Bhakti Yoga – The Path of Devotion


It is said that the fastest way to enlightenment is by becoming a devotee.  Of course, this means utter and complete devotion with not a sliver of oneself left to identify with.  The way is to nurture love towards the object of Divinity to such an extent, that the love overtakes all, no individual is left.  And so the veil of illusion evaporates, allowing Infinite Consciousness to shine unfettered.

Developing this divine love begins with Shanta.  This is calm, peaceful love – it is not intense.  Then comes Dasya.  This is servantship – we see this in many religions where service to God is stressed.  After that comes Sakya.  This is friendship – where we are intimately with the Divine, and hold no secrets.  After that comes Vatsalya.  This is like the love of a parent for their child – it’s unconditional and there is no aggrandizement.  No sacrifice is too great in Vatsalya.  And finally is Madhura.  This is the love that drives one mad – all thinking is lost in this kind of love, and there is only the Beloved.

According to the sage Ramanuja, the following are preparations for that kind of intense love.  First is Viveka, which is discrimination of food.  The diet should be pure and holistic, and this includes who prepared it and how it was prepared.  The Jewish notion of kosher food is rooted in Viveka.  Next is Vimoka, which is freedom from desires.  Obviously personal desires have no room in a life of devotion.  After that is Abhysa practice.  This is having God as the singular compass of the mind.  Then comes Kriya, or work without seeking any returns for oneself.  The next preparation is Kalyana or purity which is comprised of Satya (truthfulness), Arjava (straight-forward-ness), Daya (compassion), Dana (charity), and Ahimsa (causing no harm to others).  After purity comes Anavasada, which can be translated as enduring cheerfulness.

Bhakti yoga may be the fastest way, but it isn’t easy because it means giving up everything for God.  Being a devotee means being beyond logic, beyond right & wrong, beyond likes & dislikes, beyond mind.  It begins with humility and blossoms into a kind of divine intoxication for the Beloved.  A devotee is not a push-over – just look at the deep level of commitment needed.  It takes the most courageous to jump with wild abandon fully into this path, and that’s the only way it will yield results.

Here are some yoga suggestions for Bhatki Yoga:


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