When I was a child growing up Africa, we called all friends of our parents ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle’ (in french ‘tantine’ or ‘‘tonton’) which was an honorific and considered respectful. And among the aunties and uncles, there were those you wanted to be related to: Too cool not to be yours. And they actually didn’t care for honorifics. Heartbreaks, delights, anything: you could call them and they would always be there for you. You would never feel uncomfortable around them.
Shyamdas – affectionately and respectfully called Shyamdasji – belongs to that category, as a spiritual teacher. He had dedicated his life to the music, literature, and people of Braj. He spoke Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, and Brajbhasha. He was a scholar who insightfully translated and commented many of the songs and writings of saints from the Pushti Marg tradition (Shri Vallabhacharya, Govinda Svami, Raskhan, Surdas and others). His immense knowledge was only surpassed by his joy – ananda.
Shyamdasji lived in the bhav, mad in love with God and in service. He left his body in January of 2013.
Regular students of my classes are familiar with his voice … and his laughter!
Today, I’d like to share Braj Raja with you.
All these sacred and ancient teachings are preserved and distributed through the wonderful work of the Shyamdas Foundation.
As Shyamdasji would say: “It’s all Hari’s grace”