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Bhakti in Essence – Narada Bhakti Sutra – Sutra 2

July 27th, 2012

Narada Bhakti Sutra

Sutra 2

sā tv-asmin parama-prema-rūpā

The nature of bhakti is the topmost love for God.

 

The first verse of Narada Bhakti Sutra announced the subject of the book, implied bhakti’s superlative position, and hinted at the urgency to realize the self through the study and practice of bhakti. This second verse now defines the nature of such bhakti — it is the purest love for God.

Sri Rupa Goswami, a prominent 15th century successor of Sri Narada, thus defined bhakti as follows.

“True bhakti is activity not covered by any selfish desire and done with the exclusive intention to please God.”

Thus bhakti in its topmost form has two pertinent characteristics: it is free of all selfish motives, and it is focused upon God. It is easy to see that true devotion cannot be selfish, but why does it have to be for God?

 

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The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility – Part II

July 25th, 2012

The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility – Part II

On July 24, 2012, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami gave the second part in a series entitled The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility” at The Bhakti Center in New York. The following is a recording of that talk.

 

The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility – Part II

The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility – Part I

July 21st, 2012

The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility – Part I

On July 10, 2012, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami gave the first part in a series entitled The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility” at The Bhakti Center in New York. The following is a recording of that talk.

 

The Heart of a Yogi: The Power and Culture of Humility – Part I

Bhakti in Essence – A Commentary on Narada Bhakti Sutra

July 6th, 2012

Dhanurdhara Swami is writing a new book called Bhakti in Essence – A commentary on Narada Bhakti Sutra.

Every week he will be publishing a sutra and commentary. Maharaja’s commentary begins here:

 

Narada Bhakti Sutra
Sutra 1

athāto bhaktiḿ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ

Now, therefore, I will try to explain the process of bhakti.

 

A sutra is a condensed phrase codifying a larger body of thinking. Most Indian schools of thought systematize their teachings into a series of sutras to help their students memorize and understand the teachings. Since volumes of meaning have been condensed into very terse aphorisms, sutras are also accompanied by suitable commentaries to unpack the sutras meaning. In this way, a student can retain and understand a concise version of an entire philosophical system.

Such sutras traditionally begin with “atha” (now) to indicate the significance of the school that will be discussed and the urgency to undertake its study. By the word “now” the Narada Bhakti Sutra points to the importance and urgency of practicing bhakti-yoga.

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The Later Pastimes of Sri Caitanya at The Bhakti Center

June 19th, 2012

The Later Pastimes of Sri Caitanya at The Bhakti Center

On May 22, 2012, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami gave a talk entitled The Later Pastimes of Sri Caitanya at The Bhakti Center in New York. The following is a recording of that talk.

 

The Later Pastimes of Sri Caitanya at The Bhakti Center

The Five Qualities of Effective Mantra Meditation

April 10th, 2012

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

 

I have noticed, and tradition confirms, that the efficacy of mantra meditation depends significantly upon the quality of chanting. It is not that one's effort creates the effect of the mantra, but one must make the effort not to block the effect of the mantra — to open oneself fully to the mercy within it.

I would like to suggest chanting with five qualities, which I also think of as five “steps” towards efficacious, quality mantra meditation:

  1. Be Attentive
  2. Be Introspective
  3. Be Sincere
  4. Be Sweet
  5. Have Longing

 

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Paradox and Perfection at Yogamaya New York

April 9th, 2012

Paradox and Perfection at Yogamaya New York

On March 29, 2012, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami gave a seminar entitled Paradox and Perfection at Yogamaya Studio in New York. The following are the recorded excerpts from the seminar.

 

Paradox and Perfection at Yogamaya New York

Srimati Yamuna Devi on Kirtan

January 4th, 2012

The following is an interview with Srimati Yamuna Devi by Akincana Krishna dasa on behalf of Dhanrudhara Swami for a kirtan book Maharaja was writing. In the interview, Yamuna Devi shared her remembrances of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on kirtan as well as her own realizations on kirtan. Yamuna Devi recently passed away on December 20, 2011.

 

YAMUNA DEVI

Question: What instructions, guidelines, likes, or dislikes did Prabhupada express to you about kirtan?

Thank you for asking this question. Yes, Srila Prabhupada did give instructions about kirtan at various times, in various circumstances. A few I recall:

 

Instructions from Srila Prabhupada on Kirtan

1970 Mumbai: One morning soon after arriving at Kailash Seksaria's home, Srila Prabhupada called on a male devotee to lead kirtan. After two lines of guruvastaka he asked him to stop and asked another devotee to continue. The same thing happened, and he asked another devotee to lead, and another. Then he asked me to lead and did not stop me. When I asked him later about why he did that, he said:

“Learn to listen. You cannot follow nicely unless you hear nicely and you cannot lead nicely unless you have learned to follow nicely.”

August 1968 Montreal: Some mornings Srila Prabhupada had our London group meet with him in the temple room after the morning program and breakfast. On one occasion when he requested me to lead the mangalacarana prayers, he also interrupted my singing to correct my pronunciation as I chanted, he said:

“Learn how to pronounce Sanskrit or Bengali words to the best of your ability. Listen, then repeat.”

1971 Mumbai: On nagar sankirtana an Indian man criticized my pronunciation and Srila Prabhupada said:

“She is doing to the best of her ability. She is doing it in her own way.”

November 1969 London: We had some problems with volume levels. This was evident especially in store front temples where our neighbor store front occupants complained of excessive “noise”. Right from the vyasasana Srila Prabhupada would quietly instruct:

“Learn how to play instruments “softly”, quietly, if the kirtan leader is doing so.”

This proved to be difficult for the mostly passionate 20-something devotees at that time, most of whom generally felt the louder the better.

1971 India: I commented on Srila Prabhupada's chanting of jaya radha madhava, and made the statement that it was difficult for devotees to follow how he chanted, his rhythm changes, and his mood, even when chanting this simple prayer. He said jaya radha madhava was one of his favorite prayers.

Even forty years later, how many old timers can follow the subtlety of a kirtan leader, what to speak of the complexity of Srila Prabhupada's kirtan mood and rhythm.

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Bhakti Seminar at Yogamaya New York

Dhanurdhara Swami speaks at St. Albans School

October 3rd, 2011

On Thursday, September 22, 2011, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami gave a short sermon that at the chapel of St. Albans School of the National Cathedral for all their students and teachers. St. Albans is arguably the most prestigious prep school in the America where former Vice President Al Gore and many other prominent US leaders are alumni.

Dhanurdhara Swami speaks at St. Albans School

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