Bhakti Yoga is likely one of the 4 most important yogic paths to enlightenment. Bhakti means “devotion” or “love” and this path incorporates numerous practices to unite the bhakta (Bhakti Yoga practitioner) with the Divine. Bhakti Yoga is taken into account the best yogic path to grasp and probably the most direct technique to expertise the unity of thoughts, physique, and spirit. Whereas Hatha Yoga requires a powerful and versatile physique, Raja Yoga requires a disciplined and concentrated thoughts, and Jnana Yoga requires a eager mind, the one requirement for Bhakti Yoga is an open, loving coronary heart. However Bhakti Yoga enhances different paths of yoga effectively, and it’s mentioned that jnana (data or knowledge) will daybreak by itself once you interact within the devotional practices of Bhakti Yoga.
This deeply religious follow attracts closely on the Hindu pantheon of deities. Every of those deities is seen as representing a humanized facet of the only Godhead or Brahman – a lot the identical manner the Christian saints symbolize particular attributes and qualities of God. The usage of Hindu deities in Bhakti Yoga could be a massive impediment for Western practitioners, particularly for these with a deeply spiritual background. However using the Hindu deities shouldn’t be required for this follow – the truth is, discovering your individual object(s) of devotion will probably be all of the more practical in reaching yoga (union) with the Divine.
There are 9 most important practices of Bhakti Yoga that may be practiced independently or collectively. Every of those limbs creates a particular bhava (feeling) that appeals to totally different inside constitutions of practitioners.
The 9 Limbs of Devotion
1. Shravana – “listening” to the traditional scriptures, particularly potent if instructed by a saint or real bhakta.
2. Kirtana – “singing” devotional songs, normally practiced in a call-and-response group format.
3. Smarana – “remembering” the Divine by continuously meditating upon its identify and type.
4. Padasevana – “service on the ft” of the Divine, which contains the follow of karma yoga (selfless service) with bhakti (devotion).
5. Archana – the “ritual worship” of the Divine by means of practices reminiscent of puja (deity worship), and havan or homa (hearth providing).
6. Vandana – the “prostration” earlier than the picture of 1’s chosen picture or illustration of the Divine.
7. Dasya – the “unquestioning” devotion of the Divine involving the cultivation of serving the desire of God as a substitute of 1’s personal ego.
8. Sakhya – the “friendship” and relationship established between the Divine and the devotee.
9. Atmanivedana – the “self-offering” and full give up of the self to the Divine.
The most well-liked limb of Bhakti Yoga within the West is Kirtana (normally known as Kirtan), with nationwide and native Kirtan walas performing weekly in small to massive cities. Bhakti Yoga may be practiced by itself or be built-in into different kinds of yoga or religious practices.
The advantages of Bhakti Yoga are immense, as Swami Sivananda writes, “Bhakti softens the guts and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pleasure, and vanity. It infuses pleasure, divine ecstasy, bliss, peace, and data. All cares, worries and anxieties, fears, psychological torments, and tribulations completely vanish. The devotee is free of the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths. He attains the immortal abode of eternal peace, bliss, and data”.
The last word objective within the follow of Bhakti yoga is to succeed in the state of rasa (essence), a sense of pure bliss achieved within the devotional give up to the Divine.