What is Bhakti(devotion)?
Bhakti is the basis of all religious and spiritual life and is the path of Love and Devotion towards the Supreme Lord. Bhakti word is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bhaj” which means “to worship or devoted to”.
Someone chants name of the God all day and night. Is it called bhakti? Or someone visits temple offering prayers or Someone goes to tough pilgrimages whereas few spend good time reading holy books. Is that a bhakti? These are the various forms and ways of bhakti. So, in this post, I will try to write best on “What is Bhakti”
What is Bhakti? Bhakti is the pure unselfish and unconditional love for the supreme. Bhakt (devotee) is a person practicing Bhakti. It involves dedicated practices, self-control, mental and physical purification, ritual, and prayers leading to great experiences of Love towards God. It is far far beyond the love experienced in the material world. Love towards God is always undecaying and fresh every time. The more you are involved in Bhakti, the more you understand God within you. God is the creator of the universe and the beauty of all the beauties. When Bhakti arises, there will be some kind of beautiful event which happens inside the heart.
We all in human form are temporary, so love towards temporary will always be temporary. Whereas God’s existence is permanent, oldest, and newest also. God is the ocean of Love and compassion. And love for God is what makes you complete and eternal. And it is very easy to love God when interest in temporary materialism declines.
Surrender in Bhakti
When two people fall in love, they completely surrender their life to another. This is what makes their relationship very beautiful. They are emotionally connected all the time. The same happens in Bhakti also, but this is the LOVE for DIVINE.
Surrender (Aatma Samarpan) is that state of mind when you leave all your firm determinations. Whatever happens and comes your way is by the wish of the Lord. It is that state of mind when you surrender your mind, wit, wishes, desires, etc to the lotus feet of the Lord. After that, no question arises in the mind. And this phase automatically comes in devotion. You can surrender to your parents, master and eventually you start becoming like them. So, if you surrender to the divine, you automatically attain his divine qualities.
When you call out God, they listen and unite you with the divine elements and divine knowledge. We as children of God are dependent on them. Instead of having fear from God, we should have a love for them. They always crave love, not fear or any negative emotions. Like we claim things with parents likewise, we need to have those strong emotions connected with supreme beings.
Bhakti Yog- A gateway to salvation
No matter how much one frees himself from all bondages but there is something that holds us back. Only bhakti can free us from this golden cage we live in. There is no rule no obligations in bhakti because it is only pure love for supreme Brahm.
There are numerous ways to reach God, I am writing a few
Path of Wisdom or Gyaan Yog– This is for intellectual people. Understanding core concepts of Vedas and Upnishads and applying the principles in life is Gyaan Yog. But there comes a point when Gyan Yogi develops pride within themself that he knows everything. That creates a wall between him and the real Truth or Supreme divine.
Path of Action or Karm Yog- This is for people who are action-oriented and they achieve with their strength and hard work. In this path also, pride comes between Karm yogi and God. Because Karm yogi always thinks that I am the one who has done it.
Path of devotion or Bhakti Yog This path breaks the pride and makes you fall in love with God. Bhakti Yog frees one from all ego, hatred, and mental illness. Bhakti is like “Jitna shakkar daalo utna uska ras badhega”. This means the more you put your heart (sugar) at the lotus feet of God, the more you will know and come closer to God. His sweetness will never end as he is an infinite ocean of love.
Lord Krishna also said to Arjuna that out of all the ways, Bhakti Marg ( path of devotion) is the easiest and dearest to God.
Experience devotion in your life
Every saint has described the supreme in different ways on the basis of their experience. Because everyone had their own feeling or their own way of worshipping. Nothing is right or wrong here. Parmatma is infinite, so the bhakti towards the supreme is also infinite. Noone has experienced bhakti in complete form, that’s why we get different definitions of bhakti. That looks even more exciting because there is a possibility of finding more ways of reaching towards Supreme.
- BHAKTI adds sweetness to your life which is eternal bliss and remains inside you every time.
- Bhakti is far beyond any business of give and take like people usually do. I will do fasting and in return give me this. This is not bhakti.
- If you have blind faith in God, then have it like Gopi. Pure bhakti for Lord Krishna without any doubt in their minds can be seen in Gopi. Or have it like Shabri, who waited her entire life to see Lord Rama.
- If you can not have blind faith, you want to learn and understand with facts, then do that as Buddha did. He never asked to have faith but he invited others to come and experience the divinity yourself. Directly talk to God yourself.
- Bhakti is the medium through which connects the devotee with the Lord. Every moment there is an attraction to see your God in form of a picture, statue, or in the mind which is called Dharna in Ashtang Yog.
By any means, if you have love and inclination towards the lotus feet of God then you have got the fruits of Bhakti. Whatever you have experienced in your journey is your property no matter how others have felt God. Some saints say that there comes a point where devotee and God merge within and that’s the state when a Bhakt is completely purified and attain a place in God’s heart forever.
If you are reading this article, then I must say you have got the grace of God. May you get all the divine blessings from the top of the universe.
Please let me know your views on this post through comments and share your thoughts on Bhakti. I would love to read.
In my next post, I will write on the 9 steps of connecting with God also known as “Navdha Bhakti”. It is beautifully described in Shiv Puran, Ramayan, and Bhagwad Puran. Stay tuned for the next post.
You can also go through the post where I have written on Yam Dwar (place in Tibet ) which is the gateway to salvation.
Om Namah Shivaya!