When you read this
will you stop for a moment
close your eyes
be here and now
be as alive as possible
Can you be focussed
Can you feel from within
Can you feel the thoughts
Can you hear everything
if you can then you are not here
if you here and now then nothing is felt
only the sound of the breath can be felt
and the expanse between the breath
there can be only absolute stillness
only the awareness can survive
in the beginning for 1,2,4,5 10 seconds
go on do it and you have lost to gain
no force is required
no strain is required
only the silence will change
This is awareness
It is so simple
It is so near yet so far
Only one thing is required you and you only
The inward attention is the source
Bhakti is termed as devotion the word in itself may look very simple but it is not so. This form of Sadhana is the most difficult and problematic one.
साधन रुक जाए
ना कोई उत्तर
ना कोई प्रश्न
sadhan ruk jaye
Na koi uttar
na koi prasan
(A bhakta becomes a bhakta then the sadhana of this path is followed in both the case the devotee and the medium both are removed from the path , there is no question neither is there any answer)
The nature of Bhakti is as such that it cannot be defined, described, analyzed or rationalized with any logic or illogical parlance. It is like asking a person to define love, how can you define love; it is felt from within and that is what bhakti is all about. Language is one of the crudest sources of defining bhakti or love, nobody but nobody can define or express love by the mere words of mortal.
When a mystic talks about love, he talks as if the whole universe is one sugar candy but those who are in that realm can only feel the essence of the divine nectar others will only see the words, know the words and nothing will happen. The ways of mystic may look illogical and his words may sound crude for he knows that language only but he also knows that words cannot and can never describe what bhakti is all about. The words loses it potency to express and describe.
Mystic Kabir only has said:-
भक्ति भाव भादो नदी, सबे चली गहराए
सरिता सोई स्रहिए, जेठ मास तेहराई
Bhakti Bhav Bhado Nadi, Sabe Chali Gehraye
Sarita Soi Srahiye, Jeth mas tehrai
(In the rainy season the water in the river reach a peak, the waves are strong but raise the river whose water is there throughout.)
People believe that spurts of devotion is devotion no it cannot be as it is like a tide, devotion becomes devotion when it is like a deep river which is filled with the essence of love for ages together.
In another place Kabir has said:
भक्ति कठिन आती दुर्लभ,
भेष सुगम नित सोई
भक्ति ज़ो न्यारी भेष से,
यह जाने सब कोई
Bhakti Kath~in Ati Durlabh,
Bhesh Sugam Nit Soi
Bhakti ju nyari bhesh se,
yeh jane sab koi
(True devotion is one the most difficult thing, dressing up is the most easiest thing, the moment source of bhakti is the dress the devotee loses all his devotion)
Narada Sutra says “Prakashate quapi patre”, when the true worth is shown then bhakti emanates from the source of the divine itself. Nobody has to call any one bhakta it becomes known automatically. This divine love of the divine force is manifested only on few blessed children Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , Guru Nanak ji , Sant Kabir, Devi Mira, Sant Tukaram are some of the devotees who were illumined by the divine light. They never went about saying what they are, how to do, rather people felt the source of energy in them and the divinity is still shinning and giving guidance to the world.
This kind of Bhakti does not have any characteristic; it is devoid of desire, more the time the more would be the radiance, the experience is subtler than the subtlest and only those who experience it knows about it. Such people lose their Guna (Satto, Rajo, Tamo) itself. They do not have any pre-condition or support for growth but they flow in the ocean of love.
Such love is beyond the concept of lust, it is not blind but pure awareness and thus it increases with every passing moment. The most beautiful thing about Bhakta is that they do not want to get Moksh(Nirvana) rather they would love to come back again in the same yoni to serve the Lord. It is such a desireless-desire, such is the love that a bhakta has, no lover in this world can have such love. A bhakta is the ultimate goal of all sadhana, Mantra, tantra and all the niti, and rituals.
He who is not able to reach the stage of bhakta can never ever achieve the state of
Tat, prapya, tadevavlokayati
tadeva shrinoti, tadeva chintayati. (Narad Sutra)
Only those who has reached it can hear it, talk about it and think only about it. It is the absolute state of bliss. He can know nothing other than the bliss talk about the bliss, sing about the bliss, dance about the bliss, think about the bliss such a bhakti is done by bhakta.
Now how many forms of Bhakti are there:- Sattvic, Rajasic, Tamasic and the Paishachika.
It is crucial to understand that bhakti as described can never come under any of these categories but it is beyond it and is called the para-bhakti(desireless bhakti)
Sattvic Bhakti: Such a devotee wants moksha (nirvana)
Rajasic Bhakti:- Fame, wealth, immortality
Tamasic Bhakti: Bhakti done for harming others.
Paishachika:- Bhakti done for acquiring relief from distress, wealth, curiosity
If looking at the hierarchy of bhakti from above then Parabhakti is the supreme then Sattvic bhakti comes, then Rajasic and then Tamasic bhakti comes. There is only a subtle difference between Tamasic and Paishachika bhakti.
Normally people take sadhana for the Tri-Guna (Sattvic, rajasic, Tamasic) only and with small pleasures they feel that they have achieved what is called the Param-chaitanya(true awareness). Such bhakti being driven by the force of desire forms a knot and thus all their efforts are blocked by the normal human tendencies of acquiring, jealousy, anger, sadness. Pure Bhakti on the other is the doorway to Satchitananda; Sat is the experience, Chit the pure awareness and Ananda means pure bliss.
A bhakta does not care for the world, he has dropped everything that is material even fame, wealth, food all become a part of his achetan awastha (unconscious state of mind).
Dekh meri aakon mein
nasha hai us jahan ka
jhoom rah hoon main
pag ko pata nahin
kahan hain rakhne
har kan mein hai woh
kaise rakhoo pao
(Look in my eyes, I am drunk with wine of the other world, I am dancing without knowing where to keep my foot, everywhere he is, how to put my foot on him)
A bhakta is always intoxicated by the nectar of love; he is beyond all the knowledge that is there in this world, he is even beyond the world itself. Desirables of a would be bhakta (it is impossible to categorize this but some conditional de-conditions are good to be known)
No attachment to the worldly desires, till time he has not reached a stage of knowing himself he should do his duties as per the norms of the society and culture. But remember to be detached from results of such karma.
Attachment to the physical beauty of men/ women, riches of people,
All the Tamo gunas have to be shunned be it Ego, anger, pride, sense of self, lust. Difficult, I know but everyone should strive to achieve this. Another is surrendering all these at the feet of the Lord will ease you, but the surrendering should be total and not an act of showing.
Free yourself of the responsibilties as this would be the biggest obstacles for your progress in this path
Start loving yourself as a servant of the Lord, then start loving the beings around you. Love is the true source for bhakti, spread the message of love, this love has not to be in words, not in silence but from the very core of you. This love will have the essence of the divine force, the more you are able to spread the love the more you become part of the whole divine creation called Bhakti. Understand one that love does not mean to be in constant tears this is emotion which is physical but when the person loves from heart the tears are more of happiness and you can feel the truthfulness in them.
jnana karma yoga dharme
nahe Devo vasa
(Follow any path of philosophical knowledge, karmic activity or Yoga to control the senses one may be never be able to satisfy the Lord, only devotional love is the path for the satisfaction of the Lord)
Practice of Bhakti falls under nine categories:-
1) Shravana (Hearing): From the ancient period, teachers of various religions have composed bhajans, kirtans, hymns and psalms for achieving the Bhakti Yoga. One is able to gain perfection in these hymns through the grace of the great souls who have composed them or through the direct blessing of the Lord. The later is really difficult in modern times; you have to become a child to a mother to gain it like Swami Ramakrishna Paramhamsa received from Mother Kali.
For other people a medium is required to gain knowledge into the hymns and psalms. Bhakta gets guidance by the grace of his guru or some great soul, Dhruva, Prahlada etc. obtain perfection through the guidance and grace of sage Narada himself.
It is again very difficult to find great souls so easily, but once you are able to find such a soul then the influence of such a soul is very subtle.
Can this be achieved on one’s own effort; no it is really not possible as you would be requiring a person to guide you. Realization is only possible through a Guru or Lord, A Guru who is realized can give you realization. Now how can you know such a person is realized, you cannot, you have to search and if your search is a true one then you would meet such a person.
You can take any path or practices which you feel can give the grace of the Lord, see nothing there is no limit to the kindness of the Lord and all the efforts of ours should be in getting worthy of his grace. One thing is for sure that all the evil company should be shunted out.
2) Kirtana (Praying):- It can be achieved by singing the glories the lord (Bhajans) without any interruption. Continuously sing the praise of the Lord day in day out without any attached desire to get any result and with regular prayer you would be able to reach the perfection in devotion. Such a devotee would see that whatever he does is nothing but the work of the God himself and whatever he gets in return is also of the Lord.
3) Smarana (Remembering): Do not give up your daily activity but include one more thing in all the activity you do, that is remembering the name of the Lord. Only when such a situation is created then only he sees the presence of the lord in all his activities.
4) Padasevana (resorting to the feet):- Once a Bhakta is able to find such a Guru then he should not worry about his materialistic-wealth, he should be more into knowing the self in a better manner. Once the bondage of the worldly things are abandoned then his mind becomes tranquil and devoid of any passion. He gets true benefit by being in the company of Saints and sages.
5) Archana(Worship):- A bhakta should be living (inwardly) in a lonely and pure place, and he should be free from all his desires, responsibility and should have only one thought and that is love of the Lord.
6) Namaskara (Bowing):- A bhakta gives up all the results from his karma and transcends the path of selfish pursuits. Such a person will bow down and move ahead from all the rites and rituals prescribed by the Holy Scriptures. His only ambition would be to know the divine it in fullest glory.
In Bible Jesus answered Mathew on the question “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”
Love the Lord
thy God with all your heart
with all your soul,
with all your mind.
The second being
Love your neighbor as yourself.
First part is Bhakti yoga while the later is Karma Yoga.
7) Dasya (Service):- A bhakta does dual things one he himself goes beyond the maya and he is able to carry the world also beyond the realm of Maya (illusory world). This is a big service that he does to the society.
8) Sneham (Friendship):- Now is the most beautiful term that most of our Bhakti yoga scriptures start with; in Sanskrit the word is ‘Athato’. This ‘Now’ is very important as it represents the stage after which a bhakta has to move. The bhakta after reaching the peak automatically transforms his life. His thirst for knowledge is greater and deep, even a syllable will have immense effect on such a person. Such people have already conquered their weakness and have transcended the path into the realm of knowing the unknown, only such people would be able to put such knowledge in to practical purpose.
Bhakti being such a perfect love for them, every event would be a experience of meeting the divine again and again. Try explaining in words and you shall fail in the effort itself as there is no difference between the Bhakta and Swaroopa i.e. the devotee and the Lord. They are one and the only difference you find is the term used by the devotee for Lord is ‘So’ or him and he is ‘Ham’ i.e. I so the beautiful mantra SOHAM is there.
9) Atmanivedana (surrender of the self):- Once you become one with the Lord it is like drowning in the ocean. At this juncture nothing is his as he is like a empty vessel which is filled with the divinity. Such a person is nothing more than a vessel of the Lord and whatever he does is actually the work of the Lord. Such a person is highly evolved yet for the worldly people he would be insane or having some mental problems. He would be doing such behaviors that people will feel astonished or fear them but something about such people would attract them also. ~ Maitreya Rudrabhayananda
Source : Atmasanchaya Dhwani