Poetics of Love & Liberation – Buddhism, Bhakti Music, Art | led by Swagath Sivakumar & Tejal Shah

There are more than ninety-six words for love in the Sanskrit language and eighty in ancient Persian. In medieval theology, it was held that love literally set the universe in motion. The love of wisdom and the wisdom of love are at the heart of all spiritual traditions, including Buddhism. The Buddha found that all beings have boundless love, prajna, and possibility as their basic ground. The more our true nature is revealed, the freer we are from our neuroses and confusions, which arise from dualistic misperceptions. The Sages who experience reality as it is have spontaneously sung dohas, in which we hear such utterances:

Kabira ishq ka maada, dui ko door kar dil se.
Jo chalna raah naazuk hai, haman sir bojh bhaari kya?

Kabir, drunk on love, distance duality from the heart.
The path to walk is a delicate one, why carry along a heavily burdened head?

In this immersive retreat, we will create a safe container for embodied knowledge to unfold, in ways that Mingyur Rinpoche succinctly describes as, “awareness without object, love without reason, and wisdom without concept”. We’ll explore different facets of love that are so intimately intertwined with liberation – fearless love that unflinchingly feels into the suffering of the world, tender love that knows loss and death, expansive love grounded in our mutual interdependence, profound love rooted in the conviction that all beings have enlightened nature, and the radical love that experiences the non-duality of shunyata (emptiness) and luminosity.

By anchoring ourselves in felt-sense experience, we will process with the support of singing, dancing, guided meditations, talks, relational work, journaling, drawing, movement, playing, as well as doing nothing. The invitation is to stay curious, open, gentle, and loving, as we arrive into authentic presence. It is said, ‘the heart that cracks open can contain the whole universe’.

If the above resonates with you, please join us in discovering a grounded body, an open heart, and a clear mind. Register – https://tinyurl.com/poetics-love-lib

– The retreat will begin at 4 pm on Wednesday, 28th August, and end by 3:30 pm on Wednesday, 4th Sep 2024.
– To maintain the integrity of the process, participation in the full retreat schedule is required.
– Please limit using digital gadgets/internet outside the retreat schedule, without disturbing fellow participants.
– No prior training or experience is needed in Buddhism or the Bhakti tradition nor does one need to be a singer or an artist to participate.
– This retreat will primarily be conducted in English, and we will also use Hindi and other regional languages in the exploration of the songs; translations will be provided.
– We value Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and are committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for everyone while being mindful of power differentials along complex intersectional lines of class, caste, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, age, etc.
– While this retreat is offered by dana/donation, and accommodation and food are as per actuals, a contribution is requested to cover the material costs.
– The retreat is limited to 20 participants.
– Your registration will only be confirmed after a non-refundable advance payment of  has been made to the Deer Park Institute. Please register by filling this form – https://tinyurl.com/poetics-love-lib

Wed 28 Aug, Day 1
4 – 6: Intro Session 1
6 – 7: Dinner
7 – 9: Intro Session 2

Thu 29 Aug – Tue 3 Sep, Days 2 – 6
6:30 – 8: Meditation in movement, Pranayama, Chanting
8 – 9: Breakfast
9 – 10:30: Session 1
10:30 – 11: Refreshment break
11 – 12:30: Session 2
12:30 – 2:30: Lunch, self-care
2:30 – 4: Session 3
4 – 4:30: Refreshment break
4:30 – 6: Session 4
6 – 7: Dinner
7 – 8:30: Screenings/Group Discussions/Participant-led sharing etc.
8:30 — 10: Self-care

Wed 4 Sep, Day 7
9 – 10:30: Closing session
10:30 – 11: Refreshment break
11 – 12: Harvesting
12 – 1:30: Lunch
1:30 – 3:30: HarvestinG

About the Facilitators

Swagath Sivakumar
Swagath is an apprentice at the Kabir Project. He was drawn to the poetry of the great Indian mystics by their remarkable resonances with the teachings of the Buddha. He enjoys sharing the colourful poems and songs that he has found personally helpful with others. He is also a student at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamshala.


Tejal Shah
A visual artist by training, Tejal loves to curate and facilitate meaningful journeys of self-inquiry. In trying to make sense of the world with its ten thousand joys and sorrows, she has found refuge in Buddhism, supported by various psychotherapeutic modalities, queer-feminist perspectives & eco-poetics. She believes it is our birthright and responsibility to heal our bodies, hearts, minds, and the ecosystems we inhabit. In service of that, she founded the project AS IT IS (https://www.asitis.org.in). Tejal is forever grateful to her teachers who are a living embodiment of wisdom and compassion.




Aug 28 2024 - Sep 04 2024


Deer Park Institute, Bir
Deer Park Institute