Monday, 5 December 2016

Bhakthi Yoga

Bhakthi Yoga is a combination of two words Bhakthi and Yoga. Bhakthi comes from the root Bhaj , which means to serve with attachment, here the attachment is to God.  Those who follow the path of Bhakthi are called Bhakthas.  Bhakthi can be broadly divided into two groups; Sakama Bhakthi and Nishkama Bhakthi.   In Sakama Bhakthi God is considered a wish-fulfiller and so these Bhakthas pray to God for the fulfillment of their desires or for the achievement of their goals or relief from their problems i.e. Dukha nivritti and Sukha prapthi. This Bhakthi is also called Sadhana Bhakthi. Here we have three divisions; God, Goal or desire and Bhaktha. For the Bhaktha, God is only a means to attain his goal or to fulfil his desires and so God ranks less in importance to the goal/desires. 

Sakama Bhakthas are broadly divided into two groups; Aartha Bhakthas and Artharthi BhakthasAartha Bhakthas are seasonal  Bhakthas who remember God only in times of trouble or crisis i.e. mainly for Dukha Nivritti.   At that time they intensely engage in prayer and other acts of devotion, only to forget Him when the crisis is over.  Artharthi Bhakthas are regular Bhakthas who remember God and pray to Him regularly because they think of God not only as a wish-fulfiller but also as a well-wisher.  So they continue to be devoted to God even if their wishes are not fulfilled, but their prayers are always with an application for personal gains or for relief from personal problems i.e. for Sukha  Prapthi and Dukha NivrittiSakama Bhaktha’s attachment to God is motivated more by fear of God and their attachment to worldly relations and things and less by love of God. A Sakama Bhaktha worships God in many forms, depending upon Bhaktha’s moods and needs and gives much importance to rituals.  He may be a religious person, but not necessarily a Dharmic person in view of his worldly attachments and material goals.

In Nishkama Bhakthi God is the end as well as means and these Bhakthas do not have a material goal.  Here in attachment to God there is no element of fear but only sheer love of God. The Nishkama Bhakthas consider God not as means but as the end itself and they also can be broadly divided into two groups; Jijnasu Bhakthas and Jnani Bhakthas. Jijnasu means desire for the knowledge of God.  His unqualified love arises from his knowledge that God is the only source of security and happiness which everyone seeks in life.  His knowledge of God feeds his love for God and his love of God stimulates his thirst for knowledge of God.  As is given In sutra 29 of Narada Bhakthi Sutras there is the relationship of Anyonyasrayitvam (mutual dependence) between the two.  His is still Sadhana Bhakthi only as God is his goal and Bhakthi is the path. As knowledge grows and ripens into Jnanam with God’s Grace, he blossoms into Jnani Bhaktha of whom Sri Krishna says in Gita:
-----ज्ञानी त्वात्मैव मे मतम्। आस्थितः हि युक्तात्मा मामेवानुत्तमां गतिम्।।(7.18)
(----jnaanee twaatmaiva me matam;| Aasthitah sa hi yuktaatmaa maamevaanuttamaam gatim.) 
In my opinion Jnani Bhaktha is my very Self.  For, he is set on the path leading to Me alone, with a steadfast mind and I am his highest goal.

Jnani Bhakthas have tuned themselves to the extent that they have become one with God, who is their Supreme goal. Their prayer is not in terms of asking anything but  only an expression of the Bliss they experience. Their Bhakthi is out of fulfillment and Bliss of fulfilment and this is called Sadhya Bhakthi.  Whatever be the experiences good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant, joyous or sad, and whatever be the results, through them all, they remain poised and peaceful with their trust in God and love for God unshaken.  If reverential love is the hallmark of Bhakthi, unconditional reverential love with total trust in God and constant remembrance of Him at all times is the hallmark of Jnani’s love. That is why Narada Bhaktha Sutras calls it परमप्रेमरूपा (paramapremarupa), nature of highest love. It also describes it as अनिर्वचनीयं (anirvachaneeyam), inexpressible in words and terms efforts to describe it as मूकास्वादनवत् (mookasvadhanavat), like a dumb person’s effort to describe a dish he has tasted. 

 Yoga has many meanings.  Here it is used in the meaning of To connect or to unite’; here it is connecting to God through love.  This is possible in Nishkama Bhakthi only where God is the only Goal.  Jijnasu Bhaktha is on the path of Bhakthi Yoga while Jnani Bhaktha is a Bhakthi Yogi.  Now let us see Sri Krishna’s prescription for success in Bhakthi Yoga  addressed to Jijnasu Bhaktha.
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत्।
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम्।।9.27
Yatkaroshi yadashnaasi yajjuhoshi dadaasi yat;
Yattapasyasi kaunteya tatkurushva madarpanam.
O Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as a sacrifice, whatever you give and whatever austerities you undertake, (all) that you offer to Me

To such a Bhaktha He promises that his welfare is His concern
अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते।
तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम्।।9.22।।
Ananyaashchintayanto maam ye janaah paryupaasate;
Teshaam nityaabhiyuktaanaam yogakshemam vahaamyaham. 
To those persons who worship Me alone, having no other thoughts, who are ever attached (to Me), I arrange for securing what they lack and preserving what they have (Yogakshema).

Sri Krishna also assures them that they will reach their desired goal through such Bhakthi
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु।
मामेवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवमात्मानं मत्परायणः।।9.34
Manmanaa bhava madbhakto madyaajee maam namaskuru;
Maamevaishyasi yuktwaivamaatmaanam matparaayanah.
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, and bow down to Me. having thus united your  whole self with Me, and accepting Me as the supreme Goal, you shall surely attain Me

As Jijnasu Bhaktha’s knowledge of God grows and matures, his understanding grows that Universe is not only created by God but is also pervaded by God and God indwells all objects of Universe.  This brings about a feeling of love for all objects of creation and he bears no hatred or ill will for any living being.  About such a Bhaktha Sri Krishna says
मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः।
निर्वैरः सर्वभूतेषु यः मामेति पाण्डव।।11.55
Matkarmakrinmatparamo madbhaktah sangavarjitah;
Nirvairah sarvabhooteshu yah sa maameti paandava.
O Arjuna, The Bhaktha  who works for Me, holds Me as the supreme Goal, is free from attachment and bears no enmity towards any living being, attains Me.

Sri Krishna gives the fruits of Bhakthi Yoga in the following verses.
मां योऽव्यभिचारेण क्तियोगेन सेवते।
गुणान्समतीत्यैतान् ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते।।14.26
Maam cha yo’vyabhichaarena bhaktiyogena sevate;
Sa gunaan samateetyaitaan brahmabhooyaaya kalpate
He who serves Me through the unswerving Bhakthi Yoga, having transcended the Gunas (Satvam, Rajas and Tamas), qualifies for becoming one with Brahman.

भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान्यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः।
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम्।।18.55
Bhaktyaa maamabhijaanaati yaavaanyashchaasmi tattwatah;
Tato maam tattwato jnaatwaa vishate tadanantaram.
Through Bhakthi he knows Me in reality, as to what and who I am. Then, having known Me in truth, he enters (into Me) immediately after that (Jnanam).

In short in Bhakthi Yoga, one -
1)    Cultivates unconditional  reverential love and faith in God.
2)    Surrenders one’s will to God, dedicating  all  the work to God. 
3)    Keeps God as one’s  Supreme and only goal, freeing oneself from all material attachments and worldly associations.
4)    Has no sense of enmity towards any living being, loving all as one loves oneself.

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