Bhakti is often described as the yoga of the heart, the yoga of devotion. You can describe it to some extent through words, but it’s most powerful impact is felt through the experience. In 2018, we hosted a special weekend retreat in Beirut which gave all our guests that sweet taste of bhakti. In this simple video, we warmly invite you to experience a small sample of one of our main powerful practices – kirtan.
The essence of bhakti
Bhakti emphasizes that at our core we are all spirit souls that are looking for the greatest source of pleasure: to love and to be loved. When our soul can reconnect to that greatest source of love – the Divine, then we can experience true satisfaction and fulfillment. By practicing Bhakti, we can reawaken this connection.
The practices of bhakti
Bhakti has an incredibly rich scriptural tradition, with its tender flower of devotion rooted in a solid foundation of knowledge. These scriptures serve as a guide in both our spiritual and day to day life. Much of the knowledge of bhakti is easily accessible through a large collection of books ranging from fundamental principles to deep esoteric gems. Many of these books are available through our Wisdom page. We also have live weekly discussions, described on the Activities page.
As social beings, humans are very much influenced by their surrounding crowd. Bhakti not only recognizes this but emphasIzes it. In the company of other spiritually-minded people, we can learn, be uplifted, inspired, refocused, gain renewed strength, and find support in our spiritual journey. And ultimately, it is this association that helps us find a deep sense of connection. Please check our Activities page to see the ways you can join us.
Music is often considered to be a universal language. So in this sense, kirtan is one of the simplest processes to dive into. Basically, it’s the chanting of sacred mantras accompanied by musical instruments, sung in an interactive call and response style. This chanting is one of the main practices of bhakti and is a powerful way of opening the heart. Here is a sample to listen to and even sing along with, or come and try it live at our Saturday Kirtan and Feast!
We all need to eat. A huge part of bhakti-yoga is transforming the seemingly simple into something deeply divine. When we prepare dishes with a mood of devotion, that consciousness infuses each morsel. It becomes something beyond this world, filling not only our bellies but our hearts too. And that’s why it’s our custom to cook and share delicious food at our center! Come and try it at our Saturday Kirtan and Feast!
In Sanskrit, this is called sadhana. To really go deeply into one’s spiritual path takes sincerity and dedication. Like an athlete who constantly trains, as spiritualists we also need daily practice. It empowers us to apply the spiritual knowledge to our lives, and it cleanses our mind and heart so that we can re-establish our loving connection with the Divine. In Bhakti, our primary practice is chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra on beads, called Japa. Learn more about it from the links on our Wisdom page or contact us for personal guidance.
Bhakti originates in the heart but is expressed through our actions. Service is a way to both show and practice that mood of devotion towards someone else. It can be towards the Divine, or towards those around us, such as the community. An example of one of our services in Beirut is our “Food for Life” project. Take a look here!
You can deepen your knowledge about these different practices on our Wisdom page. Or if you would like to participate, you can see what’s going on at our center on the Activities page.
We are a small but enthusiastic community of bhakti yogis, living here in Beirut, Lebanon since 2010. After spending eight years gathering for kirtans in our homes and various locations around the country, we finally settled into our own cozy little space in Zalka.
Our center is a place where we gather together to support, encourage, and inspire each other along this uplifting path of bhakti. All are welcome, whether you are new, curious, inquisitive, or a seasoned practitioner. We have kirtans, philosophy discussions, books, meditations, food, and most importantly a warm welcome for anyone who steps inside. Please go here for location and contact information.