Bhakti 101: Teachings is the first in a series of Bhakti 101 courses, (future courses will include Bhakti 101: History, Bhakti 101: Gods & Avatars, etc.).
The Teachings segment consists of four 2.5 hour classes which boil down the vast teachings of spirituality into 13 basic points upon which the path of Bhakti-yoga is practiced, using the Bhagavad-gita as it’s basis. Although profound concepts of philosophy will be covered, the material is presented in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Class 1: The Illusion – Understanding yoga means first understanding the nature of how illusion binds one and how yoga releases one. The first class focuses on the nature of illusion, especially dealing with the topic of the mind. Points covered include…
1. What is yoga?
2. Material energy vs spiritual energy (purusha & prakriti)
3. What is the Nature of the Self? (atma)
4. The mind is the primary obstacle
5. The environment’s role in the illusion (karma, kala & the gunas)
6. The world is like a reflection
Class 2: Paths Out of Illusion – Traditionally, four paths of yoga have been presented as ways to free one from illusion and restore one to their original divine nature. Two of them involve leaving the world behind, and two are practiced through engaging with the world. The second class presents Ashatnga-yoga, Jnana-yoga, Karma-yoga and Bhakti-yoga – their similarities and differences, as well as their practical application in the current age. Points covered include…
7. To reject society or embrace society?
Class 3: Progression on the Path – Spirituality in general, can be understood as a practice of purifying how we see the world and what motivates us, from the level of materialism, to escapism, to devotion. Yoga texts refer to these world views as Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti. This class will discuss these three fundamental motives, the relative value of each, and the progression towards purity in our motives and world view. Points covered include…
8. The progression from materialism to escapism to devotion
9. The progression represented in the Vedic literature
10. The progression represented in the Vedic cosmology
11. The progression represented in the yoga paths
Class 4: Divinity at the Path’s End – Perhaps the most essential spiritual question is “What is the nature of the Divine?” Is God a person or an energy, and what is the nature of our relationship? This class will examine both personal and non-personal conceptions of divinity and highlight a synthesis of these ideas as presented in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Points covered include…
12. Devotion vs monism
13. The divine energy, the divine companion, the divine Person (brahman, paramatma, bhagavan)
Note: Bhakti 101: Teachings combines lessons from courses previously offered at The Bhakti Center (The 4 Paths of Yoga & The Purity of Our Spiritual Intentions) spending more time with the topics and drawing more from the Bhagavad-Gita.
The Bhakti Center’s Donation Policy
The principle of bhakti is to do for others without motive. In yoga’s spiritual culture a teacher shares the wisdom of the sacred texts as an act of devotion rather than for profit. This is especially important in the Bhakti tradition where teaching and learning are essential ways bhakti is exchanged in daily life. It also keeps affordable for all this most important activity, sharing knowledge for upliftment.
At The Bhakti Center we honor these important principles of education: that teaching is done purely out of love, and that it is kept affordable. Therefore, for all of our classes on the sacred texts we don’t charge a set price.
So how do teachers survive? The answer is that pure teachers depend on God and good students honor that by sharing a donation from the heart and according to their means. Gratitude and generosity from student to teacher is also part of the yoga tradition.
For the course “Bhakti 101: Teachings with Kaustubha Das” we suggest a donation between $60 and $120, although all donations will be welcomed.
All students must be registered online for this class.