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Jan 9

Written by: Jayanthi
Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bhakti Yoga


Submitted by: A Nagarajan




All the paths of yogas (Karma, Bhakti, Gnana, Hatha) lead to the supreme goal, realizing the Self.  The different paths of Yogas take us to a common point of junction called meditation (dhyana yoga) from where further journey is common for all paths (yoga). These yogas take you to a point where one is ready for silencing and concentration of mind. 


All the yogas are the process of tracking back to the origin or source of life. If one follows the yoga (Union) according to his nature, he is bound to reach the goal in an easy manner.


Any individual is a mix of all above temperaments. Hence, in the spiritual path one has to make a judicial mix of all yogas (refer to the box to the right), selecting the main path based on his predominant character.


Bhakti Yoga in Detail


Bhakti, otherwise known as worship or prayer is not begging. It is not crying for something. The law of life is that one gets what he or she deserves, not what he desires. Devotion nowadays has come to mean a superstitious feeling of love in personalities and rituals. Such bhaktas reach as far as these outward forms and places of worship. They do not see anything beyond the idol. Idols are means to an end, not an end in themselves. A true bhakta reaches beyond the idol, the ideal. Vedanta helps to achieve this end to unfold the self within.


In the bhakti yoga chapter of Bhagavad Gita, 35 characteristics of true devotees are spelt out.  A perfect devotee is one who mastered these qualities. Some of the qualities are:


1.       He who does not hate any being

2.       He by whom the world is not agitated and who is not agitated by the world

3.       He who wants nothing

4.       He who neither rejoices nor hates

5.       To whom censure and praise or equal is a great Bhakta


A man with the above discipline is reputed as a Bhakti Yogi or devotee just because he shows some attachment to a particular deity. Devotion is not so easy going. It involves lot of training and  discipline. One has to pay the price for it. It is this price that is marked in the above qualities.


The real part of devotion is surrendering the ego. To consider oneself as a spoke in the wheel of life, one must surrender the ego. Surrender does not mean resignation, nor is it an unintelligent acceptance of anything occurs to you. Work you must. Perform obligatory duties with selfless attitude. Avoid ego in and thru the activities. ACCCEPT THE OUT COME OF YOUR EFFORTS AS PRASAD (BLESSINGS) FROM LORD.


Devotion is a form of love. The affection towards your equals or lower (children) is love. When the same emotion is towards higher (parent, God etc) is devotion. The meaning of pure love is demonstrated in a poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt.



Abou Ben Adhem


Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,

And saw, within the moonlight in his room,

Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,

An Angel writing in a book of gold:


Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,

And to the Presence in the room he said,

"What writest thou?" The Vision raised its head,

And with a look made of all sweet accord

Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."


"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"

Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,

But cheerily still; and said, "I pray thee, then,

Write me as one who loves his fellow men."


The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night

It came again with a great wakening light,

And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,

And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest




 More posts by A. Nagarajan here.


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Copyright ©2008 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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