A central feature of the practice of Bhakti-yoga is sat-sangha, the sharing of the good association of likeminded souls. Whereas other yoga practices may emphasize the individual’s effort, Bhakti gives special importance to the synthesis of effort and grace. Great teachers in the Bhakti tradition have always held that when the call for grace is made collectively it can invoke extraordinary feelings of delight and can grant the power of self transformation.
At the core of The Bhakti Center is a broad community of people who share their devotional practices. So while many may come simply to learn the art of vegetarian cooking, or to attend a dance performance or a yoga asana class, others who would like to go deeper into the devotional practice of yoga, may take advantage of the sangha. Below is a short description of some of the forums in which that association takes place.
The third floor of The Bhakti Center houses the beautiful Temple of Sri Sri Radha Muralidhara – Radha and Krishna (Murali – flute, dhara – the holder of). Here devotion is expressed through rituals carefully presserved for centuries. As we all go about our days, our senses and minds are exposed to a bombardment of images which are reflections of our consumer culture. On top of that come the worries and pressures of modern life. For Bhakti-yogis, the experience of spending time in a Temple enriched with beauty and devotion can be a deeply refreshing and pleasing way to leave the days troubles behind and reconnect with our own spiritual nature. Time spent in the temple can leave deep, positive impressions within the mind – both aesthetically gratifying and spiritually purifying.
We all desire variety, excitement and beauty in our lives. In the Bhakti tradition the observance of festivals becomes a way in which a community comes together, sharing their time and talents to create beautiful celebrations. Many of these festivals have been observed in a similar fashion for centuries and their annual dates of arrival are highly anticipated. With sweet music, meaningful discussion, delicious feasts, and devotion infused decoration and worship, festivals of bhakti stir the depths of the heart and engage all the senses in a most pleasing practice of devotional yoga.
Many of us find that when we look back on our lives, the most meaningful times were those spent in selfless service and sacrifice for a higher cause. The teachings of Bhakti hold that the very nature of the soul is to love, and that love is naturally expressed through selfless service. Seva (sacred service) is central to the practice of Bhakti and is a chance to engage body, mind and words in an entirely spiritual direction. At The Bhakti Center one can find all kinds of ways to engage in seva, from service in the Temple, to service to the community. Many find that the hours spent well engaged in seva are a welcome relief from the routine of daily life and leave one feelling uplifted and grateful.