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What Is Bhakti Yoga: Its Sorts, Advantages & Apply Information

bhakti yoga

The objective of human life is to hunt the conclusion of the final word fact and join with the divine. Yoga goals to first carry us again to our true nature which is the soul (Atma) after which connects the soul with the Divine (Paramata).

There are numerous paths to attainment of the union with the Divine, nevertheless, the final word actuality is just one. Each particular person is presented with the identical set of property as physique, thoughts, mind, and coronary heart. Nevertheless, each human being has completely different character traits.

  • Some people are bodily & mentally very lively whereas others are extra contemplative.
  • Some people function extra from the center and are very emotional whereas others comply with a practical method in direction of life.

Therefore, there are numerous paths of Yoga for every character kind i.e. 4 paths of yoga:

1) Karma Yoga – The trail of motion (selfless service)
2) Bhakti Yoga – The trail of affection and give up
3) Jnana Yoga – The trail of information
4) Raja Yoga – The trail of the thoughts and meditation

People who find themselves emotional, loving and devotional principally comply with the trail of Bhakti Yoga. So, first, let’s know what’s the Bhakti.

What’s Bhakti?

Whoever gives Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or somewhat water – that, so provided devotedly by the pure-minded, I settle for ~ Bhagavad Gita 9.26

Bhakti originates from the Sanskrit phrase “Bhaj,” that means love, attachment, religion, devotion, and prayer. It represents a deep and intense love of the devotee for the Divine. Bhakti is pure, unselfish, and delightful, the place the devotee feels related with God in each breath, loving God with out worry or egocentric expectations—that is referred to as “Parama Prem Rupa.”

Bhakti Yoga: Union Via Love

We already know, the that means of yoga is union and the Bhakti is solely devotion or love for God. So, combining these two phrases collectively may give a transparent picture of Bhakti yoga.

Bhakti Yoga is a non secular path to liberation by uniting one’s Atman (true self) with the Brahman (true actuality) by intense love for God. It entails making Divine the middle of all of your worldly actions. Via all these worldly actions, the devotee builds an intimate relationship with God the place he sees the divine manifestation in all creation.

The key bhakti motion advanced in historic India provides rise to the trail of Bhakti yoga as a solution to liberate from the start and demise cycle. Let’s know extra about it within the historical past of Bahkti yoga.

Historical past of Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga is the oldest type of Yoga with its roots within the historic Indian scriptures like Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Bhagavad-Gita, and Bhagavad-Purana.  Nevertheless, it was solely after the composition of Bhagavad-Gita round 500 B.C that Bhakti Yoga was acknowledged as one of many paths to liberation (Moksha).

Previously, Bhakti Yoga was the point of interest of the widespread Bhakti motion initiated by non secular reformers of medieval India (800-1700 BCE) to revive and reconceptualize numerous non secular practices related to the worship of God by Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.

Main reformers of the Bhakti actions have been Shankaracharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Namadeva, Tukaram, and Jayadeva. Saints resembling Bhagat Namdev, and Saint ‘Kabir Das’ have been the supporters of this motion.

Main reforms of the Bhakti motion:

  1. Abolition of idol worship
  2. Demolition of cult and pointless ritualism
  3. Propagation of devotion based mostly on love
  4. Introduction of free will to worship God of alternative (Ishta-devta-Rama, Krishna, Vishnu and many others)
  5. The opposition of caste, gender biases in non secular paths
  6. Preaching unity of God and equality for all religions.
  7. Introducing new rituals of bhakti resembling Kirtan (at Hindu temple), Qawaali (at Mosque) and Gurubani (at Gurudwara).
  8. Propagation of chanting for attaining liberation.

All main scriptures resembling Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavata Purana, and Padma Purana have been propounded throughout Bhakti motion.

Right here now we have described bhakti within the context of varied Hindu traditions which advanced prior to now.

Bhakti In Context of Varied Hindu Traditions

Totally different devotees comply with completely different private God or Goddess based on one’s religion resembling Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Vishnu, Saraswati, Durga, & Sita.

There are primarily 4 educating traditions (denominations) or devotional sections in Hinduism based mostly on the worship of various deities resembling Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakti.

  1. Vaishnavism /Vaishnava Bhakti
  2. Shaivism /Saiva Siddhanta
  3. Shaktism /Shakti Bhakti
  4. Smartism /Panchayatana puja

1. Vaishnavism – Devotee of Vishnu

Devotees of Vaishnavism worship God Vishnu because the Supreme God. In addition they worship Vishnu’s ten incarnations (Avatars) out of which the 2 most-revered ones are Krishna and Rama.

2. Shaivism – Devotee of Shiva

Devotees of Shaivism generally known as Shaivas or Shaivities imagine in Shiva because the Supreme God. Shaivites pray numerous types of Shiva resembling Natraja (Cosmic Dancer), linga (Immeasurable) and plenty of extra. There are twelve manifestations of Shiva.

3. Shaktism – Devotee of Shakti

Devotees of Shakti (Devi) generally known as Shaktas worship Goddess Shakti in numerous varieties resembling Kali, Lakshmi, Durga, and Saraswati.

4. Smartism – Devotee of All God

The department of Hinduism treats all deities as similar is named Smartism. This custom follows two concepts of God (Brahman) that are the saguna Brahman and nirguna Brahman.

Sagun Brahman means divine with attributes like form, coloration, dimension and nirguna Brahman means the Brahman with out attributes. The last word actuality is the Nirguna Brahman; nevertheless, Saguna Brahman is taken into account a way to realize the final word divine.

A devotee can give attention to any deity resembling Vishnu, Shiva, Surya within the observe interval. As soon as the aspirant has achieved important command in his non secular pursuits, his consideration will ultimately begin specializing in the true nature of final actuality and he’ll attain union with the Brahman.

In accordance with this Hindu custom, temples should embrace all 5 deities (Panchodevata) as a private manifestation (divine with kind saguna) of the Absolute, the Brahman (formless, nirguna). This custom treats all deities as equal and the devotee can select any deity based on his religion. It additionally consists of different deities resembling Ganesha and Surya.

Kinds of Bhakti Yoga

Principally, varieties of Bhakti yoga defines by what number of sorts one can commit thyself to God.

So, There are the next 6 varieties of bhakti on which we will classify Bhakti yoga.

  1. Apara (decrease) and Para (increased) Bhakti
  2. Ragatmika (bhakti with out rituals) and Vidhi Bhakti (bhakti with rituals)
  3. Sakamya (devotion with wishes) and Nishkamya Bhakti (selfless devotion)
  4. Vyabhicharini (devotion for each worldly attachments and God) and Avyabhicharini Bhakti (devotion just for God)
  5. Mukhya (major) and Gauna (secondary) Bhakti
  6. Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Bhakti

1. Apara and Para Bhakti

Apara bhakti is the decrease type of devotion the place the devotee worships solely his favourite God by all rituals and ceremonies. This concept of devotion may be very slender because the devotee disregards all different types of God. That is rooted in wishes and ego.

Para bhakti is the very best type of love for God which is pure and with out egocentric wishes. A devotee loves God for the sake of affection and at all times need to serve the Lord with none expectations. Para bhakti acknowledges the transcendental nature of God.

2. Ragatmika bhakti and Vidhi Bhakti

Ragatmika bhakti is a free move of affection for God with out observance of any rituals and ceremonies. Vidhi bhakti is devotion which follows guidelines, rituals, and ceremonies.

3. Sakamya and Nishkamya Bhakti

Sakamya bhakti entails worshipping God to satisfy private wishes of well being, wealth, and different materials features. God grants all needs if the devotion is intense and prayers are finished with real coronary heart. Nevertheless, the devotee by no means will get final satisfaction and liberation by Sakamya bhakti as a result of there’s at all times a egocentric need and the love for God shouldn’t be unconditional.

Nishkamya Bhakti is the very best type of bhakti one ought to aspire for. Right here, the devotees love God with the purest coronary heart with none wishes and really feel his presence always. The divine grace bestows upon the devotee and he will get all of the divine presents (knowledge, energy and many others) from God with out asking something.

4. Vyabhicharini and Avyabhicharini Bhakti

In Vyabhicharini Bhakti, devotee’s love is split amongst household, materials possessions and God.
In Avyabhicharini Bhakti, the devotee loves solely God.

5. Mukhya and Gauna Bhakti

In Mukhya (major) bhakti, God is the first facet of devotee’s life. And devotee’s love for God is pure and spontaneous.
Guana (secondary) Bhakti is devotion as a secondary facet of devotee’s life and he loves God based on his attributes or Gunas.

6. Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Bhakti

Sattvic Bhakti entails devotion to please God. The seeker solely aspires for God and has no wishes for materialistic considerations.
Rajasic Bhakti entails devotion to hunt materials riches.
Tamasic Bhakti entails devotion to attain success by unfair means.

For instance, a thief praying to God for fulfillment in a theft.

A devotee ought to aspire to progress from decrease varieties to increased types of Bhakti (Para Bhakti) the place he loves God with none wishes.

Primarily based on several types of Bhakti, there are additionally several types of devotee (Bhakt).

Kinds of Devotee (Bhakt) in Bhakti

4 varieties of males start to render devotional service unto me (God) — the distressed, the inquisitive, the seeker of fabric wealth, and the one who has already realized information of the Absolute ~ Bhagavad Gita, chapter 7

A easy analogy to know the varieties of devotee is: 

A river provides water to everybody, nevertheless, how a lot water you get relies upon upon your vessel. Equally, God has equal love for all beings. Nevertheless, based mostly upon distinctive temperaments of all people, every devotee has a special expertise of the divine love.

Individuals method God for various causes. In accordance with Bhagavad Gita, there are 4 varieties of devotees:

  1. Artha (the distressed)
  2. Artharthi (the seeker of fabric wealth)
  3. Jijnasu (the inquisitive)
  4. Jnani (the self-realized)

1. Artha Devotee

Artha devotees keep in mind God to alleviate struggling. When the issues get solved, these devotees once more return to their state of doubt in regards to the existence of God.

2. Artharthi Devotee

Artharthi devotees need materials issues like wealth, household, fame from God. Their devotion to God is for the achievement of wishes and desires.

3. Jijnasu Devotee

A jijnasu is curious to learn about God by inquiry and examine of scriptures.

4. Jnani Devotee

Jnani bhaktas are self-realized devotees who know the final word fact of life i.e. God (Brahman). They’re in contact with their divine nature and completely immersed within the love of God.

How Bhakti/Love Develops for God

Religion is the place to begin of affection and devotion. First, a devotee feels absolute religion in his God. Then, the devotee feels intense admiration and attraction for the Creator (God ). He will get drawn increasingly to know, worship, pray and love God. Step by step, all his mundane worldly wishes drop and he feels contentment and single-mindedness. As soon as that stage of devotion is reached, the devotee lives each second of his life in remembrance of God.

Within the highest stage of Bhakti, all attachments of the devotee with worldly objects fade and he feels attracted solely in direction of God. This results in a state the place devotee feels one with God.

There are 9 phases during which devotion (Bhakti) develops in Bhakti yoga in an individual.

9 Stage Course of for Growing Devotion to God

  1. Shraddha – Religion
  2. Satsanga – Affiliate with devotees and spiritually superior folks
  3. Bhajana-kriya – Carry out and take part in devotional service
  4. Anartha-nivrttih – Turn into free from undesirable materials wishes
  5. Nishta – Stability in devotional observe
  6. Ruchi – Develop a style for bhakti
  7. Asakti – Develop attachment to God
  8. Bhava – Feels numerous feelings of affection for God
  9. Prema – Pure love for Krishna.

In accordance with Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the method of Bhakti Yoga is defined as below:

Bhakti begins with a need to know God. To start with, there have to be religion. Then a devotee begins associating with Saints and Sages to advance in his non secular journey. Thereafter, a devotee turns into initiated by a non secular grasp below whose steerage he performs all devotional service. Via devotional service, the devotee’s coronary heart is purified and he turns into free from pointless materials wishes. As soon as a devotee turns into free from wishes, his consideration on God turns into regular which helps him to additional develop a style for listening to and speaking about God.

Step by step, the devotee turns into connected to God and he begins feeling completely different sorts of feelings of affection for God. That is the preliminary stage of pure love for God.
Lastly, a devotee reaches the ultimate stage of Bhakti the place he feels one with the Divine. That is stage of pure love for God generally known as Prema.

5 Feelings of Bhakti

In relation to observe Bhakti yoga, the very first thing pops up within the thoughts the is our feelings. In devotion, an individual has the next 5 sorts of feelings which performs an important function within the observe of bhakti-yoga.

  1. Shanta – Peaceable emotion
  2. Dasya – Servant devotee
  3. Sakhya – Good friend Angle
  4. Vatsalya – Motherly emotion
  5. Madhurya – Beloved emotion

These feelings (bhavas) symbolize completely different psychological attitudes which a devotee can take whereas experiencing his relationship with God. A devotee can love God like a pal, a loyal servant, a loving mom, and a beloved.

Apply Bhakti yoga in whichever emotion fits your temperament.

1. Shanta Bhava

The devotee is calm, poised and peaceable. He doesn’t exhibit many feelings, nevertheless, his coronary heart is stuffed with intense devotion. He silently and peacefully loves God along with his coronary heart full of affection and pleasure.

Instance: Bhishma. All renunciants have Shanta Bhava.

2. Dasya Bhakta (Devotee)

When a devotee aspires to serve God whole-heartedly with a servant perspective, this is called Dasya Bhav.

Instance: Sri Hanuman used to serve Lord Rama whole-heartedly like a trustworthy servant. He discovered pleasure and bliss within the service of his Grasp Within the holy metropolis of Ayodhya, the overwhelming majority of individuals worship God with dasya bhava. Their names are like Ram Das, Siyaram Das.

3. Sakhya Bhava

In Sakhya Bhava, the devotee loves God like a pal.
This bhava is tough to expertise as devotee and God are on equal phrases as mates. This bhava calls for purity, understanding, openness, and braveness to expertise a relationship of a deeply intimate friendship with God. This Bhava will be attained solely by people who find themselves very mature and developed in Bhakti.

Instance: Relationship between Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

4. Vatsalya Bhava

The devotee loves God as his little youngster. The devotee loses all fears and egocentric wishes on this Bhava as a mom can’t be afraid of her loving youngster. Nor can she anticipate something from a small son.

Instance: Yashoda’s love for her son, little Krishna.

5. Madhurya Bhava

In Madhurya Bhav, the devotee shares a relationship of the lover and the beloved with God. That is the very best type of Bhakti. The devotee and God really feel one with one another whereas nonetheless being separate. Madhurya Bhav is completely completely different from earthly love as the previous is selfless love for Divine whereas the latter is a egocentric based mostly on ego wants.

Instance: Lord Gauranga, Jayadeva, Mira, Andal and plenty of extra.

On summing up all of the feelings in Bhakti yoga, there are 9 methods to observe the Bhakti yoga for various sorts of practitioners.

9 Methods to Apply Bhakti Yoga

practice of Bhakti yoga - worshiping the god

Devotion to God will be developed in 9 other ways. A devotee can select any methodology from the information offered under, which fits him/her the most effective.

1. Sravana – Listening to God’s Tales

Sarvana is listening to of God’s tales from discovered and clever males. When a devotee will get absorbed in listening to of Divine tales, his thoughts merges within the considered divinity and loses attraction for the fabric world. A devotee ought to sit with discovered lecturers and listen to the preaching of the scriptures.

Instance: Parikshit attained liberation by this mode of Bhakti.

2. Kirtana – Chanting /singing of His Glories

Kirtana is singing of God’s praises with a pure coronary heart. The devotee’s thoughts is at all times inclined in direction of singing God’s glories and has no real interest in the worldly considerations. Kirtana purifies the center and dissolves the ego. Devotional music, dance, chanting and studying scriptures are all a part of the Kirtana.

Instance: Sukadeva Goswami narrated Bhagavatam to Maharaja Pariksit.

3. Smarana – Remembrance of His Title and Presence

Smarana means remembering God always. Chanting, listening to of tales regarding God, speaking to God, educating others about God, a meditation on the attributes of God and many others is all a part of the remembrance of God. The devotee’s thoughts continually meditates on glories of God, his virtues, Names and he will get absorbed within the love for God.

Instance: Prahlada by no means forgot Krishna regardless of all tortures from his father.

4. Padsasevana – Service of His Toes

Pad means ft. Padasevana is serving the Lord’s ft. Padasevana will be finished solely by Goddess Lakshmi or Parvati. No mortal being is bestowed with the fortune to carry out this type of Bhakti as God shouldn’t be seen to the bodily eyes. A devotee can serve the Lord’s ft by the worship of the idols in temples or psychological picture of God.
One other solution to do Padasevana is to serve the sick, needy and poor. By serving humanity, a devotee gives service to God.

Instance: Goddess Laxmi serves the ft of the Lord.

5. Archana – Worship of God

Archana means the worship of God. Worship will be finished both by a picture or psychological kind. A devotee can worship with exterior objects like flowers, candles, fruits or just by deep inner emotion. A devotee attains the very best type of worship when he considers all creatures as God and serves them as a gesture of service to God. God seems in all varieties. Serving the poor and worshipping saints purifies the center by the give up of ego and love of God.

Instance: King Prthu provided all his royal possessions in pure devotion to the Lord.

6. Vandana – Prostration to Lord

Via prayers and prostration to God, one’s ego will get dissolved fully, the Divine Grace descends upon the devotee and man turns into God.

Instance: Akura was deeply immersed in prayers of Lord Krishna all through his journey to Vrindavan.

The Bhagavata says:

The sky, air, hearth, water, earth, stars, planets, the cardinal factors (instructions), timber, rivers, seas, and all residing beings represent the physique of Sri Hari. The devotee ought to bow at the start in absolute devotion, pondering that he’s bowing earlier than God Himself.”
Lord Krishna says to Uddhava: “Giving no consideration to those that snigger in ridicule, forgetting the physique and insensible to disgrace, one ought to prostrate and bow right down to all beings, even to the canine, the ass, the Chandala and the cow. All is Me, and nothing is however Myself.

7. Dasya – Cultivating the Bhava of a servant for God

A devotee loves God like a trustworthy servant. Worshipping the idols in temples, cleansing the temples, serving the saints and devotees, and serving the sick and poor who’re types of God is a part of Dasya Bhakti.

A dasya (servant) bhakt follows the scriptures and acts based on the directions of the Vedas contemplating them to be direct phrases of God. He’s at all times concerned in serving the devotees, saints, and sages who’ve information of God. A dasya bhakt (devotee) aspires to at all times be with God in order that he can serve him whole-heartedly, win His Divine Grace and thereby, attain liberation.

Instance: Hanuman, worshipped Lord Rama like a loving servant. He would fulfill all his instructions regardless of all difficulties.

8. Sakhya – Cultivation of the Good friend-Bhava

Sakhya-Bhava entails devotion to God with the sentiment of a pal. The devotee’s relationship with God has the identical dynamics as skilled in shut friendships. The devotee shares a really deep and intimate bond with God.

Instance: Intimate friendship bond between Arjuna and Lord Krishna.
Arjuna was so near Krishna that the Lord provided Himself to change into his chariot driver and serve Arjuna and his brothers in numerous methods.
“Oh, how fantastic is the fortune of the folks of Vraja, of cowherd Nanda whose expensive pal is the right, everlasting Brahman of Absolute Bliss!”. Bhagavatam

9) Atmanivedana – Full Give up of the Self

Right here, the devotee surrenders every part to God together with his physique, thoughts, and soul. He considers himself an instrument within the fingers of God and therefore, there isn’t any sense of being or doership. Such a devotee loves God for the sake of solely love and doesn’t anticipate something in return, not even liberation. He feels solely the presence of God and his loving Grace.

Instance: king Bali gave away his every part together with physique to Sri Vamanadeva even when his non secular grasp was in opposition to it.

Advantages of Bhakti Yoga

After we comply with the path of karma yoga, it robotically develops caring nature inside us & with caring nature, one can benefit from the fruits of Bhakti yoga.

1. Much less dependence on the exterior world

A devotee is much less dependent upon the exterior world –relationships, conditions, fame, cash, and many others. for love and happiness. He has discovered an ocean of everlasting peace and love by his unselfish devotion to God.

2. Removes all doubts and fears

Bhakti removes all fears of the devotees, even the worry of demise as a real devotee solely aspires for the love of God and desires nothing else.

3. Cultivates compassion and love for everybody

A devotee has equal love for all beings as he sees the Divine in all types of creation. All detrimental feelings arising out of Dvesha (robust dislike) evaporate. He can’t bear negativity for any residing being even a toxic snake. He’ll preserve an applicable distance from the supply of ache, nevertheless mentally he’ll keep the love for every person.

4. Supplies emotional and psychological stability

A devotee stays impartial by the thick and skinny of life and sees the tough conditions as part of the method of non secular progress. A real devotee sees all occasions of life as drama and results of Prarabdha Karma (Previous life Karma skilled by current life). Therefore, when issues don’t go as per plans and wishes, a devotee by no means loses his emotional stability. There aren’t any indicators of anger and painful emotional outburst in a real devotee. He respects the opinions of others as completely different factors of view.

5. Dissolves the ego

A real devotee has no attachment and sense of possession for folks, possessions not even his physique. A devotee’s function of life to serve God and he feels an instrument within the fingers of the Divine. He lives in a state of absolute give up to God.
A bhakti yogi performs all worldly karma with none wishes as he has discovered the everlasting bliss and pleasure of the divine love in his coronary heart. He’s content material inside himself and therefore, shouldn’t be distracted by the facility of worldly Maya.

6. Present the power to discriminate

A devotee develops a capability to discriminate between non permanent happiness (Maya) and everlasting pleasure (Divine love). A devotee observes and passes by all aspects of the exterior world (pleasure, ache, magnificence, novelty and many others) with out attachment. He is aware of the ever-changing actuality of worldly happiness. Therefore, a devotee is aware of that the information of the final word actuality, Brahman is the one safety.

7. Purifies the center

A devotee by no means feels envious to see anybody extra blessed than him as he sees God in each being. He needs good for every person.

8. Improves confidence

A devotee is actually assured in him as he’s and he by no means tries to please anybody. He’s equanimous in all conditions and will get together with all types of individuals and conditions fairly effortlessly.


The trail of Bhakti yoga is best amongst 4 paths of yoga because it calls for just one’s religion for divine and, every part else robotically begins working then. It dissolves impurities from practitioners Chitta, and substitute it with love for the Divine self.

There are following advised readings if you wish to study extra about Bhakti yoga.

1. The observe of Bhakti Yoga by Sivananda
2. The Yoga of Non secular Devotion: A Fashionable Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras by Prem Prakash
3. Bhakti-yoga by Swami Vivekananda
4. Narada’s Approach of Divine Love: The Bhakti Sutras by Swami Prabhavananda
5. Bhakti and Philosophy by R. Singh
6. Bhakti-Yoga: The Yoga of Love and Devotion by Swami Vivekananda
7. The Nectar of Devotion: The Full Science of Bhakti-Yoga by Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
8. A Collection of Classes in Bhakti Yoga by Bhikshu

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