Hari-kirtana das on Yoga Philosophy, Bhakti Yoga, and the Path to Self-Realization (#38)

A pile of stones on a beach

About the Guest:

This week’s episode features Yoga Philosophy teacher, Hari-kirtana das. A lifelong student of yoga, meditation, and Eastern spiritual philosophies, Hari-kirtana das lived full-time in devotional yoga ashrams and intentional spiritual communities from 1977 to 1981 and again from 1995 to 1998. He was formally initiated into the Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage of Bhakti Yoga in 1978. Hari-kirtana is an E-RYT 500 registered yoga teacher and received an 800-hour training certification from the Jivamukti Yoga School. He began teaching contemporary yoga classes in 2009 and has since gone on to develop Yoga Teacher Training courses and is a sought-after guest teacher for numerous Yoga Teacher Training programs. He leads yoga workshops, offers presentations for personal and professional development, and regularly takes students on yoga adventures to India. He currently lives and teaches in Washington, D.C. You can learn more about Hari-kirtana by visiting his website: hari-kirtana.com. His book is also available for purchase on createspace.com.

In this Episode, we discussed:

  1. Inquiry into the nature of truth, the cause of the world, and how we came to be
  2. The difference between the phrases, “the true nature of the self‚” vs. “finding the self.”
  3. The difference between the capital-S self and the s-self?
  4. Three S-selves as:
    • Small-self (temporary misidentified self): we identify with likes and dislikes to define the self based on what’s good for you and what’s not in a specific moment in time. This self is defined wholly by these preferences.
    • Middle-self: These changes (likes, dislikes) are observed/experienced by the “Middle-self.” The Middle-self is able to recognize the shifts, but is still under the influence of illusion and mis-identifying with changes as the “self.” The process of yoga awakens the Middle-self to the knowledge that it is not the “self,” and there is something beyond these temporary designations, that experiences these states. With this realization the Middle-self seeks to understand the nature of that self (Big-self).
    • Big-self: Is the supreme self living in the heart of each individual self (Paramātmā),
  5. Bhakti yoga as the illumination and realization of the relationship between the Middle-self and the Big-self.
  6. The differences between the teachings of Krishna vs. Jesus and how they are similar
  7. Why the practice of Yoga is not post-modern
  8. The idea of faith and knowledge not being on opposite ends of a spectrum
  9. How the nature of our faith in ‘God’ determines our conception and vice versa, and how that nature influences your interaction with both.
  10. Yoga Philosophy as: the discovery of the true nature of one’s being, the process by which the true nature of the self is realized, and therefore developing an understanding of what is that true nature and how to recognize it.
  11. The five functions of Yoga Philosophy, as defined in Hair’s book:
    • Metaphysical
    • Cosmological
    • Sociological
    • Psychological
    • Illuminative
  12. The Values of Yoga as the 4 Pillars of Dharma
    • Renunciation of materialism
    • Purity of thought word and deed
    • Mercy
    • Truthfulness
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