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Vidya Sagara / Our Tradition / Yoga / Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga

Бхакти йога

“Bhakti is the most important of the things that promote liberation. One of the definitions of bhakti is the search for one's true nature. Exploring the truth of your being is devotion.”

Shankaracharya "Viveka Chudamani", slokas 31, 32

The word bhakti comes from the root bhaja, which means "to bow down, to love, to be devoted." And this exactly conveys the essence of bhakti yoga. From the same root comes the word bhakta, meaning a person who practices bhakti yoga feels devotion.

Bhakti Yoga is the most natural search for the Divine, beginning, continuing and ending in love. One moment of fiery, all-consuming love for God brings us eternal freedom.

"Bhakti," says Narada in his explanation of the aphorisms of this teaching, "is uncontrollable love of God."

"When a person is imbued with it, he loves everything, always feels content and does not hate anything."

"This love cannot be accompanied by the thought of any earthly benefits, because as long as earthly desires continue, this kind of love does not exist.

"Bhakti is higher than karma, higher than yoga, the latter mean the end, bhakti itself is both a means and an end."

The universality of this path is as follows. One who is inclined to deep devotion and worship can walk the path of the bhakta, concentrating his whole being on the object of worship. This method can ultimately lead the devotee to the transcendental experience of all-consuming bhakti. With time and experience, such bhakti will become stronger and stronger and lead to transcendental knowledge.

On the other hand, if a person is not inclined to service and devotion and chose a different path of yoga, then this path will eventually also lead him to spiritual experience, which will automatically lead him to bhakti, since he will attain something that he did not know before. That is, the paths of people inclined and not inclined to worship ultimately converge.

In the beginning, bhakti yoga represents full concentration of attention on the object of worship and love. This limitation automatically disappears when devotion brings a person to expanded awareness and spontaneous bhakti arises from the very depths of his heart. He then realizes the divine essence behind all beings.

It is also important in the practice of bhakti yoga to worship without any expectation of fruit.

The Uddhava Gita says: "The worshiper of me does not want anything, not even transcendence, if I do not offer it to him, because desirelessness is the most direct path to liberation."

Lack of expectation is a fundamental aspect of bhakti yoga. This idea was summed up by the great Bengali bhakta Chaitanya: “I do not pray for the sake of wealth; I'm not praying for honor. Not for the pleasure or even the pleasures of poetry. I only pray that throughout my life. To have love and devotion ... to have pure love to love You."

Bhakti brings satisfaction to all desires. Christ said: “But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never thirst; but the water that I give him will become in him a fountain of water flowing into eternal life." (John 4614)

On the subject of humility and surrender, there is a very powerful statement from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It says without further ado: "Self-surrender to the highest (ishvara pranidhana) leads to samadhi."

Bhakti is necessary when there is a Guru. It forms the basis of the relationship between the disciple and the Guru. Without bhakti, the disciple is not receptive to the instructions and vibrations of the Guru's consciousness, and then the Guru will not be able to transform the disciple's gross nature into a more subtle form.

The path to perfection is difficult and dangerous, it is often compared to the path along the razor's edge: if you deviate strongly into one shape or another, you risk falling into error. It is the Guru who shows the disciple how to get around obstacles.

As Kabir enthusiastically said: “If God and the guru appeared at the same time, at whose feet should we fall? The answer is undeniable - we should fall at the feet of the guru, for it was he who showed us God. This would never have happened if it had not been for the mercy of the guru."

The Kularnava Tantra says, "The flame of guru devotion burns away all admixtures of evil thoughts."

Guru devotion is extolled by all the scriptures around the world.

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