Course curriculum:

Bhaava – Discover the dance of emotion in Vedanta

These recordings (link to video playlist below) are of a 4 hour online course conducted by Swamini Brahmaprajnananda, for a group of students across the world. The course was conducted in response to the often felt dilemmas and frequently asked questions.

  1. How do I control my emotions?
  2. Why do I suddenly get hijacked by my emotions?
  3. Is there a connection between my thinking and feeling?
  4. How can I be in harmony with my loved ones?

For whom?

Whether you’re a longtime student of Vedanta, an enthusiastic beginner, or somewhere in between, this course will offer you teachings and tools for embracing the entirety of your human experience—including all your emotions.

These are teachings that you can listen to again and again over the coming years, focusing on your practice and grounding as you navigate the journey of your life.

Theme song for the course –

‘I hope you dance’ – Lee Ann Womack

Duration – 4.5 hours

Lecture 1 will help you

• Learn the glorious vision of the Upanishads surrounding ‘rasa’ and ‘ananda’ (fullness).
• Get an overview of the Navarasa theory of emotion from Natyashastra which is the foundational text for all arts – music, dance, theatre in India
• Listen to the story from Bhagavatam( an ancient text) of Dhruva, a five year old child who felt abandoned by his father and was blessed with a mantra
• Homework for chanting the mantra

Lecture 2 will help you

• Understand the significance of being the one who is a ‘suhridaya’, the one with a sensitive heart, capable of experiencing all emotions and hence eligible for self knowledge.
• Learn about the 9 basic emotions spoken of in the Natyashastra with no judgment on any negative emotion.
• Recognise eight facts about the manifestation of emotions
• See the relevance of a Bhagavad Gita verse (6.5) in being one’s own best friend or an enemy
• Adopt the simple practice of talking to yourself lovingly with acceptance
• Accept a two week challenge of expressing and no complaining.

Lecture 3 will help you

• Clearly see the connection between your thought and emotion
• Discover how we build subjectivity and hence misery by living in our own world (jiva srishti) rather than living in an objective world (Ishvara srishti)
• Identify 10 types of certain patterns of thinking which are thought distortions that contribute to your subjectivity.
• Learn to challenge these patterns and experience a transformation in your emotions through changing the context.
• Learn four questions that align your thoughts with reality and do homework

Lecture 4 will help you

• Reflect on your homework and see how innocuous ways of thinking became unhelpful patterns.
• Understand 3 aspects of Emotional growth as Emotional security, emotional independence and emotional strength and what these entail.
• Discover the glory of the order of all emotions as Ishvara’s principles of emotion.
• Practice witnessing as well as experiencing
• Learn what it means to dance with emotion rather than resist

Link to playlist of Bhaava – the dance of emotion in Vedanta

Feedback about the course –

Prashanth Mohan, Sydney

Thank you so much for presenting to us this four session course giving us the understanding of emotions – their origins, effects in our lives, ways of handling and resolution of it all in the order of Ishwara, thereby giving a relaxed set up to deal with these emotions.

In the course, you repeatedly stressed that no emotions should be rejected, how everything is within the order of Ishwara, how the cycle of thoughts to emotions to beliefs to experiences/feelings happen.

You dispelled a lot of myths surrounding emotions and helped understand the cognition aspect of it along with beliefs. Jiva srishti homework was very unique and made me introspect really hard on the innumerable emotional universes that I’ve created and entrapped my mind in. The practices that you taught us like the chanting of the mantra to get the mental space to deal with emotions by tapping on to Ishwara’s grace, the way forward in dealing with emotions on a daily basis made the course a user manual for life.

I’m very keen in implementing your teachings, watching the sessions repeatedly and reading the notes and seeing the changes in my life and also make the lives of other people much better. Terms like empathy, understanding, changing thought patterns are used widely in other areas like psychology or personal development but then, the understanding of Ishwara makes this course very different and wholesome as compared to everything else. Alignment with functional reality, aaw, what a revelatory concept for me!!!

Nirmala Iyer, UK

• I am trying to learn to communicate better with my family members instead of a complaining tone and be more comfortable with the way I speak without the fear of being judged.
• I am being extra cheerful (though am always with the general public like students/friends).
• The mirror exercise daily has played a big role in the way I speak to others.
• The mantra chanting daily one round (I used to chant once a week this mantra) has helped me too as I contemplate on why I got hurt or angry in situations and how do I control them with awareness.
• I am trying to be a better listener instead of interrupting and hearing from the other person’s view.
• Finally learnt that we should not resist these emotions as after all they are an order of Ishwara and dance along with it.

DhanyavAdhah, Nirmala

Lata Tarneja, Mumbai

Thank you so much for taking us and guiding us through this wonderful text called “Bhaava”. It has been an amazing experience and opened us ,to all the emotions and the Rasaa.  First time emotions seem so important and different. Watching your emotions dance with awareness makes it a wonderful experience.  Once again thank you swaminiji

Jennifer Gillis, Canada

Through this study I have resolved that it is a gift for me to live my life with sensitivity; sensitivity need not become sentimentalism.

Maturing in awareness to hold the emotions of myself and other’s, it is now clear that the rasa experienced is alone Brahman. This only happens when I accommodate and share, with gentleness and care.

The blessing of closeness cultivated through the intimacy of relationship is the owning up of the oneness that is the glory of my true nature.

Dr Bina Nangia, Delhi

Before I took these classes, I was managing my emotions and being aware of them. These classes taught me to actually dance with my emotions.

I have learnt surrender and gratitude as very important bhaava. When I get more aware of these then all other emotions of anger, sadness, fear, irritation, blame can be experienced fully. There is less resistance, more acceptance of myself and others. Being non-judgmental of myself has released a huge expectation off my shoulders and there’s feeling of freedom.

Now I look forward to my various emotions through the day and love the way they present themselves and how I dance with them. I offer all these emotions at the feet of Ishvara, by Ishvarising them all.