Bhakti Yoga, the lively feeling of oneness, is also known as a path of devotion, leading to self-realization rooted in intense love, and to a state of complete surrender to God.
Devotion to God is not a simple emotion. It is the result of intense dispassion and purity of heart and attitude. You should strive your utmost to possess the good qualities that are extolled in the Ramayana and exemplified in the life of Lord Rama. Otherwise, emotion may rise up in you temporarily to a kind of ecstasy, but you will not experience divine consciousness thereby. Devotion is a fruit which ripens gradually through the processes of self-restraint and virtue. Without intense dispassion there can be no real Sadhana for Self-realization.
Devotion has absolutely nothing to do with age, caste, creed, position or sex. Generally, the worldly-minded people say: “We will practice meditation and devotion when we retire from service.” This is a serious mistake. How can one do serious Sadhana after squeezing out all energy in working? How will you be able to practice the strict Yogic discipline in old age. Is there any certainty in life? No, the spiritual seeds of discipline and devotion must be sown in us while we are young, while our heart is tender and untainted. Then only will it strike a deep root, blossom forth and bear fruit when we become old and retire. Only then can we bravely face the god of death and meet him with a smile!
Surrender to GodEssence of Devotion
The only way to be always happy is to submit to God’s will and leaving everything to Him, to be contented in the condition in which He places us. Surrender means inner contentment and peace. It means giving up the ego-sense. Until the ego-sense is completely eliminated, we cannot realize God.
Self-surrender means that we throw the whole burden of life, our anxieties and sorrows on the Supreme Lord who is the Master of all, and keep our mind filled with calmness and peace that comes from His constant remembrance.
Anandamayi Maa Says:
In order to advance towards Self-realization, it is necessary for an aspirant must yearn constantly for his sublime goal. He should practice sadhana regularly, whether he feels in a mood for it or not.
Whether it pleases you or not, you will have to make the Eternal your constant companion, just like a remedy that has got to be taken. Without loving God, you will not get anywhere. Remember this at all times
Again “If you are able to love God really — This is the consummation of all love”
Bhakti is a state of heart that is full of love, devotion, and surrender. Many experience Bhakti Yoga through:
- Chanting and devotional or prayerful singing
- Being a faithful servant to God
- Ceremonial expression of gratitude
- Worship of a divine image
- Appreciating the wonder and beauty of nature, seeing it as a manifestation of the Divine
- Japa or keeping an unbroken remembrance of God (Rosary)
These activities provide a concrete way to acknowledge that Divinity is everywhere and in everything. For everyone, Bhakti Yoga teaches us that love is one’s very own nature, not just an emotion
Papa Swami Ramdas Says:
Be simple, egoless, and innocent like a child and have entire trust in Him (God), and He is yours. Have His name on your lips. Make your heart His throne. Your life be like a fragrant flower at His feet. Throw your pride to the dust by becoming humble.
God is within you. You are ever face to face with Him. And it is He within you that animates your existence and actuates all your work. Knowing that you are eternally one with Him, be still His servant and child
Our contact with God must be made stronger and stronger so that every moment, we will be able to remember Him with intensity so that nothing in the world will pull us down.
Meera Bai sings:
Nothing is really mine except Krishna.
O my parents, I have searched the world
And found nothing worthy of love.
Hence I am a stranger amidst my kinfolk
And an exile from their company,
Since I seek the companionship of holy men;
There alone do I feel happy,
In the world I only weep.
I planted the creeper of love
And silently watered it with my tears;
Now it has grown and overspread my dwelling.
You offered me a cup of poison
Which I drank with joy.
Mira is absorbed in contemplation of Krishna
Sri Rmakarishna Says:
Whether you accept Rādhā and Krishna, or not, please do accept their attraction for each other. Try to create that same yearning in your heart for God. Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him.
If one has faith, one has everything
Can you weep for Him with intense longing of heart? Men shed a mugful of tears for the sake of their children, for their wives, or for money. But who weeps for God?
God realization is the ultimate goal of human life as that alone can bring man supreme happiness and peace.
Give up doubts and churning of the intellect. Feel you are a simple child of the Lord and thus enter into His being. This is the easy way to reach Him. Do not perplex the mind with questions. Be humble, pure and cheerful, taking refuge in Him. Follow the straight and simple path of devotion.
Open the flood-gates of your heart and allow pure love, that is in you to flow over unimpeded to the holy feet of the Lord seated within.
Remember that God’s grace is ever with you. Benefit by its redeeming influence, by opening yourself to receive it and becoming aware of the Amrita Vrishti – a shower of nectar.
Devotion Ends with Bliss
In the path of Devotion, some churning of the mind or intellect may be there. But after some time, this process should stop so that the butter of Divine Bliss may be formed and collected. After the impurities are eliminated, pure and divine emotions rise up. Even this stage is passed when the infinite silence of inner peace is experienced. Here the rippling and dancing river mingles with the calm waters of the ocean. That is the end of all Sadhana.
—Glory to God. Om Tat Sat—
Bhakti”, says Nârada in his explanation of the Bhakti-aphorisms, “is intense love to God”; “When a man gets it, he loves all, hates none; he becomes satisfied forever”; “This love cannot be reduced to any earthly benefit”, because so long as worldly desires last, that kind of love does not come; “Bhakti is greater than Karma, greater than Yoga, because these are intended for an object in view, while Bhakti is its own fruition, its own means and its own end.”