Hidden Treasures of the East - Bhakti Yoga
Exploring the true meaning of yoga’s gifts to the West
Bhakti Yoga is one of the four main yogic paths to enlightenment. Bhakti is a Sanskrit term, simply meaning devotion to the Divine, from the root ‘Bhaj’ as devotion. Bhakti is the way of the heart and the path of
Bhakti serves to unite us with the Divine, to reawaken the eternal blissful love that lies within each of our hearts. It is known as the most divine and spiritual form of yoga.
Bhakti dates back centuries. It can be referred to the historical movement of Kirtan, dance and teachings that blossomed during the 14th and 15th centuries in the East. It is also tied to the mystical traditions within Tantra and the devotional texts, sutras and songs of spiritual mystics and poets such as Rumi and Kabir; their heart realisations and offerings are dedicated to the tending of the fire devotion and liberating the power of love as a living Bhakti.
Practices of Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti Yoga is a very powerful tool for the generation and expression of love ‘Prem’ without boundaries, known as universal love. With an open and loving heart, one can experience universal spiritual energy, or the concept of oneness. The common practices of Bhakti Yoga include chanting and meditating on mantras, maintaining an altar, writing poetry, contemplation and prayer.
Connecting to our mind, heart and consciousness through chanting mantras connects us to faith. Faith is the natural outcome of acceptance. Once there is faith, then remembrance will follow:
a link between the lower self and the higher self in the form of a mantra. Mantra is that force which liberates the mind, without identifying with it.
Process of Bhakti Yoga
To experience the feelings of joy, bliss, love and oneness, we transform into the various stages of Bhakti Yoga and draw upon these energies into everyday life.
First, we seek to encounter the truth, learning to live without a mask, discovering who we really are, what our true nature is. Next, we find a way to identify with positive and uplifting divine qualities and affirmations, finding perspective with awareness. We adopt the teachings of the sacred texts, so they become a relevant philosophy, a way of life. We accept reality as it exists without adjusting it to suit ourselves. Accepting it is an ongoing process and having faith that every step in life is exactly where we are meant to be right now.
Living life with an attitude of grace and realising the entire creation is an expression of the Divine, we start to experience contentment, being in balance, oneness. This becomes a dominant quality. There is inner stability, living in one’s true nature.
Bhakti Yoga: The Yoga of Devotion
The ultimate aim of Bhakti is to merge oneself in the ocean of Divine love through the process of devotion, becoming established in the state of pure love.
“And of all Yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me—he is the most intimately united with Me in Yoga and is the highest of all” Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 6 Mantra 47