Do you believe in the divine force that created the Universe? Do you feel His presence in you? Do you seek to be enlightened and connected to this Divine Power? Then Bhakti Yoga is the answer to it all.
The word ‘Bhakti’ refers to the love and devotion that one has towards God- the divine force, towards His amazing creation with all due respect to it . Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by one and all, irrespective of the age, class, status or religion that one hails from. It is the path of Bhakta that propels us towards the goal.
Bhakti Yoga and God
God is omnipresent. He is within us too and is our surrounding force in the form of love and divinity, though we may not be aware of it everytime. A fine thread connects us to the divine universal force . Once we experience this divinity and become conscious of it, we realise what true love for God really means. That is when we do not have the desire for anything beyond it!
An individual who lacks Bhakti , is like a fish deprived of water, a moonless and starless night , or a bird with no wings! Love is an essence of all beings. It gives us a sense of security and happiness – one that a child feels when he is in the embrace of his mother’s arms or what a traveller feels when his long, arduous voyage comes to an end.
What is Bhakti Yoga?
There happened to be a time when the human being was dominated by his emotions. Though today it may be different and emotion may not necessarily be the dominant factor in you , yet it continues to be the most concentrated component within you. The physical body in most people is unable to get to the state of high intensity. Rather, it is more of an effort to let the body be kept intense. On and off, the mind can still be kept intense , however, an intense mind can be sustained by just a few beings. In the case of energy, people commonly are not intense , and do not show steadiness of this particular state. However, when it comes to emotion , it does tend to get to the level of intensity. Even if it may not be in love, in case of anger , we become intense. So emotions rule over humans.
An interesting aspect here arises before one reaches this supreme tier of love and devotion towards God, when there is an intermingling of Bhakti with the ego. In other words, we love God , and at the same time expect from him in return. For example, when we are in trouble or in pain , we resort to God. We pray to God for fulfilling our materialistic desires such as money, fame, career, job, prosperity, wealth and so on without being mindful of the truth that when we depart from the journey of life, we have to leave behind all the materialistic assets . So such materialism has no real worth. Those in the quest for spiritualism pray for realisation of the divine force and enlightenment. However, we tend to often form an inner image of God in our minds – what He is like as per our perception, how He acts , due to which we are unable to prepare ourselves for a celestial disclosure.
Types of Bhakti
There are two kinds of Bhakti:
· Apara Bhakti which is the egoistic love
· Para Bhakti which is the Universal love
A Bhakta (devotee) acknowledges and believes whatever happens to him as an endowment of the Supreme force. He is sans any desires or expectations, and completely surrenders himself to the will and grace of God. He believes and accepts the situations of life as endowed upon him by destiny. He has no resentment.
Devoid of Bhakti , there is no divine route. It is with our love and compassion for all the life forms and our devotion towards the Almighty that we can be one with Him.
Life has four realities to present – mind, body, emotion and energy.
When one uses his emotions and attempts to attain the ultimate, it is Bhakti Yoga or path of devotion .
When one uses his intellect and attempts to gain the ultimate, it is called Gnana yoga or path of intelligence
When one uses his body or any physical actions in an attempt to attain the ultimate, it is the path of action or Karma Yoga .
When one transforms his energies and tries to achieve the ultimate, it is an internal action or Kriya Yoga .
Thus these are ultimately the four paths one can walk through when working with oneself.
Bhakti Yoga – the path
The path towards Bhakti Yoga is one of the heart. As a part of worship, the bhaktas (devotees) may delve in rituals, mantra chanting, prayers, and kirtans (devotional songs) to express their emotions towards the Divine.
As per history, Bhakti Yoga was a path undertaken by more of the women folk and those belonging to the lower strata of the Hindu society who could not access the more academic aspects of yoga.
A specific or particular deity may be worshipped by some Bhakti yogis while a broader approach may be adopted by some others in submitting to the Divine for all things. The Hinduism approach prescribes three three main cults of Bhakti yogis worshipping particular Gods:
The Shaivists who worship and are devoted towards Lord Shiva as their idol.
Vaishnavists who are devoted to and worship Lord Vishnu and his avatars.
Shaktists who are devoted and worship the ‘ devis’ (Goddesses) like Devi Durga and Kali Maata (Mother Kali).
All the three sects focus on their idols while regarding the other sects in absolute reverence.
Achieving the ultimate union with the Divine
It has been mentioned that to achieve the ultimate union with God, one has to follow the path of determination, patience and devotion while completely surrendering to the Divine through Bhakti Yoga and not trying to worship on a superficial level.
Addresss: Himalayan Yoga Ashram, Himalayan Yoga association, Gulab Nagar, Tapovan, Rishikesh, 249192, Uttarakhand
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