Jul
01

The Govardhan Lila

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(Excerpt from Inner Goddess by Shyamdas. Pratham Peeth Publications, 2009)

Shri Krishna revealed His Lordship when He stole the Gopis’ clothes and returned them infused with His Essence. The Glorious Lord revealed His Potency when He accepted food from the Brahmins’ wives. In the following play Shri Krishna turned His people towards His Blessed Self and thereby displayed His Fame. Read More→

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Jul
01

Union in Separation: the Daytime Song of the Gopis

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An Excerpt from Ecstatic Couplets by Shyamdas (Pratham Peeth Publications, 2010)

The Eastern yogic paths, as well as other philosophical and spiritual disciplines throughout the world, have been established to guide us through reality toward their own brand of fullness – or even emptiness. Their adherents may see the world as an impermanent illusion; others, as a place of retribution; while still others believe in only its physical substance. Some seek total absorption into the infinite, where all sense of individuality is dissolved into universal consciousness, while other faithful souls seek a personal Beloved who is the source of all things. Some meditate, practice yoga, chant, pray, or follow their own unique path, while some claim to do none of the above. Read More→

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Jul
01

The Ashta Chaap Poets and their Bhava

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(Excerpt from Krishna’s Inner Circle: The Ashta Chhap Poets, by Shyamdas. Pratham Peeth Publications.)

Raga is one of the main kinds of service offered to one’s deity in the devotional path. Raga may be interpreted as “love,” or as “music.” In the 16th century devotional renaissance in India, poems were sung when recited, and the great mystic poets of those times were often great musicians. Therefore, the poetry composed by the eight Ashta Chhap poets is meant to be sung to music. Its essence is rhythmic invocation, and its real meaning is best expressed when performed as part of devotional service. Read More→

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Sep
30

The Path of Grace

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“Fulfillment through joyful service to Shri Nathji, the youthful Lord Krishna” by Shyamdas
First published at Hinduism Today, November 1997

From the 12th to 16th century in India, a Bhakti Renaissance occurred in which five great schools of Vaishnavism arose. Each school was founded by one of five saints, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha and Chaitanya. The Pushti Marg, the “Path of Grace” of Shri Vallabhacharya, is one of these five and is followed today by tens of millions of people, mostly from northern and western India. This school is unique within Vaishnavism for its philosophy of suddhadvaita, or “pure non-dualism.” Among the Vaishnava, Krishna worshipping traditions, only this tradition teaches that Krishna is everything, and everything is Krishna. Read More→

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Sep
09

What’s in a Name?

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By Shyamdas

From Beliefnet

Shyamdas, an American devotee of Neem Karoli Baba, has been living in India for many years and is a kirtan expert. This article is adapted from the liner notes of the CD Kirtan: Maha Mantra in the Himalayas – Volume One of the India Odyssey Series, due to be released in March 2004 by Karuna Music. Used with permission.

Like most religions, Hindu tradition places great emphasis on the power of God’s name, especially when repeated in chant. The following stories describe how even accidental repetition of the sacred name can lead to enlightenment.

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Quotes

O Gopis! When Mukunda, the Lord of Liberation,
Rests His left cheek on His left shoulder,
He raises His right eyebrow and places the flute on His lower lip.
He then gently runs His fingers along its path of holes and plays enchantingly.

When the wives of the gods, the devis, who are coursing through the sky in their
Celestial chariots with their perfected husbands hear Krishna’s call,
They become spellbound. They dedicate their minds and hearts to the path of love,
Experiencing shame as the ties at their waists loosen.
They are distraught and swoon.
— transl. by Shyamdas, Ecstatic Couplets