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Dr. Swami Shivapoojananda Saraswati Ji Maharaj

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Yoga health research institute, bhopal, m. p., india


--------------    INTEGRATED YOGATHEOPATHY SCIENCE   --------------

Karma - Yoga bhakti - yoga gyana - yoga hatha - yoga raja - yoga kriya - yoga
kundalini - yoga swara - yoga nada - yoga mantra - yoga laya - yoga tantra - yoga

---------------  THE  Bhakti - yoga SCIENCE    ---------------

Bhakti-Yoga : Literally the term Bhakti comes from the root "Bhaj" in the Sanskrit, which means "to be attached to God". It signifies a blissful, selfless and overwhelming love or devotion or complete faith generally in the God or supreme consciousness in any of the forms as the beloved Father, Mother, Child, Friend or whichever relationship or personal aspect of God that finds appeal in the devotee's heart. Also it may be Lord Shiva, Rama, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha etc or it may be a Guru (spiritual leader or master or guide) for his disciples or followers. Bhakti is love for love's sake. The devotee wants God and God alone. There is no selfish expectation here. There is no fear also. The devotee feels, believes, conceives and imagines that his Ishtam (tutelary deity) is an Ocean of Love or Prem. Bhakti is the slender thread of Prem or love that binds the heart of a devotee with the lotus feet of the Lord. Bhakti is intense devotion and supreme attachment to God. It is the spontaneous out-pouring of Prem towards the Beloved. There is not a bit of bargaining or expectation of anything here. This higher feeling is indescribable in words. It has to be sincerely experienced by the devotee. Bhakti is a sacred, pure, unselfish, divine love and higher emotion with sublime sentiments that unites the devotees with the Lord.

               Important thing is the person interested in following this path should have very strong emotional bond with the object of faith. The flow of emotional and devotional infinite natural potentional energy of the self is directed and channelized to this object or towards Eshta (Guru or God). Mostly people suppress their emotions and that often reflects in the form of physical and mental disorders. This Bhakti-Yoga releases those suppressed emotions and brings the purification of inner self. Continuous meditation of God or object of faith gradually decrease the ego of the practitioner, which further prevents new distractions, fickleness or even pain and induces strong bonds of love. Slowly the practitioner looses the self identity and becomes one with the object of faith, this is a state of self-realization and absolute Enlightenment. Mark how love develops-First arises faith, Then follows attraction, and after that adoration. Adoration leads to suppression of mundane desires. The result is single-mindedness and satisfaction. Then grow attachment and supreme love towards God. This leads the devotee to an eternal union with his Beloved and culminates in oneness.

Various kinds of Bhakti (Devotion) : One classification is Sakamya and Nishkamya Bhakti. Sakamya Bhakti is devotion with desire for material gains. Whatever you want the Lord will certainly give you, if your Bhakti is intense and if your prayers are sincerely offered from the bottom of your heart. But you will not get supreme satisfaction, immortality, intuitive divine knowledge and Moksha through this lower quality Bhakti. Your Bhakti should always be Nishkamya Bhakti. Aspire for Nishkamya Bhakti. Your heart will be purified, mind will be peaceful, and the Divine Grace will descend upon you. Be in communion with the Lord, you will become one with the Lord and you will enjoy all the Divine Aishvaryas (Divine attributes like wisdom, renunciation, super perception power, Siddhis and feats, etc.). All the Vibhutis (Special forms in which the Lord manifests) of the Lord, He will give you. He will give you Darshan . He will help you to dwell in Him. At the same time He will give you all the Divine Aishvaryas also.

            Another classification of Bhakti is Apara-Bhakti and Para-Bhakti. Apara-Bhakti is for beginners in Yoga sadhana. The beginner decorates an image with flowers and garlands, rings the bell, offers Naivedya (food-offerings), wave lights; he observes rituals and ceremonies. The Bhakta or devotee here regards the Lord as a Supreme Person, who is immanent in that image and who can be propitiated through that form only. Bhakti as a process of yoga is described in detail famously within the Bhagavad Gita, wherein it is given as the ultimate form of religious expression, for which all other dharmas ( adopted self disciple or principles) should be abandoned and also in other texts such as the Narada Bhakti Sutra. The scriptural source of these nine primary forms or mode of Bhakti is a verse in the Bhagavad Purana, spoken by Prahlada which help the devotee feel closer to God such as:------------------   


  Shravanam :Hearing about the Lord's Lilas or plays - singing and chanting God's names (japa), listening to stories from scripture about the deities, will help the Bhakta increase his faith and devotion. The mythological scriptures of yoga and Sanatana dharma are called Puranas. Each purana is dedicated to a deity. Some of the most well know Puranas, and the deities to which they are dedicated are such as : Siva purana - Lord Siva, Shrimad Bhagavatam or Vishnu Purana - Lord Vishnu, Devi Mahatmya - the divine mother, Goddess Durga. Of course there are many more. An important aspect of practice of shravanam is that although the scriptures can be read directly by the aspirant, it will be much more powerful to hear the stories as told by a saint or genuine Bhakta who has had mystical experiences.

  Kirtanam : Chanting and Glorifying of the Lord's glories, and describing God's all-attractive features. Countless enlightened Yogies and saints have spontaneously composed and written devotional songs. Most of the Kirtan and bhajans are in the Sanskrit language which should be chanted in a original form. When you feel happy, you find yourself chanting naturally and spontaneously.

  Smaranam : Remembering the presence of the Lord constantly- internal meditation on the Lord's form, activities, names or personality. It will change one's mental attitude. Becoming aware of the omnipresence of God, there is a respect for not only human beings but all creatures, plants and even objects of one's surroundings. Unceasing prayer is also a form of smaranam. Practicing remembrance of the Lord will bring about complete love.

  Padaseva : Pada means feet and Seva means service. Serving the lotus feet of the Lord - providing a form of physical service (Karma Yoga) with devotion. In doing your duty and serving humanity, develop the Bhava that you are serving and worshiping the Lord's Feet. The Lord's Feet are an important spiritual symbol of the sacredness of the Divine. Psychologically worshiping the feet of God drives home the point that God is a higher entity and it helps establish humility in the devotee's heart.

  Archanam : Worshiping the Lord-deity through rituals such as pooja, Havan or Homa. Performing these rituals are a popular, recognized, and scientifically meaningful form of this within India. Bhakti-Yoga teaches us how to worship god in a codified manner using gestures, offering different items such as flowers, incense, food, light etc. while chanting corresponding mantras in order to express our love and devotion to a certain aspect of the divine.

  Vandanam : Offering prayers to the Lord- any form of prayer offered to please God. The yogi expresses his respect and love to God by prostrating physically to the ground thereby developing humility. There are different techniques but the main thing is to touch the floor with the forehead. As for every yogic practice, the most important part is the inner Bhava (emotional or devotional attitude). Therefore as you prostrate you want to cultivate the pure awareness that the Almighty is present in the altar in front of you and in all names and divine forms.

  Dasyam : Serving the Lord- offering a devotional service for Lord's pleasure, such as preaching activity. The devotee is developing the feeling of being the Lord's servant. This will weed out pride, selfishness, arrogance and egoism which are all based on Avidya. The pure Devotional service manifests as the most elevated, pure love for God.

  Sakhyam : Feeling of friendship or Building a friendship with the Lord - having an internal, loving relationship with God. This Bhava helps the devotees establish a personal relationship with God, picturing him as his best friend. One should be ready to do anything for their friend's pleasures.

  Atmnivedana : Surrendering everything of self unto the Lord- surrendering one's thoughts, actions and deeds to God. Actually surrender is the highest aspect of Bhakti-Yoga. One's ego is totally offered to the Lord and nothing but the atman remains and non duality is experienced.

               In the Bhakti-Yoga sadhana, Go from stage to stage as Navadha-Bhakti. Just as a flower grows in the garden, so also gradually develop pure love or Prem in the garden of your divine heart. These nine principles of devotional service are described as helping the devotee remain constantly in touch with God. The processes of japa and internal meditation on the aspirant devotee's chosen deity form Ishtadeva are especially popular in most Bhakti schools. actually, Yoga sadhaka of Navadha Bhakti has no expanded heart. He is a sectarian. He dislikes other kinds of Bhaktas who worship other Devatas. But Gradually, from Apara-Bhakti, the devotee goes to Para-Bhakti, the highest form of internal or real Bhakti. He sees the Lord and Lord alone everywhere and feels His Power manifest as the entire universe. "Thou art all-pervading; on what Simhasana shall I seat Thee ? Thou art the Supreme Light, in whose borrowed light the sun, the moon, the stars and the fire shine; shall I wave this little Deepa or light before You ?" - thus the devotee recognizes the transcendental nature of God. Para-Bhakti and Jnana are one. But every Bhakta will have to start from Apara-Bhakti. Before you take your food, offer it to God mentally; and the food will be purified. Whatever you want best for your self, mentally offer all the best things to the Lord in Archana ( worship). Such practices will lead to Para-Bhakti.

    Samadhi & Salvation in Bhakti-Yoga : The Shaiva or Vaishnava or Shakta Bhakti Schools of Yoga define Samadhi as complete absorption into the object of one's love ( any forms of Lord or God ).  Rather than thinking of "nothing," true samadhi is said to be achieved only when one has pure, unmotivated love of God. Thus samadhi can be entered into through meditation on the personal form of God, even while performing daily activities a practitioner can strive for full Samadhi.

                Anyone who is thinking of Eshta (any divine form of supreme personality or God) always within himself, he is first-class yogi." If you want perfection in yoga system, don't be satisfied only by practicing a course of asana-pranayama. You have to go further. Actually, the perfection of yoga system means when you are in Samadhi, always  contemplating  of the Ishta or any form of the Lord within your heart, without being disturbed... Controlling all the senses and the mind. You have to purify and control the mind, control the senses, and concentrate everything on the form of Lord. That is called perfection of Bhakti-Yoga. So that ecstasy is immediately brought by this Mantra chanting and Navadha Bhakti Sadhana process.

  Special features and characteristics of Bhakti-Yoga sadhana are given below, such as : ------

Y Upon achieving that stage of transcendental devotional unselfish service in pure love of God, a person becomes perfect, immortal, enlightened and peaceful.

YA person engaged in such pure devotional service neither desires anything for sense gratification, nor laments for any loss, nor hates anything, nor enjoys anything on his personal account, nor becomes very enthusiastic in material activity & achievement.

Y One who understands perfectly the process of devotional service in love of Godhead becomes intoxicated in its discharge. Sometimes he becomes stunned in ecstasy and thus enjoys his whole self, being engaged in the service of the Supreme Self.

Y There is no question of lust in the execution of pure devotional service, because in it all material activities are renounced.

Y Such renunciation in devotional service means to give up all kinds of social customs and religious rituals governed by Vedic and intellectual injunctions.

Y Exclusive dedication to the Lord & God means giving up all shelters other than Him.                      top

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