Bhakti yogi & spiritual activist, Saul David Raye, shares his love, light, and teachings.
Moi, (Isabelle): What is bhakti yoga to you, and what was your first experience with this tradition? What drew you into it to begin with?
Saul David Raye: Bhakti is the nature of the heart. It is the deep love that flows through all of existence. yoga is union, bhakti yoga is the path of union thru love. the ancients gave different paths to come home, love is the fastest. God is Love. My first experience of bhakti yoga was thru my first teacher who taught me the different paths of yoga. this was in my early 20’s. Then i read autobiography of a yogi and went to india, where I experienced first hand the deep devotion that is at the heart of the yoga tradition. I have tried many approaches and studied with may teachers, for me bhakti is the deepest and it connects us all together and with all of life.
I: Many who come from a bhakti tradition highlighting kirtan. You are immersed as both a teacher of hatha yoga & bhakti yoga. What role do you see bhakti yoga playing in the future?
SDR: Bhakti yoga and the practice of kirtan are spreading with great speed. When people have a taste of the sweetness of the heart they respond. I see the world transforming only thru love and for this to happen we have to open our hearts, both personally and collectively. There is no other way. Bhakti brings us together, we are one family. I see it happening already, we are coming together. Bhakti is the heart, it is not limited to only the yoga tradition. When we open our hearts, when we share our hearts the world heals. We are the world.
I: What is the role of a guru in the bhakti path? Is it necessary to have a one?
SDR: We definitely need a teacher, but i don’t think one teacher can teach us everything. I do not feel it has to be one person. True bhakti is to live with the heart, with love as the guru. To be guided by the heart. the scriptures say that we all connect to God in different ways or forms. The true guru takes all forms.
I: Besides participating in kirtan, what other work can the yoga community can do to raise awareness around the bigger picture of love and devotion?
SDR: There are many practices of yoga besides kirtan. When we live our yoga, we change ourselves, then our world changes. When we live with love and devotion, it addresses that question. There is no other way. Earth, peace… thru self peace.
I: Do you have a favorite chant? If so, please share?
SDR: They are all my favorite chants. the one in my heart right now is a grandmother chant i learned ….
the river is flowing, flowing and growing.
the river is flowing down to the sea.
oh mother carry me, your child i will always be.
oh mother carry me down to the sea…
aum shanti ….
Saul David Raye is an internationally acclaimed teacher, healer and spiritual activist known for his empowering and transformational approach to yoga, healing and spirituality. Saul’s teaching draws on the depth of the Yoga tradition, Bhakti, Tantra and all forms of universal light, love and wisdom. Through the grace of his teachers and guides he is able to bring alive the ancient wisdom teachings for modern seekers. The depth of Saul’s teaching allows students to connect deeply with their own authentic power, spirit and truth.
A pioneering and inspiring presence in Yoga’s evolution in the west, Saul’s authentic and heart-centered teaching has influenced thousands of students and teachers around the world. He holds certifications in Yoga, bodywork and energy healing and is an ordained minister and musician who infuses his classes with healing music and chants. He has been on the faculty of International and National conferences and festivals for years, and has presented alongside many luminaries in the Spiritual world. Saul shares this work through teacher trainings, workshops, classes, sacred journey’s to ancient power sites and sacred music.
I can’t take credit for Saul David Raye’s shows here in Atlanta, as it was made possible by Stan, ‘the man’, Holt, visionary entrepreneur behind Swaha Productions and who is hands down responsible for selflessly serving the southeastern yoga community by facilitating events that host kirtan gatherings, (such as Krishna Das this past winter). Thank you Stan! Not just for bringing Saul here, but for all your efforts in creating depth, uniting, and spreading the love! This is a collaborative effort between Swaha Productions, the Atlanta Yoga Scene, & Be Yoga, with tons of love and support from the SE Yoga Conference. It takes a village!