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Old 05-17-2011, 04:23 PM   #1
Ramanuja
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Bhakti Yoga

According to Hinduism there are four major paths by which one can reach God. They are Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga and Karma Yoga. The Sanskrit word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the root ‘yuj’ meaning ‘to unite’ or ‘to join’. Yoga means ‘a bond’ between the person and the God.

Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion. The idea is that one can reach God by sheer devotion to him. It is a path suitable to the emotional kind of person. It is said that the emotional person can have a direct perception of God through the path of devotion. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Dakshineshwar near Calcutta, who was addressed as the Master by his disciples and as Guru Maharaj by his followers had a direct vision of Goddess Kali by his sheer devotion towards her.

Man is considered to be selfish when it comes to the emotion of love. On the other hand if the love becomes unselfish and is directed towards God, it gets converted to devotion and leads him to high levels of bliss. The conversion of passionate feeling into divine feeling is the underlying factor in Bhakti Yoga. It is said that Tulsidas, the great poet who wrote the Ramayana in the Hindi language turned into an ascetic after chided by his wife to whom he showed passionate love. He understood the inner meaning when he was reprimanded by her to show the same amount of passion towards God.

It is important to know that several factors contribute to the state of God-realization through Bhakti Yoga. They are Shaucha or purity of the body and the mind, prarthana or prayer, Japa or chanting the name of God, Gita or singing and puja or upasana or the worship of God. Bhakti Yoga aims at the purification of the body and the mind. An impure mind and body cannot reach God. Thoughts that occur in the mind should be pure enough to inculcate the feeling of divinity within the mind. Impure thoughts act as stumbling blocks to the path of devotion. Daily prayers offered to the God extol the greatness in Him. It is said that prayer steadies the mind.

There are three important ways of conducting Japa or chanting the name of God. It can be audibly, to oneself or silently. When chanting is done audibly it is called Vachika Japa. When it is done by moving the tongue and lips so that it can be heard by the chanter alone, then it is termed as Upamshu Japa. Manasa Japa is the chanting of the name of God mentally in silence. It is said that Manasa Japa is the most superior form among the three kinds of Japa. Vachika Japa is said to be the most inferior type of Japa. A Bhakta or a devotee engages himself in two kinds of worship, namely, external or image worship and mental worship. The latter is the way handled by the spiritual aspirants whereas the former is the path resorted to by the novices in the act of worship. Mental worship is considered superior to image worship. In the external form of worship the practitioner indulges in the performance of rituals too.

Various Bhavas or states of mind are recommended for the Bhakta or the devotee when it comes to his devotion to God. These states are mental attitudes that bring about his proximity to God. There are five kinds of Bhavas called as Shanta Bhava, Dasya Bhava, Sakhya Bhava, Vatsalya Bhava and Madhura Bhava. Shanta Bhava is the condition in which the devotee shows dispassionate and calm love towards God. The state of the mind in Shanta Bhava is such that the devotee longs for the Almighty without any intention of having personal relationship with Him. The devotee serves the God as a servant would serve his master in the Dasya Bhava state of mind. The devotee tries to maintain some distance from the God as a servant would try to maintain some distance from his master.

As a person would expect close relationship with a friend, the devotee wants close relationship with the God in the Sakhya Bhava attitude of the mind. Sakhya means ‘friendly’. The devotion shown to God by the devotee is friendly in attitude. At the same time the devotee expects love to be shown to him by the God. Sakhya Bhava is exactly opposite to Vatsalya Bhava. The latter is akin to the love shown by a mother to her child. Vatslaya means ‘motherly affection’. In the same way the devotee also shows love towards the God and never expects anything in return just as a mother does not expect anything in return of her love to the child. In Madhura Bhava type of mental attitude, the devotee shows love towards God as a faithful wife shows her love towards her husband. Madhura means ‘love shown by a wife towards her husband’. It is said that Madhura Bhava is the highest form of mental attitude and it is equated to growing spiritual relationship with God.

Hinduism speaks of other kinds of Bhavas too in addition to the five kinds mentioned above. The devotee can look upon the God as his father or mother and himself as a child yearning for the love of the mother. In fact Sri Ramakrishna looked upon Goddess Kali as the Divine Mother. One might wonder what the influence of the various attitudes or states of mind on devotion as a whole is. It can be said that such attitudes go a long way in purifying the mind and lead the person towards God. In other words the various forms of love discussed above have the ability to cleanse the mind of the spiritual aspirant and take him closer to God. Thus Bhakti Yoga rightly becomes a connecting bond between the spiritual aspirant and the God if practiced with discipline and control of the mind. There are several instances in the culture of India wherein the practitioners were successful in having the direct vision of God through Bhakti Yoga.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:44 AM   #2
AmirMourad
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"Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Dakshineshwar near Calcutta, who was addressed as the Master by his disciples and as Guru Maharaj by his followers had a direct vision of Goddess Kali by his sheer devotion towards her. "

Even Ramakrishna had to be slashed on the forehead by Totapuri to bring him to his senses. His obsession with Kali was useful in the beginning, but any obsession is bound to become a hindrance sooner or later, he could not manage to move beyond his vision of Kali in his meditation - which was preventing his awakening.

Even in bakhti yoga - one is to move from a "personal" symbol of the divine, which can be anything - whether Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, or Zeus - it does not matter, but one is to move from devotion to the personal to the impersonal. Otherwise, rather than becoming a stepping stone to one's awakening - one's devotion simply becomes a hindrance.

"There are several instances in the culture of India wherein the practitioners were successful in having the direct vision of God through Bhakti Yoga."

It has always been very rare. Because the problem is that if your mind becomes too identified with anything at all - then the mind is such, that it will see whatever it wants to see according to it's identifications. This is a severe danger in the path of devotion, because what is important is not the object of your devotion, but the intensity of your devotion itself. If your devotion is one-pointed, without wavering, with a great penetration, then even if you start having devotion towards something like a rock, or a piece of shit, sooner or later one is bound to come to one's awakening.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:26 AM   #3
prasad
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dear amir don't quote from what osho thought, here is what transpired
http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.in...ris_lesson.htm
don't just philosophise on the great Indian thought of Bhakti Yoga.
Besides Gita, here are a few of those great thinkers who are known to be exponents of this marga.
Shri sankara, ramanuja, madhavacharya, dhayeshawra, jayadeva, nimbakara, kabir, tulisidas, vallabhacharya, chitanya mahaprabhu,
mira bai,..........
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:55 AM   #4
Sarvamaṅgalamaṅgalā
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Quote:
Shri sankara, ramanuja, madhavacharya, dhayeshawra, jayadeva, nimbakara, kabir, tulisidas, vallabhacharya, chitanya mahaprabhu, mira bai,
Some new ager like Amir is not going to understand the importance of bhakti. These great acharyas and saints you have mentioned have all spoken about the greatness of bhakti. In the words of Adi Sankaracarya, Prabodha sudhakara, Anugrahika prakaranam 150.

काम्योपासन यार्थयन्त्य् अनुदिनं किन्चित् फलं स्वेप्सितम्
केचित् स्वर्गम् अथापवर्गम् अपरे योगादि यज्ञादिभिः
अस्माकं यदुनन्दनांघ्रि युगल ध्यानावधानार्थिनाम्
किं लोकेन दमेन किं नृपतिना स्वर्गापवर्गैश्च किं

kāmyopāsana yārthayanty anudinaṁ kincit phalaṁ svepsitam
kecit svargam athāpavargam apare yogādi yajñādibhiḥ
asmākaṁ yadunandanāṁghri yugala dhyānāvadhānārthinām
kiṁ lokena damena kiṁ nṛpatinā svargāpavargaiśca kiṁ

"Those who waste their time for the attainment of celestial joys or liberation are fools! I do not want any of that! I only desire to remain engrossed in the sweet remembrance of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.What is the need for pleasures of this world or heaven or Mukti (liberation) to exalted Prema bhaktas of the Lord?"

Quote:
If your devotion is one-pointed, without wavering, with a great penetration, then even if you start having devotion towards something like a rock, or a piece of shit, sooner or later one is bound to come to one's awakening.
If your devotion is towards a piece of shit, you will go towards a piece of shit in your next life, like Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita. (yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ, tyajaty ante kalevaram, taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya, sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ)
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:10 AM   #5
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prasad,

"dear amir don't quote from what osho thought,"

This shows how ignorant you are even as to the tradition of which you are speaking. Neither is it contrary to the tradition of bakhti yoga, otherwise you would be aware of this this even if with the superficial borrowed knowledge you have gathered into your mind. In bakhti yoga there are two different approaches, one being apara bakhti - the other being what has been called para bakhti. In apara bakhti, all of your devotion is channeled towards a particular object through ritualized worship, that is the first phase of bakhti which dissolves into the second, para bakhti. In para bakhti, the so called supreme devotion - the object of your devotion disappears, as does all of your ritualized worship - and there is simply devotion itself which is impersonal, encompassing the whole existence.

"Besides Gita, here are a few of those great thinkers who are known to be exponents of this marga. Shri sankara, ramanuja, madhavacharya, dhayeshawra, jayadeva, nimbakara, kabir, tulisidas, vallabhacharya, chitanya mahaprabhu,
mira bai"

That is nice, but you would not have the slightest idea of what devotion is unless you have come to know of it directly. So far, everything that you have spoken of is simply borrowed knowledge of which you are too arrogant to admit to your own ignorance. And no amount of studying, reading books, or a thousand scriptures, is going to dissolve your own ignorance unless you make an effort to come to your liberation through practice.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:35 AM   #6
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Sarva,

"Some new ager like Amir"

I am not a new ager, Truth is neither old nor new.

"is not going to understand the importance of bhakti. These great acharyas and saints you have mentioned have all spoken about the greatness of bhakti."

Where have I said that bhakhti is not important ?

"If your devotion is towards a piece of shit, you will go towards a piece of shit in your next life"

If everything arises out of one divine nature, then what are you doing setting things aside as though they were contrary to one another ? What are you doing dividing between the so called "sacred" and the so called "profane", between this shore and the other shore ? Even a piece of shit is divine, there is not a particle of this existence which is not divine. Since you are infatuated with quoting things in Sanskrit, that is why it has not just been said "Aham brahmasmi" ("I am the Absolute"), but also "Sarvam brahmasti ("All this is the Absolute").

If you think this to be a matter of what your object of devotion is, you have misunderstood the situation completely. You can try as much as possible to have devotion towards "Shiva", but it does not matter, unless you have devotion even infinite prayer is not going to be of any help. Whether you are worshipping Hindu, Buddhist, or any other deity from any tradition, or whether you are just worhsipping a snake, a cow, or a human being (as in "guru" yoga), or even the koan "Mu" of Zen, which does not have any gods, it makes no difference whatsoever. Worship and devotion is a certain inner quality and has nothing to do with the object of your devotion, that is just an excuse. If you have devotion, yes, even a piece of shit can become a trigger for your awakening. But - because you are far too arrogant, you want to worship a great god decorated in gold as a means to nourish your ego. Otherwise, what the object of devotion is, is irrelevant. Bhakhti yoga is a means of transformation of consciousness through emotion, and the point is not what you worship, but the intensity of your emotion. That is why, even hate can be used as a means towards transformation, and in fact there is an approach where one can come to ones liberation through hating the divine. It is known as dvesha-yoga, which has been mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana and has given several examples such as that of Shishupala, a king of the Cedis, who came to his enlightenment through hatred towards God. Because if you hate something so much - it may even come to a point where you are absolutely absorbed by it in the same way that you can become absorbed by something through love.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:52 AM   #7
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You are contradicting yourself. Dvesha yoga only works with the proper object of devotion. Shishupala had dvesha yoga towards Krishna. Hitler had dvesha towards the Jews, he did not become liberated through his dvesha.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:05 PM   #8
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"You are contradicting yourself. Dvesha yoga only works with the proper object of devotion."

What is the "proper" object of devotion is going to vary from person to person, it is as relative as relativity can be.

"Hitler had dvesha towards the Jews, he did not become liberated through his dvesha"

It would not have worked for Hitler, because the Jews did not symbolize the divine in his mind. One should understand that all of these various gods and godesses, as far as the mind is concerned, they are simply symbols. And the very nature of symbols is such, that they have no meaning in themselves. It is only once a link is created in the mind between a symbol and an idea, that the symbol becomes impregnated with a certain power, it becomes a tool for transformation. The same is the case with all of the symbols you are using as techniques in the yogic sciences, whether it is the correspondences of the chakras, or the various deities which are attributed to them.

Anything which becomes symbolic for the divine, if you channel your energies towards it with a certain intensity and one-pointedness, then rather than it being something external to yourself, you yourself become that. That is the whole purpose of devotion - it is just another means of entry into samadhi.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:03 PM   #9
Sarvamaṅgalamaṅgalā
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Not really, it doesn't matter how Hitler symbolised the Jews. His hatred and actions towards them would have never let towards liberation.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:18 PM   #10
subalster
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ah the joy of debate!
i feel like some of you are somehow missing the point a little bit
bhakti is not something that is practiced so that one may obtain any kind of material goal or even liberation
bhakti is done so that one may obtain prem
prem means pure transcendental love of god
worshiping stool is not going to get you prem
worshiping krsna rama or visnu will get you prem....
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:31 AM   #11
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subalster,

"i feel like some of you are somehow missing the point a little bit"

An ox continues chasign it's own tail, deceiving itself for another millenia. You are speaking of something which has not entered into the realm of your own experience, and not only have you missed the point, you have raised countless obstacles for your own freedom.

"prem means pure transcendental love of god"

More self-deception. You have already assumed that there is such a "God", let alone "transcendental love", which is another projection of the mind. Love is a limiting quality, nor is there anything in existence which is transcendental - in all directions the serpent swallows it's own tail.

"worshiping stool is not going to get you prem
worshiping krsna rama or visnu will get you prem.... "

If everything in existence is divine, then what is the difference ?
If you truly understand that everything in existence is of the same energy manifesting itself in a thousand and one different forms - then every breath, every act, every gesture, every word, whatever enters into your experience through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching - everything becomes one act of worship. And outside of this quality which is a surrender to the whole existence itself - there is no other so called "worship". In absolute surrender, there is not even a trace of choice left in it, it is choiceless.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:49 AM   #12
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ok so you dont believe in god i get it
is there anybody out there that does?
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:06 PM   #13
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"ok so you dont believe in god i get it"

It is not a matter of believing or disbelieving, one only believes or disbelieves because one does not know. You never hear of somebody declaring the belief in the sun, or a scientist running around declaring the belief in gravity. Because it is already the case, the very need to believe in it disappears. That is the difference between a belief and a discovery, a discovery is something which is rooted in reality itself.

It is not that there is no "God", it is just that all of one's ideas about it are just projections of the mind. The mind, by nature, is incapable of seeing anything else beyond it's own subjectivity and programming. And that word in itself is more or less meaningless, it will mean whatever one wants it to mean.

There is something that can be called "God", if you mean it to be a substitute word for a dimension which is birthless and deathless. But it is not something that can be understood through the small boundaries of the intellect, not is it something that is to be believed or thought about, but seen directly through direct experience.
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:18 PM   #14
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some more thoughts

This may help:

1. On the physical plane: Karma Yoga teaches subjugation of physical instincts and surrender of all actions to Ishvara
2. On the astral plane: Bhakti Yoga teaches subjugation of emotional swings and surrender of all emotions into love for Ishvara
3. On the causal plane: Jnana Yoga teaches subjugation of intellectual egotism and surrender of "I" sense at the feet of Ishvara
4. On the transcended plane: Raja Yoga teaches subjugation of mind modifications and being one with Ishvara.

Ishvara is not god, personal or impersonal. It is a perceivable version of the Spirit that remains imperceivable.

There is no qualitative grades to the four avenues of Yoga, as Shrikrisna said, "all are equal, like sons to a mother". The avenue one chooses is as per the need and predisposition.

(Wonder why the enlightened people don't just give some useful information or helpful guidance, on this forum. A need to argue and negate someone's views is a deficiency. May god help them.)
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