Here’s a little story of 3’s, to connect magick, synchronicity, and the divine.
The first time I practiced Bhakti, I was home.
I cried and it cracked my heart open like no other spiritual practice had before. Bhakti means devotion and love.
For years, I had been practicing in yoga rooms with Krishna Das in the background. He’s popular in the yoga world to say the least, but what’s less known is that he was the lead singer of the band that came to be later known as Blue Oyster Cult. Instead of journeying the rock route, he took the Kirtan route. I’m a rock-n-roller myself, and was drawn to his satsangs with their irreverent, sarcastic tone. And, his voice as we participate in community yoga or lead it, is ever-present. He now tours the world seemingly endlessly, offering his deep baritone voice to cultivate that heart-opening that so many of us crave.
A little more background: He was best friends with Ram Dass, the spiritual teacher who has guided countless contemporary Americans to understand what it’s like to Be Here Now. They shared the same teacher, Guru Neem Karoli Baba. This magnificent Sri was said to be an incarnation of Hanuman, the Monkey God of service and devotion. This divine being was also famous for wearing plaid flannel blankets - and once was even spotted with a monkey tail peeking out from underneath it. KD rocks a red flannel shirt, always, in honor of his teacher.
A few years ago, I had a big day. There were three yoga classes to teach, and I was really, really hungry.
I decided to go eat at the Veggie Burger place that just opened up in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill’s Whole Foods. I sit down after ordering my food, and in the booth next to me sits Krishna Das with his red flannel shirt on.
I can’t help but go introduce myself to him.
He tells me that he is playing at The Palace of the Fine Arts and that it’s sold out but he will give me a ticket. I’m obviously melting at this point, mired in the magick (did I mention that I heard “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, Blue Oyster Cult’s classic track, three times that day?)
As I prepare for the evening with sheer excitement, I am determined to give him a gift. I recall he has talked about how his throat goes sore from singing all the time, so I put together a gift bag of sorts. I bee-line to the back of my closet because I remember putting a gift bag in the very back of my closet when I first moved into my house. I pull the bag out. Inside, I find, of all things, a red flannel shirt paired with mala beads.
The shirt belonged to my Irish friend Richard who I had been meaning to give back for 2 years. I can assure you Richard only prays with Guiness and not mala beads. In that moment, I had this divine knowing come over me. Krishna Das wears that flannel shirt because his Guru Neem Karoli Baba was always seen wearing a flannel blanket around him. In that moment I realized God, Guru, Self. In that moment I realized that all the times I chanted the very many names of the one, that Neem Karoli Baba was revealing to me the mystery and magick of what happens when you devote yourself to something higher than the small self. I didn’t intend on giving Krishna Das the red flannel shirt, but Shakti sure as hell did.
This is the magick of the practice, we just keep doing the inner work. We are not attached to the fruits, but the fruits do come. The synchronicities will reveal themselves when you are following your right path. Little did I know I would receive Darshan under fluorescent lights that night in Whole Foods. Little did I know I’d become friends with someone I had listened to and chanted along with for years. We can’t predict our futures, but we can keep showing up for the tapasya, to the constancy of burning away who we are not. To repeating these names of the omnipotent, omnipresence of our own very true nature. And, that's just one aspect of experiencing, and participating in kirtan.
So, we return to kirtan to call it in, and continue all the magick that is this lifetime.