Bhakti - The Yoga of Love

The Krishna Farm 'New Govardhana' and - as its outreach program - the Krishna Village Eco Yoga Community, are a place of connection, spiritual communion and immersion in ancient yogic teachings. 

At the heart and centre of our practice lies bhakti, the yoga of love and devotion. This way of life, first put into writing about 5000 years ago in the Bhagavad Gita, has the aim to connect the individual's consciousness to the Divine by the method of rendering service in a mood of love and care, like we would for our children, beloved, best friends or parents.

The word 'yoga' itself, derived from the Sanskrit root syllable 'yug' means 'to link' or 'to connect' to the Divine. Whilst other paths use practices like physical movement (asana yoga), acquisition of knowledge (jñāna yoga) or mindful action (karma yoga), the bhakti yoga path emphasises love, compassion and devotion, in remembrance of our eternal relationship with the Supreme. 

 Sacred cows in the Krishna Farm meadows; Photo: Marc Oliver Adams

Sacred cows in the Krishna Farm meadows; Photo: Marc Oliver Adams

 Our Deities Radha Govardhandhari at the temple; Photo: Anantha Vrindavan

Our Deities Radha Govardhandhari at the temple; Photo: Anantha Vrindavan

 Peacock Nila in the Jacaranda tree; Photo: Marc Oliver Adams

Peacock Nila in the Jacaranda tree; Photo: Marc Oliver Adams

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 7.45.31 pm.png

Daily Bhakti Yoga Practices

When visiting the Krishna Village, you will have the opportunity to witness our spiritual activities and - if you like - join in and get a first-hand experience of devotional lifestyle. Here's an overview of daily practices you might see around and find interesting:

(1) Mantra singing and chanting

Whether in the yoga hall, temple or spontaneously in the middle of the day - we love singing kirtan. Feel free to join in if you wish! Or learn how to use japa beads for individual mantra meditation. 

(2) Following a vegetarian diet and offering our food

Our path emphasises non-violence (ahimsa) towards all living entities, whether they are in a human or animal body. Hence, we don't consume meat, fish or eggs and instead prepare the most delicious vegetarian meals. In addition, before we eat, we sing Sanskrit mantras to give our gratitude to the Divine for providing for us. Thus, we add a spiritual aspect to the nourishment we receive and the preparations become prasadam (sanctified food).

(3) Making offerings to the Deities in the temple

We have beautiful Deities of Krishna and his beloved Radha, of Krishna with his brother Balarama, and of Gaura Nitai. They are dressed daily, receive fresh flower garlands, are offered food and worshipped in many more ways. With that, we remain in loving service and mindful that the Divine is here in our midst at all times, and not some far away, detached being.

(4) Hearing and studying sacred texts

Every morning, you will see the devotees gathering at the temple for the Srimad Bhagavatam class, with one of our spiritual teachers or senior devotees reading a sloka (verse) from this ancient text, teaching it to the group, and then giving class, elaborating on the topic. If you are interested, come along. There's time for questions at the end of every class.

(5) Spending time with like-minded souls

'Show me your friends and I can tell you who you are' - we put this old saying into practice by associating with like-minded spiritual seekers to learn from them and mutually strengthen our spiritual practice. We also honour our elders and make a point of listening to their stories and advice, tapping into the wealth of spiritual wisdom they have acquired.

(6) Protecting cows

In our spiritual tradition, cows are considered sacred and are therefore protected and cherished. We have about 80 cows on the Krishna Farm and they are looked after and cared for by a team of experienced cow herds.

 We really love our cows!

We really love our cows!

 Celebrating with world class kirtaneer Gaura Vani; Photo: Yossi Nachum

Celebrating with world class kirtaneer Gaura Vani; Photo: Yossi Nachum

 Ratha Yatra - one of our favourite festivals; Photo: Trevor Gore

Ratha Yatra - one of our favourite festivals; Photo: Trevor Gore

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 7.45.31 pm.png

The mantra we are famous for

The Sanskrit word mantra means 'to deliver the mind' and is the practice of repeating a single word or a phrase to oneself (chanting) or as a communal practice (kirtan singing). The purpose of mantra meditation is to fix one's mind on the powerful transcendental sound vibration of the chosen words in the ancient sacred language of Sanskrit. 

The mantra we Hare Krishnas are famous for is the Maha Mantra. It is recognised even by other spiritual paths in India as the maha (great) mantra, because rather than asking for benedictions or blessings, it is a simple and heartfelt offering of unconditional love and service to the Divine feminine (Radha) and masculine (Krishna):

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

Whilst most other mantras in ancient times were only taught to members of the brahmin (priest) caste and simple people were refused initiation, the Maha Mantra was the first one to be given freely to people, regardless of their educational background, or social status. The Bhakti Saint Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who lived and preached in India about 500 years ago, spread this practice and taught his disciples to bring love and devotion for the Divine to every town and every city, in the form of chanting this simple mantra. 

 Small Deities of Gaura Nitai; Photo: Ananta Vrindavan

Small Deities of Gaura Nitai; Photo: Ananta Vrindavan

 Class with Devamrita Swami; Photo: Michael Olabode

Class with Devamrita Swami; Photo: Michael Olabode

 Giriraj; Photo: Anantha Vrindavan

Giriraj; Photo: Anantha Vrindavan

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 2.59.04 pm.png

A few thoughts on Bhakti Yoga

Meet our team members and hear about their inspiration to live and share Bhakti Yoga.

 Henrike, Managing Director   Integrity is one of my foremost values and I'm forever grateful to get to live a life that allows me to be in spiritual alignment, living my truth. Having grown up in a Christian family, I was was humbled and surprised when I first heard the Krishna devotees say that whoever approaches the Divine with sincerity - whether by the name of God, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna or else - will receive loving reciprocation. It is not the name that matters, but the loving intent. No 'we have the right god and yours is wrong' - all the contrary! To me, living true to the faith of my birth whilst following the practice of my choice, bhakti, is a perpetual invitation to remain curious, go deeper, love more and give more.

Henrike, Managing Director 

Integrity is one of my foremost values and I'm forever grateful to get to live a life that allows me to be in spiritual alignment, living my truth. Having grown up in a Christian family, I was was humbled and surprised when I first heard the Krishna devotees say that whoever approaches the Divine with sincerity - whether by the name of God, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna or else - will receive loving reciprocation. It is not the name that matters, but the loving intent. No 'we have the right god and yours is wrong' - all the contrary! To me, living true to the faith of my birth whilst following the practice of my choice, bhakti, is a perpetual invitation to remain curious, go deeper, love more and give more.

 Michael, Philosophy Teacher  With the somewhat unshakeable intention of becoming a world famous young entrepreneur I came across a set of experiences which would change my life forever: Every Thursday night I would attend a ThinkOutLoud session with my now mentor, Eddie - even on days I didn't feel motivated to attend university lectures. He had an answer for all of life's questions. He gave me answers to questions that I thought: "Why wasn't I asking that?". At some point I felt sorry for barraging him with so many questions and decided to pick up a book myself. So I read 'Perfect Questions Perfect Answers', and from there I felt a weight of ignorance and unknowing drop from my heart. Since 2009 I've been dedicated to helping youth discover the teachings of Bhakti in an entertaining and cool-headed reasonable manner as I feel like that was the greatest gift my teachers gave to me...

Michael, Philosophy Teacher

With the somewhat unshakeable intention of becoming a world famous young entrepreneur I came across a set of experiences which would change my life forever: Every Thursday night I would attend a ThinkOutLoud session with my now mentor, Eddie - even on days I didn't feel motivated to attend university lectures. He had an answer for all of life's questions. He gave me answers to questions that I thought: "Why wasn't I asking that?". At some point I felt sorry for barraging him with so many questions and decided to pick up a book myself. So I read 'Perfect Questions Perfect Answers', and from there I felt a weight of ignorance and unknowing drop from my heart. Since 2009 I've been dedicated to helping youth discover the teachings of Bhakti in an entertaining and cool-headed reasonable manner as I feel like that was the greatest gift my teachers gave to me...

 Lila Kirtana, Head of Yoga Teacher Training  I still remember my first  Kirtan.  I had no idea what was going on, but I had the feeling of coming home.  (...)  In the 15th century, the  Bhaktis  wrote ecstatic love poems to the Divine and went around singing all the time. The message is simple: cultivate joy. See the Divine in each other. The message still holds relevance today and I drank it in and made it my own. After 2 years of study [and ashram life] I took initiation with a beautiful Swami who named me  Lila Kirtana  – ‘the joy of chanting the Divine Names’. He told me that Kirtan is the safest place to be in the material world. In chanting I found a way to switch off my turbulent mind. It was a revolutionary realisation to me that I could control my thoughts – to take control rather than just be an observer. 

Lila Kirtana, Head of Yoga Teacher Training

I still remember my first Kirtan. I had no idea what was going on, but I had the feeling of coming home. (...) In the 15th century, the Bhaktis wrote ecstatic love poems to the Divine and went around singing all the time. The message is simple: cultivate joy. See the Divine in each other. The message still holds relevance today and I drank it in and made it my own. After 2 years of study [and ashram life] I took initiation with a beautiful Swami who named me Lila Kirtana – ‘the joy of chanting the Divine Names’. He told me that Kirtan is the safest place to be in the material world. In chanting I found a way to switch off my turbulent mind. It was a revolutionary realisation to me that I could control my thoughts – to take control rather than just be an observer. 

 Bharat, Receptionist and Tour Guide  Coming soon ...

Bharat, Receptionist and Tour Guide

Coming soon ...

 Damodar Govinda, Volunteer Manager  Coming soon ...

Damodar Govinda, Volunteer Manager

Coming soon ...

 Michael 'Laxmivan' Kubitzky, Senior Yoga Teacher Trainer  Coming soon ...

Michael 'Laxmivan' Kubitzky, Senior Yoga Teacher Trainer

Coming soon ...