Bhakti Yoga : The Nature of Devotion
8 Apr 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Bhakti Yoga: The Nature of Devotion
Bhakti yoga is one of yogic paths revered throughout history that can lead us to full awareness of our true nature. Other paths to self-realization are Hatha yoga that transforms the individual consciousness through a practice that begins in the body); Jnana yoga (inner knowledge and insight); Karma yoga (skill in action); Kriya yoga (energy workout); and Raja yoga (internal yoga – dharana, dhyana, samadhi of the eight-limbed path also known as the classical yoga of Patanjali).
Bhakti Yoga is the Path of Devotion
What Does Bhakti Yoga Mean?
The Sanskrit word Bhakti comes from the root ‘Bhaj’, which means “to adore or worship God.” Bhakti yoga has been called “love for love’s sake” and “union through love and devotion.” As a yogic prospective, it originates from ‘Bhaava’ (feeling or sense) which is connected to heart and soul.
Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion among different types of yoga. In this yoga, a yogi is devoted to the God, Guru, higher self or the higher power, universe, the true self or any higher being in this world or the beyond. The detailed description can be found in the Shreemad Bhagvat Geeta, the most famous Holy Scripture. Simply, Bhakti means to love without any condition and doubt. When we love unconditionally to the God or any higher being or things for the purpose of spirituality, we can be in this path. It is also a way to be liberated as in other types of yoga. This yoga is the natural way of getting enlightenment.
A Brief History of Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti yoga was started in the ancient time from the dawn of human being. Bhakti yoga is mentioned in Shvetashvatara Upanishad and Shrimad Bhaagvat Geetaa.
The Geetaa, often called a “love song to God,” expressed the idea that it’s possible to move towards the highest goal — that of spiritual realization — by developing a connection with the heart.
In its purest form, Bhakti burns like a devotional fire in the heart. An early and extreme example of a Bhakti yogi comes from the 12th century, when a 10-year-old girl named Akka Mahadevi shunned childhood games and instead became a devotee of Shiva, the Hindu deity known as the aspect of destructive forces.
Broadening the Definition of “Bhakti Yoga”
Many modern Bhakti yogis believe that “the guru” can be found in all things. Bhakti, then, becomes a state of mind, a consciousness that involves embracing the Beloved — in whatever forms that takes.
The definition of Bhakti yoga can get unnecessarily complicated: It is path of exploring our entire potentials. “What I’ve always understood is that it’s a simple way to embrace the Beloved, the Divine, God, or the connection to other sentient beings on this planet,”. Simply Bhakti Yoga is a faith and belief. It is deep connection to heart or soul.
While practicing Bhakti yoga, it is in best interest of the devotee to create a good environment or aura around him.
This may be achieved by choosing:
- A clean and quite room for worship
- lighting diyas and incenses
- Bathing and changing into fresh clothes
- Applying chandan or sandalwood on forehead.
- Wearing a rosary made out of rudraksha or tulasi dal mala.
How to Practice Bhakti Yoga
The Beatles had it right when they sang “the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Bhakti is about making more love — putting it out into the world, not just in principle but also in practice.
- Saying “Namaskaara”or Naman is Bhakti Yoga – Just about everyone who has taken a yoga class is familiar with the class-closing ritual of saying Namaskaara accompanied by Prathanaa Mudra or Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) and a small bow of the head.
- Practice Self-Love and Devotion – In the deepest throes of despair, it can be hard to lavish yourself with love.
- Be Nurtured By Nature – Nature is a powerful reflection of divinity,
- Fill Your Heart with devotional Songs – In bhakti yoga, says naad power, music is medicine. And singing — a mantra, a hymn, or the name of your spiritual guide — is another way to treat an aching heart.
- Learn to Love Globally – Practicing Bhakti yoga means seeing everyone and everything as a creation of God
- Connect with the Divine – In its most literal translation, each and everything is connected to divine. Bhakti yoga calls for faithful devotion to the Divine.
- Practice Self-Love and Devotion – In the depths of despair, love can be hard to seduce.