In Hinduism, Bhakti Yoga means to develop internally by keeping affection for one’s favorite deity. Bhajan Kirtan and Satsang. It is also called ‘Bhakti Marg’. It is one of the four paths by which Moksha can be attained. The other three paths are Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Karma Yoga.
The tradition of Bhakti is very old. ‘Bhakti’ is mentioned in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad. Four paths of self-realization have been described in the Bhagavad Gita, of which Bhakti Yoga is one.
What is Bhakti Yoga?
Bhakti and Yoga are Sanskrit words; Yoga means joining or union; And Bhakti means divine love, Universal Love, and Supreme love Being.
Bhakti is the highest culmination of the love of God (the ultimate energy) for the devotee. Devotion is the utmost love for God. When the devotee renounces attachment to the material objects of the world and worships God with exclusive devotion where he feels connected with the Lord in every breath, it is called Bhakti.
Bhakti means love and loyalty to God – love, and loyalty to creation, respect for all beings, and their protection. Everyone can practice Bhakti Yoga, whether small or big, rich or poor, irrespective of the nation or religion he belongs to. The path of Bhakti Yoga takes us straight and safe towards our goal.
Defining devotion is not an easy task; It can only be felt. We can be absorbed in devotion with every breath. It is that divine love that elevates us, awakens ecstasy, brings about change, and touches the depths of our existence every moment.
The superiority of Bhakti lies in this that the devotee who seeks love without any fear and selfish expectations immerses himself in devotion. The only sense of service is not called Bhakti unless it involves devotion and love. It is called “Param Prem Roopa”.
History of Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti, also known as union with the infinite, is the oldest form of yoga in Indian scriptures. This form of yoga was recognized as one of the paths to liberation (salvation) in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Bhagavad-Purana.
It is formally depicted in the Shvetasvara Upanishad as an expression of love for the infinite, infinite God. Around 500 BCE, it is described in the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita as the path to liberation or the realization of the ultimate truth. Along with this, the Narada Bhakti Sutra is described as Bhagavatam.
The major proponents of the Bhakti movements were Shankaracharya, Bhagat Namdev, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Namdev, Tukaram, Sant Kabir Das, and Jayadeva.
Navadha Bhakti – 9 principles of Bhakti yoga
There is a description about Navadha Bhakti in Bhagavad Mahapuran –
“Shravanam kirtanam vishno samaranam padasevanam.
Archanam vandanam dasyam sakhyamatmanivedanam ||
In other words
- Shravanam – hearing the glory of the Lord,
- Kirtanam – Singing the name and glory of the Lord through hymns,
- Vishnu Samranam – Remembering God,
- Padasevanam – Service to the feet of the image of the Lord and dedicate all your actions at the feet of the Lord,
- Archanam – Worshiping God according to the method described in the scriptures,
- Vandanam – singing the praises of the Lord by giving up pride,
- Dasyam– Doing all the work by considering the Supreme Soul as the master and the self as the servant.
- Sakhyabhava – The feeling of friendship towards the Lord like Arjuna and Sudama,
- Atmannivedanam – To surrender one’s knowledge, intellect, mind, action, everything to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Types of Bhakti Yoga
Basically, there are nine types of Bhakti. In which there are forms like Ragatmika and Vidhi Bhakti, Sakyamya and Nishkamya Bhakti, Vyabhicharini and Avyabicharini Bhakti, Mukhiya and Gauna Bhakti, Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasic Bhakti etc. But two distinctions of Bhakti yoga are accepted – Apara (lower) and Para (higher) Bhakti.
Para Bhakti – This devotion is the highest stage of knowledge. According to the Gita, Para Bhakti is the culmination of Tattva Gyan, in which there is no desire left except liberation.
Apara Bhakti – This devotion is the name of being devoted to God with passionate love. In which the seeker works for the pleasure of God. It is dominated by love or passion. There are also differences in this – Vaidhi and Raganuga.
The word Bhakti is derived from the root “Bhaja Sevayam”, which means – service, worship, worship, etc. Devotion is the name of the special fervent love for the Lord and that Supreme Power.
The practice of Bhakti Yoga is more suitable for spiritual seekers. The most simple and natural way is to attain Godhead i.e. the union of all souls with the Supreme Father, the Supreme Soul, to attain the highest state of yoga.
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