The word bhakti comes from the Sanskrit root(dhatu) bhaj sevayam means worship, adoration and service. This yoga prescribes prayers, chanting names or hymns of the lord and ritualistic worship as dictated by the scriptures. These activities burn our past karma and purify us to create a link with the Universal Self.
Dualistic philosophy is the cornerstone of bhakti yoga, which says Individual self and Universal Self are different. In this path, we treat the Universal self as our friend and we earnestly request him to help us in realization of the Absolute Truth. We can also worship our favorite deity by rituals prescribed by the Vedas and other Scriptures. To focus our attention in the rituals, we can make use of idol of the deity.
In Bhagavadgita, Lord Srikrishna says:
Mayyaveshya mano ye mam nityayukta upasate | Shraddhaya parayopetahte me yuktatama matah || – Gita, 12.2
Meaning: Whoever worships me with full attention and devotion, they are the best to attain realization.
Shri Patanjali Maharishi confirms this in his Yoga Sutras as:
Eshwara pranidhandwa || – Yoga Sutras 1.23
Meaning: Or by devotion or bhakti to the Absolute(one can merge with the Universal Self). The or word is used to suggest that this one of the strategies to attain the Almighty. Others are abhyasa (yoga practice)and vairagya (detachment from materialistic pleasures).
Complete faith and surrender to the deity is very important to succeed in this yoga path. Lord Srikrishna again says:
Sarvadhraman parityajya mamekam sharam vraja | Aham tva sarva papebhyah mokshayishyami ma shuchah|| – Gita 18.66
Meaning:Leave all other paths. Just surrender to me. I will release you from all sins.
So, in bhakti yoga the devotee need to completely surrender to the Absolute with full devotion to achieve realization.
What is the guarantee that realization happens by devotion? Lord Srikrishna assures this:
Ananyah chintayanto mam yo janah paryupasate | Tesham nitybhiyuktanam yogakshemam vahamyaham || – Gita 9.22
Meaning: Whoever worships me with full devotion, I will take care of him.
What more do we need? Let us engage in some spiritual practice from today!
Krishnam vande jagadgurum ||
Let us pray supreme master(Guru) of the universe, Lord Shrikrishna !!
Next Topic: Jnana Yoga: Path of Knowledge. Stay in touch.
Om Namah Shivaya ||