has enthralled sold-out audiences for many years.
Save $50 on the Labor Day weekend Ecstatic Chant workshop when you attend Spring Ecstatic Chant. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts. Teachers are subject to change.
“Thirty million Americans and countless millions worldwide have taken up a practice that is transforming their lives. Follow filmmaker Suzanne Bryant as she meets with the most prominent Yoga Gurus and teachers in the west and travels to India to explore the power of this ancient practice. Along the way she discovers what YOGA IS.”
Look forward to the premier of the new film featuring interviews with Shyamdas, Krishnadas and many more next week when “Yoga Is” premiers next week!
For more information about the film and filmaker and to request a screening, please visit http://www.yogais.com.
“Mantras are passwords that transform the mundane into the sacred,” says Deva Premal. Password represents a shift in direction for Deva and Miten, with the introduction of Danish producer RajRishi, who brought the cream of Copenhagen’s jazz players into the mix. The result is a substantial, musically refined album with sublime arrangements of ancient mantras, complementing Deva’s soulful vocals.
Please find below the flyer detailing this year’s exciting odyssey of kirtan, yoga and devotion in the heart of India visiting the cities of Vrindavan, Jatipura and Agra among others led by the renown kirtan artist Shyamdas as well as Vraj Devi and Carla Olla from Love Yoga Center.
The program runs from November 23 – December 8 and includes all daily meals, accommodation, kirtan, yoga classes and more!
Worship love-filled Krishna with the devotional mood of the Gopis. What is the point of your million practices if you do not serve Him with love? Once the fire sages asked Lord Rama, “Give us the pleasures of Sita. Make us all women.” Now, what type of path is this, in which a man gets a woman’s devotion? This is the reverse of all norms. When the Gopis heard Shri Krishna’s flute, they ran out of their homes with their clothes and jewelry in disarray. Yet, their devotion was in perfect symmetry, like letters on a printing press that are set in reverse but appear correctly when printed on paper. When there is recognition of love, the Vedic rules no longer stand. Sings Sur, “The Vraj Gopis brought that clever Enchanter under the rule of their love.” — Surdas