In the Name of Love: Saul David Raye

A leading Bhakti teacher and musician shares his wisdom.

Saul David Raye is a teacher, healer, and musician whose life is centered around the heart and making love the teacher. His teaching shares practical (ordinary) ways to strengthen our hearts through the practice of heart-centered yoga, chanting of mantras (sacred sound vibrations), music, meditation, self-reflection, and community. He is devoted to the path of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is the path of love; it is at the very heart of yoga itself. In the core teachings of yoga, it is said that without bhakti—without devotion and deep love—true knowledge and awakening are not possible. “I create space for doing the best you can do in the name of love," Saul says. Saul’s teachings have been influenced by his study and practice in different spiritual traditions. Closest to his heart are the traditions of Yoga, Bhakti, Tantra, Buddhist teachings, Mayan teachings, and indigenous teachings. We sat down for a Soul-to-Soul talk with Saul. Here's what he shared.
What is Bhakti Yoga? The teachings are based in part that spirituality should not be used to deny our very real human condition, but to wake up to it. Through the teachings of yoga, we understand that the material world is not sensitive to our inner journey. To nurture our inner life requires a safe space to explore that. This is the power of community, which the path of Bhakti embraces. I create space for doing the best you can do in the name of love. What does it mean to be yourself? It is not always easy to allow the sensitive part of us to come out. The world is not often sensitive to the sacred. Yet, when you are called to your path, you have no choice, so you learn to take care of yourself and how to slowly integrate your inner and outer path in life. What do you work on every day? To open my heart and love in the current of grace. To keep working on myself and be a better person. To do what I can to be in true service to myself and others. What does music mean to you? Music has always been a part of life, I grew up in the music business and left it because at that time it was not healthy for me, there was something missing. On my journey, I encountered the music of India and it touched my soul. I knew instantly what was missing. Over the years I have maintained a chanting practice as part of my own healing journey. And to my surprise it has just expanded to being able to share the music with others. You are currently working on a music album, Light of the Heart, and recently released a song Jai Ganesha (Victory to Love). What brought you into this world of Kirtan? This record for me is the last 10 years of my musical journey and really my whole life. I wanted to capture the deep feeling (Bhava) of Kirtan and stay true to my Western roots and the rawness that I experience in chanting. In terms of being successful or not, we made the music that felt good to our hearts, I would love to be able to share with others that it would be healing for. But I will leave that to the universe. You seem pretty steady. Are you always confident in living this life? I have seen that I have overcome a lot of fear and yet there is still fear there. The nature of spiritual practice is that we are both dying and being reborn in every moment. I feel that in my deepest moments I trust in the power that brought me here, I trust life. I have experienced moments of deep peace and love and connection to something beyond this world. In those moments everything changes. I am humbly learning to let go, but there are still things I am attached too. Saul’s teaching methodologies are straightforward and profound. Whether it’s teaching philosophy of Bhakti, Tantra, Ayurveda or Kirtan he helps us integrate the metaphysical, mantra, meditation, and sacred storytelling into daily life. His gift is his ability to help students get more in touch with their hearts and deeper self, to learn to trust their own inner process. You can find more information on Saul’s Heart Medicine work at www.sauldavidraye.com. — Silvia MordiniSilvia Mordini is a writer and happiness coach. For 20 years her expert passion has inspired people to connect to their joyful potential. Born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage, Silvia developed a sense of global citizenship early on. In young adulthood she was ran over by a car—a life-changing accident that led her to discover the “alchemy” of yoga to heal and transform. A serial “yogapreneur,” Silvia has owned two yoga studios,  founded international Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School, and Alchemy Tours where she guides retreats worldwide. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.