Bhakti Yoga Is Bliss Coming from Devotion for the Divine
Bhakti Yoga is as simple as opening the heart to the Divine, Bhakti meaning devotion for the Divine. Through this yoga, the seeker invokes the Divine to new-make his life in His Light and Love. It is a 24- hour yoga which you can practice everywhere while you are eating, working, playing, sleeping… Mind steadfastly fixed on the object of devotion, it transforms your life progressively into divinity.
Self-Giving to the Divine
No Fear, No Impatience, No Demand
Bhakti signifies complete and unconditional self-giving to the Divine Force that is acting for your inner and outer transformation, without demand, without expectation of return.
Bhakti Yoga is founded on the belief that God knows what is best for you and if you trust the Divine, He will make sure that you are transformed inside out as fast as possible depending on the intensity of your devotion.
Never mind the time, for your obstinate nature will resist transformation and your ego will revolt against the Divine Will. But if you keep trust in the Divine despite the stumbles and the struggles, things will begin to change soon and finally, you will begin to live in an all-absorbing love for the Divine: no stress, no discord, no clash of ego with ego, life transformed from restless unquiet to unshakable peace.
From Fear to Surrender
Yoga Is Oneness of Man & God, in Love
All the religions emerged from man’s conception of a Power or many powers operating and controlling everything that exists in the universe. They control the galaxies as well as our lives.
So, in the primitive stage of our evolution, we feared them and to propitiate them, we began to worship them. With it came rituals, including sacrifices, to appease these powers. We thought that being pleased with rituals performed, they might help us fulfill our life’s desires.
As the evolution progressed, the mind grew sufficiently free to think on its own. Then, a feeling of awe came for the enormousness of the universe and the immenseness of the Power or powers that rule the universe. Amazed by the unfathomable mystery shrouding the well-regulated universe, we started thinking on the nature of the Power and with it the concept of God started evolving. Later, as the idea of moral good, evil and justice arose, God was imagined as a ruthless executor of justice who is dispassionately rewarding us for the good works we do with fortunes and punishing us for the evils we do with misfortunes.
The concept of God further evolved and we realized that God is more than an austere judge: He is also Love and Kindness. Things moved further as we realized through meditation going deeper and deeper that God and His creation are one, indivisible: God is living in us, living in all.
While striving to know Him more deeply, we started to worship Him with devotion, with a desire to surrender. However, the awe remained and so remained the gulf between the tiny worshippers and the colossal Power worshipped.
Realization further deepened and the external worship began to change to love. We began to love God as someone living close to us- a caring Father or a loving Mother. With it came the philosophy of yoga- the union of the worshipper with the object of his worship. The gulf was removed and the road opened for God and man get locked in a loving embrace. And Vedic Bharat exclaimed Soham: “I am the One, I am He.”
Bhakti Begins with Blind Faith
Blind Faith Precedes Spiritual Experiences
Now, in this age dominated by the rational intellect, the path of devotion is looked down upon as irrational: a kind of madness, a blind following that feeds on fanatic faith divorced from reason.
But what do the saints and the mystics say of devotion? They say that though those following the path of devotion start with blind faith experiences soon come flooding them. Many of the mystics had begun their seeking for the Divine through the path of Knowledge or Work, but when they finally stepped into the path of Devotion mystical experiences started deluging them, knowledge and work fulfilled in devotion.
Focus of Devotion
Divine Present in All Forms
The object of devotion can be anything that spontaneously comes according to one’s nature. But the object must bring a spontaneous devotion for the Divine in him.
India is known for her unparalleled tradition of spiritual plasticity and acceptance of the pantheon of deities as personalized forms of the infinite Divine as objects of devotion. What matters is the purity and the intensity of the devotion that particular form evokes in him for the Divine.
Love for All
Love Devours Division
The yoga of devotion is all-encompassing. When the devotion becomes intense the devotee loses himself in the beloved Divine and sees all as the Divine he is devoted to. For example, if one is a devotee of Lord Krishna or the Cosmic Mother, he sees Krishna or the Divine Mother in himself and everything he sees.
All Is Consciousness
Nothing Is Outside Divine
This is like seeing the Infinite in the finite. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsha, the great mystic and worshipper of the Cosmic Mother, experienced the all- immanence of the Divine Mother. Everything appeared to him as full of Consciousness-the image, the altar, the water vessels, the marble floor… all seemed pulsating, fully awake, dancing in the One Consciousness.