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A Road With No Maps

I consider my Guru, among other things, to have been a great teacher of Bhakti Yoga. I
say ‘among other things’ because he was impossible to pin down. He hardly ever
actually ‘taught,’ he never spoke about himself or his lineage, he never gave lectures or
discourses. Amazing miracles occurred around Maharjji all the time, however when
people would come worship him and bathe him in tears of gratitude he often appeared
rather annoyed and said “I do nothing. God does it all.” But Maharajji lived in a world of
Divine Love. Kirtan was and still is performed in his temples and ashrams 24/7, pujas to
all the deities are constant, and oceans of people are fed daily.

Regarding Bhakti, Maharajji once said “The only thing that’s important is how much you
love God!” The ONLY thing…… Wow. And then when he was asked “What is the best
form to worship God?” his response was simply, “The best form to worship God is
EVERY form!”

Well, that’s saying a lot in a few words, isn’t it? Let’s, for a moment, hold those two
sentences as a possible definition of Bhakti Yoga. Not THE definition. Simply one
description among many of a path without maps or roadsigns that has been
contemplated and practiced for centuries. Thousands upon thousands of pages have
been written attempting to define, or simply convey, what Bhakti Yoga really is. But how
can the mysteries of the heart actually be defined. The world of emotions within each of
us is so different. Our spiritual concepts, our prayers, our longings… we are all so unique
and our journey to the infinite must also be unique. The image of a single devotee
crawling through the dust of Parikrama Road (a footpath that circles the holy town of
Vrindavan) crying “Shyam Shyam Shyam!”, his face covered with dirt and mud and
tears, fills my mind right now and threatens to burst the rain clouds of my heart.

I guess we don’t really need to ‘understand’ Bhakti, just live it. But how? Certainly, as we
sing Kirtan and do Japa, we begin to touch the shores of a great sea of sweetness and
bliss. How awesome that is! But what do we do next? What do we do with that bliss?
Well, we can hold on to it and cultivate it until it grows and grows and grows and we find
ourselves living in a very rarified inner environment. Nothing wrong with that…. But so
often Maharajji said “Love people and feed them!” And in his temples and amongst his
older devotees I experience a selflessness, a constant giving, a caring that goes way
beyond the fleeting waves of bliss. I think he was telling us to give it away, share it. Not
a totally natural way of life for us Westerners, raised in a culture of self-centeredness, is
it? But I think we’re just being asked to try. I’ve often heard it said that if we take one
baby step to God, He flies to us with His arms wide open. And then, through grace, we
can start to truly live a life of Bhakti…..

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2 Responses to A Road With No Maps

  1. Jason Rotman says:

    jai!! Haribol!


  2. Teja Shankara says:

    So much sweetness in your writings, beloved Jai!

    I’m so serious about you writing a book… when i read Krishna Das’ book, i thought, ‘now Jai has to write a book – i want to read Jai’s book!’ Pleeaase…

    Ram Ram Ram… Teja, in Ashland, Oregon


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