BHAKTI YOGA;-- 04 FACTS;- 1-Bhakti Yoga is one of the four main yogic paths to enlightenment. Bhakti means “devotion” or “love” and this path contains various practices to unite the bhakta; Bhakti Yoga practitioner with the Divine. 2-Bhakti Yoga is considered the easiest yogic path to master and the most direct method to experience the unity of mind, body and spirit. While Hatha Yoga requires a strong and flexible body, Raja Yoga requires a disciplined and concentrated mind, and Jnana Yoga requires a keen intellect, the only requirement for Bhakti Yoga is an open, loving heart. 3-But Bhakti Yoga complements other paths of yoga well, and it is said that jnana (knowledge or wisdom) will dawn by itself when you engage in the devotional practices of Bhakti Yoga. 4-A personal relationship should be established with God. As one progresses, this will expand to cover everything. The personal relationship can be based on different attitudes (bhaava) like a servant of God (daasya), a child of God (vaatsalya), etc. TYPES OF BHAKTA;- 04 FACTS;- 1-Initially a person may pray God to solve the problem of material world;- Aarthi 2-Initially a person may pray God for success in the material world;- Arthaarthi 3-As the person matures, God will become the goal;---Jjignaasu 4-The person will develop detachment from the world and love God unconditionally. To start with a person may for a personal relationship with a Particular form of God;---Eka rupa bhakt (JNANI) 4-1-When the love becomes unconditional, the love will naturally transcend the form and become universal;--- Viswa rupa bhakt (JNANI) NOTE;- Chapter 7 of Bhagavd Gita explains about all these four types of devotees:- Bhaktas or devotees of God are of four types.They are Arta, Jijnasu, Artharthi and Jnani but the fifth one is different. DESCRIPTION OF BHAKTAS;- 1-ARTA(The distressed):-- 04 POINTS- 1-These are the people who are experiencing pain and suffering either at physical level or at mental level. 2-They are very much upset with their lives and have no hope on it. In such a scenario when they are completely broken and shattered with grief from all sides, they still have faith in GOD and He is the only ONE from whose side Hope is yet not gone for them. 3-They approaches GOD to get liberated from their pains and hence are called ‘Arta’ Although Artas are not high level of Bhaktas and their devotion to God is the result of their pain, It is still to be understood that in most difficult times of our life , it is not easy to have faith even in GOD. And hence if a person is able to keep his trust and faith in GOD even though in tough times- it is a good sign and the person itself is called as one of the devotees of GOD. 4-Arta is the distressed devotee who is suffering very much and who craves for the grace of God, in order to get himself relieved from pain and sorrow,Draupadi and Gajendra are examples of Arta-Bhaktas. When Dussashana dragged her before the court of the Kauravas and pulled her sari, Draupadi cried for Krishna in order to guard her respect. Gajendra called on Narayana when a crocodile was dragging him in water. 2-ARTHARTI (Devotees with certain wishes); - 03 POINTS;- 1-These devotees approaches GOD with the desires of material wealth, kids, name and fame. Although devotion of such people towards GOD is for wealth and specific desires, they are also termed as a Bhakta as because of any reasons they are associated with. 2-Artharthi is the seeker of wealth, who longs for earthly possessions, money, land, etc., in order to enjoy a happy life, and who propitiates God to get His grace to amass wealth. 3-The seeker after wealth craves for money, wife, children, position, name and fame. 4-Sugriva and Dhruva were Artharthi-Bhaktas. Sugriva wanted to drive away Vali and get his kingdom. Vibhishana wanted to put an end to Ravana and get Lanka. Dhruva wanted a kingdom where his step mother would not trouble and ill-treat him. 3-DIVINE JIGYASU (Knowledge Seeker);-- 04 POINTS;-- 1-These are the devotees who have faith in God and want to explore more about Him. They are just curious to know more about Divine and are very much inquisitive about BRAHMAN. 2-They read scriptures and other literature from saints and try to figure out ways and means to discover greater depths of infinite GOD.Jijnasu is the enquirer. 3-He is dissatisfied with the world. There is a void in his life. He always feels that sensual pleasure is not the highest form of happiness and there is yet pure eternal bliss unmixed with grief and pain, which is to be found within. 4-Uddhava was a Jijnasu. He was dissatisfied with the world and got wisdom from Sri Krishna. This is recorded in the Bhagavata. 4-JNANI (Self Realised);-- 03 POINTS;-- 1-These are the devotees who have finally realized GOD and have true knowledge of Him, His creation and the entire cosmos. They understand Brahman and are liberated from all Karma specific boundations of life. 2-Jnani is the wise, the sage who is satisfied with the Self, who is contented in the Self, who has no desires, who is freed from desires, who has fulfilled all desires, whose only desire is the Self; who considers his own Self as the All-inclusive God. 3-The Jnani is a man of knowledge who has attained Self-illumination. Suka-Maharshi was a Jnani-Bhakta. He was a Brahma-Jnani of the highest type. He realised that everything was his own Self. He taught the Srimad-Bhagavata to Parikshit 5-VAIRA BHAKTAS;- There is another type of Bhaktas, called Vaira Bhaktas. These Bhaktas are negative Bhaktas. They do not have positive devotion for God. They hate God and thus remember Him always. Hatred also requires a constant remembrance of the enemy. So these also are a kind of Bhaktas only. They attain salvation through Vaira-Bhakti. Kansa, Sisupala and others thought of the Lord constantly on account of their deep hatred for Him. Thus they attained Salvation. TYPES OF BHAKTI;---Navadha Bhakti or nine modes of devotion should be practised by all aspirants in the path of Bhakti Yoga ,as discussed Sravanam, Kirtanam , Smaranam , Padasevanam ,Archanam , Vandanam , Dasyam , Sakhyam Atmanivedanam . There are different means to develop and express love for God like;- 1-Singing his names (kirtana), chanting his names (japa), 2-Thinking of his deeds (lilaa smarana), 3-Thinking of his form (rupa smarana), 4- Thinking of his qualities (guna smarana), 5- Visiting places of pilgrimage (tirtha yaatra), 6-Serving his devotees (bhakta seva), 7-Serving the all the creatures of the world as his parts (paada seva), etc. NOTE;- Hinduism has developed a number of forms of God and a rich mythology about each form to help people to involve in all these. The aim is to develop mental renunciation from the world and develop an universal outlook of love and service. TWO KINDS OF BHAKTI;- Bhakti is of two kinds;- 1-APARA BHAKTI;- Apara bhakti (a lower type of devotion);- Ringing bells and waving lights is apara bhakti. A devotee who practises this has no expanded heart, is a sectarian and dislikes other kinds of bhaktas who worship other deities.Apara bhakti is further divided In;- A-VYABHICARINI BHAKTI (Insincere );- In vyabhicarini (insincere) bhakti the devotee worships God for some time-then he worships his wife, children and property for some time. B-SAKAMYA BHAKTI (desire motivated);- In sakamya bhakti (desire motivated) the bhakta worships God for the sake of getting riches, for getting a son, or for the removal of suffering from a disease. 2-PARA BHAKTI;- Para bhakti (supreme love);In para bhakti, there is no ritualistic worship, the devotee is absorbed in God. In supreme love the devotee forgets himself entirely; he only thinks thoughts of God. Para bhakti and jnana are one. In the end the two become one. A-SINCERE BHAKTI;- Para bhakti is the Sincere bhakti ( Avyabhicarini ). To love God and God alone is Sincere bhakti . Lord Krishna say: "I am not in my control. I am in the complete control of my bhaktas (devotees). They have taken entire possession of my heart. How can I leave them when they have taken entire possession of my heart? How can I leave them when they have renounced everything for my sake? He who seeks me in all things, and all thin in me, to him I am never lost, nor he to me." THE HURDLES OF BHAKTI YOG SADHANA;- 06 POINTS;-- 1-There are different types of mind. People have different tastes, tendencies, temperaments, inclinations and capacities for Sadhana. So various paths are necessary although the goal to be reached, i.e., Self-realisation is always the same. The path of Bhakti Yoga is open to all and is the easiest path for God-realisation in this Iron Age. Anybody can become a devotee. No distinction of caste, colour or sex finds a place in the realm of Bhakti. 2-Devotion has nothing to do with age, caste, position or rank in life. The desire for liberation alone makes one a fit person for developing devotion and taking up the path of Bhakti Yoga. Merits acquired in the previous births generate devotion in the heart of a man in the following birth. Liberation comes to him who is devoted to the Lord. 3-Bhakti is supreme devotion and intense attachment to the Lord. Faith in the existence of God is the foundation of Bhakti. Service of Bhagavatas, Sadhus and Sannyasins, repetition of God's name, Satsanga, Hari-kirtan, study of the Bhagavata or the Ramayana, stay in Brindavan, Pandarpur, Chitrakuta or Ayodhya-these are the six means of cultivating and developing Bhakti. 4-Bhakti should be of a Nishkamya type. It should be continuous like the flow of oil. The aspirant should observe right conduct(Sadachara). He should be very very serious and earnest in his devotional practices. These are the five indispensable requisites in the Bhakti Yoga. Then only realisation of God will come quickly. 5-The five thorns in the path of devotion;- Know that there are the five thorns in the path of devotion ,VIZ, 1-Caste 2-Learning 3-Position 4-Beauty 5-Youth 6-Beware of the two inner enemies, viz., 1-Lust 2-Anger Both stand in the way of developing Bhakti. Know that ten kinds of vices follow lust and eight kinds of vices accompany anger. Shyness(Lajja )for the utterance of the names of the Lord is also a great obstacle for the beginners in the path of devotion. Internal craving(Trishna) for sensual objects is quite detrimental to the growth of Bhakti. HOW TO OVERCOME THESE HURDLES?- 05 POINTS;-- 1-Have true, perfect, living, unswerving faith in God, in His grace and in the power of His name. Faith can work wonders. Faith can move mountains. Faith can take you to the inner Chambers of the Lord. Faith can make you Divine. Faith can give you peace, inner spiritual strength, joy, freedom, immortality and bliss. Therefore have genuine and living faith in the existence of God, in the scriptures, in the words of your Guru and in your own self. 2-God tries His devotees in various ways in the beginning. He puts them to severe trials and tests. Eventually He becomes a slave of the Bhaktas. Lord Krishna says, "I am not in My control. I am under the complete control of My Bhaktas. They have taken entire possession of My heart. How can I leave them when they have renounced everything for My sake only?" 3- God is full of mercy, compassion and love. He has been described as the ocean of mercy. His mercy flows like the streams of the Ganga and the Yamuna. He willingly suffers endless pain in the eyes of the world in order to alleviate the sufferings of His devotees. He ran with His Chakra to kill the Asura who was in the form of a crocodile, when He heard the cry from Gajendra, the lord of the elephants and gave him salvation. 4-Life is short and time is fleeting. Time is more precious. Remember the goal and the purpose for which you have taken this physical body. Struggle hard. Do intense Sadhana. Annihilate egoism, selfishness, pride and hatred. Consecrate (dedicate formally to a religious purpose)everything at the lotus feet of the Lord. 5-Strive in right earnest after the achievement of that great end of human life, the true essence of all religions-Devotion to God's Divine Prem or Bhakti, which alone can free us from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths and give us highest knowledge, infinite bliss, supreme peace and Immortality. THE PART & PARCEL OF PREMA-BHAKTI YOG SADHANA;- There are eight part & parcel of prema-bhakti,VIZ, 1-Prema yoga 2-God is love 3- A Proximity to God 4- To love man is to love God 5-Unselfish love 6-Intense devotion 7-The nature of nectar 8-Self-surrender 1-PREMA YOGA;- 03 POINTS;-- 1-Prema is intense, concentrated, pure love of the Lord. Prema brings the devotee face to face with the Lord. Bhakti culminates in PREMA. Prema is pure nectar. Prema destroys pains and sorrows. It makes one immortal and blissful and peaceful. It is very difficult to describe the nature of prema .You will have to experience it yourself. 2-We can cultivate it through japa (repetition of God's name), kirtan (chanting), satsanga (holy company), service of devotees and study of the scriptures. Repetition of hymns and so on will instil in your heart peace, joy, bliss. Sing the praises of the Lord daily to obtain the Lord's grace and dwell in him always. 3-We can educate our eyes to see God in all faces, to behold the divine form in all beings. Educate your ears to hear the sweet melodious kirtans (hymns) of Lord Hari. Educate your tongue to sing his praises and to utter pleasant, loving and truthful words. Educate your hands to do charity and serve the poor. Educate the mind to be cheerful always, to think of him always and to be calm. This is the true path to develop PREMA. 2-GOD IS LOVE;- 1-God is love. Love is God. God is nectar. God is prem. Bhakti is supreme love towards God. Bhakti is the greatest power on earth. It gushes (flow out ) from one's pure heart. It redeems and saves. It purifies the heart. Devotion is the seed. Faith is the root. Service of the saints is the shower. Communion with the Lord is the fruit 2-Bhakti grows gradually just as you grow a flower or a tree in a garden.We have to cultivate bhakti in the garden of our heart gradually. Faith is necessary for attaining God-realisation. Faith can take us to the inner chambers of the Lord where reason dare not enter. 3- A PROXIMITY TO GOD;- 05 POINTS;-- 1-Maya is the Lord's illusory power. God creates through maya It is maya that makes the one universal spirit appear as many, as embodied in multiple forms, and delights in the same objects, the false ideas of 'I' and 'mine'. Total, unreserved self-surrender to the Lord alone will enable you to cross this maya and attain His lotus-feet. 2-Bhakti yoga sadhana is to unfold ourself continually and to endeavour, continually, to get nearer to God. The more you unfold yourself, the more guidance you will receive and the more power you will manifest. 3-Truth is love. Love the Lord. Speak truth. Cultivate pure unselfish love. Rest in truth. Rest in the Lord of love. Make your heart empty of all other things. Then alone will God enthrone Himself in our heart. Equal vision is the test of God-realisation and the way to God is through the heart. 4-God can be realised through faith, devotion, surrender and meditation. Trust in the Lord. Surrender yourself to Him. He will bless you with peace and plenty. with Him. 5-Pray to God sincerely for strength and patience to bear pain, but not for deliverance from pain. Pain is a blessing from God. He employs it for our spiritual upliftment and emancipation. Be satisfied with any condition God places us.. in. God is nearer and more effectively present in sickness than in health.He is our unequalled, supreme physician and surgeon. 4-TO LOVE MAN IS TO LOVE GOD;- 05 POINTS;-- 1-To love man is to love God alone. Man is the true image of God. He is his part (ansa ). In the Gita you will find: "A portion of mine own self, transformed in the world of life into an immortal spirit, draweth around itself the senses, of which the mind is the sixth, veiled in matter." Love is the fulfilling of the law. The aim of charity social service, altruism, humanitarianism, and so many other 'isms', is to develop this universal love, to expand one's heart ad infinitum. 2-Theosophy ( teaching about God and the world based on mystical insight)speaks of universal brotherhood and tries to unite all through the common thread of cosmic love. Love is a great leveller. There is no power on earth greater than love. You can conquer this world even if you have one ray of this divine commodity which is absolutely free from even a tinge (shade) of selfishness. 3-Pure love is a rare gift of God. It is the fruit of one's untiring service of humanity and incalculable virtuous actions in several incarnations. It is rare indeed.He who possesses even a ray of this is a veritable God on earth. He is a mighty potentate. 4-True religion does not consist in religious observances, baths and pilgrimages but in loving all. Cosmic love is all-embracing and all-inclusive. In pure love no one is shut out from its warm embrace. It is wide enough to include the humblest of us, from the tiny ant to the mighty elephant, from the condemned prisoner to the mighty emperor, from the worst scoundrel on the surface of the earth, to the reputed saint. 5-It is hatred that separates man from man, nation from nation, country from country. It is pride and egoism that divide one man from another man. Hatred, pride, egoism all are mental creations-the products of ignorance only. They cannot stand before pure love. Just as darkness is dispelled by the penetrating rays of the burning sun, so also jealousy, hatred and egoism are dispelled by the rays of divine love. 5-UNSELFISH LOVE;- 04 POINTS;-- 1-None can live without love for something. Emotions are generally considered as a hindrance in perfect realisation, but only certain emotions are of a binding nature. Certain others will liberate the jiva (soul) from bondage. The conception of God does not rouse in man any binding emotion-it is pure emotion, without carnality or attachment. Love for God rouses the purest emotions; this is the significance of divine emotion in bhakti. 2-Love for God can never be the type of love cherished towards wife, children and property. There is much difference. How then does love give us liberation from samsara (worldliness)? 3-The answer is that ,Man is an egoistic entity. Ego is his only enemy. He feels he is entirely different from other things in the world. He is convinced that he is sharply marked off from the rest of the universe, by his physical body. He is sure he is only the body, even though he may try to deny this. When he says 'I' he always points to his chest and not to yonder tree. 4-"I am doing nothing. You are doing it through me. You are the doer. You are the enjoyer. I am nothing. Thy will be done." This is the highest type of love, this is divine love. Now the ego cannot assert itself for God alone is everywhere. Now the mind cannot modify itself into vrttis (or sense objects) for to him there is no object except God. Who is there left to be loved or hated? 6-INTENSE DEVOTION;- 04 POINTS;-- 1-Bhakti is the slender silken thread of pure love that binds the heart of the devotee to the lotus-feet of the Lord. Bhakti is the intense devotion and supreme attachment we feel for God. It is a spontaneous outpouring of love towards God. It is pure and unselfish. 2-Bhakti is sacred love. It is a higher emotion, with sublime sentiment, that unites the devotee with the Lord. It has to be experienced. Human love is hollow; it is mere animal attraction; it is passion; it is carnal love; it is selfish love. It is ever-changing. It is all show and hypocrisy. 3-When the husband is unemployed, the wife no longer cares for him; she frowns at him. The husband dislikes his wife when she loses her beauty on account of some chronic disease. You can find real, lasting love in God alone. His love knows no change. 4-Bhakti is the basis of all religious life. Bhakti destroys psychological tendencies (vasanas) and egoism. A life without bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste. Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. Bhakti infuses joy, divine ecstasy, bliss, peace and knowledge. 7-THE NATURE OF NECTOR;- 07 POINTS;- 1-Divine love (or prema) is the Brahmakamal (a rare, legendary & mythological plant of India )in the flowers. It is the rarest of all flowers and it is cultivated in the hearts of all devotees. Prema or bhakti is intense love, or the highest form of devotion to God. it is supreme attachment to the lotus-feet of the Lord. It springs from the bottom of the devotee's heart. In it there is no effort, there is only genuine, natural, spontaneous longing to meet God. 2-Just as a fish cannot live without water, just as the sunflower cannot live without the sun, just as the chaste wife cannot live without her husband, so also a true devotee cannot live without God-even for a moment. 3-Bhakti or prema is of the nature of nectar. It gives freedom to the devotee and makes him perfectly and fully satisfied. It takes him to the feet of the Lord. There are three things which are indeed rare and are due to the grace of the Lord. They are human birth, the longing for liberation and the protecting care of a perfected sage. 4-The man who, having by virtuous actions in previous births, obtained a human birth and a good intellect, is foolish indeed not to exert for self-realisation. He verily commits suicide, for he kills himself by clinging to things unreal. 5-There is no hope of immortality by means of riches. Such indeed is the emphatic declaration of the srutis (scriptures). The scriptures declare:- "neither by rituals, nor by progeny, nor by riches, but by renunciation alone can one attain immortality." 6-Mere giving up of objects will not constitute real renunciation.Real tyaga (renunciation) consists in renouncing egoism, 'mine'-ness, selfishness, anger, pride, desires and cravings. 7-People despise this Kali Yuga. But this is a mistake because in Kali Yuga we can attain God-realisation easily, we do not have to do hard austerities (tapas ). Merely singing the names of the Lord and by his constant remembrance will you attain God-realisation. Wherever there are satsanga (holy company),chanting (kirtan ), study of scriptures (svadhyaya), bhaktas, swamis and yogis-there is Satya Yuga (golden age)& God-realisation can be attained .. In all ashrams and holy places Satya Yuga prevails. Kali cannot enter there. 8-SELF SURRENDER & HOW TO FOLLOW IT ?-

14 FACTS;- 1-Self-surrender is complete surrendering of the self to God. Self-surrender makes the devotee feel the reality of divine grace and Lord's readiness to bestow on him help at all times. The divine influence streams into his being and moulds it to make it a fit medium for divine realisation and divine instrumentality. 2-Surrender and grace are inter-related. Surrender draws down grace and grace makes surrender complete. Surrender starts the purification of the heart. Grace completes it. Without grace the complete unification is not possible. Grace divinises your being in order that the constant inflow and inspiration can be received and retained. It is through divine grace alone that his whole being is galvanised(To arouse to awareness), rejuvenated. 3- We can realise the Absolute or the Impersonal by surrender to the Divine. Surrender is not a thing that is done in a week or a month.We cannot make total surrender from the very beginning of our Sadhana.The Chitta, the ego, the mind, the intellect and the soul should be placed at the feet of the Lord. Mira did this and so she obtained Lord Krishna's grace and became one with Him.

4-If you simply say without real inner feeling "HEY Krishana,I am yours'' ;this will not constitute real integral self-surrender. It should come from the core of our heart. We must be prepared for a radical change. We should not stick to our old habits, ways and motives.We You should not expect that everything should happen in the way we want. 5-The self-arrogating little ego persists and resists again and again. It clings leech-like to its old habits, cravings and desires. It wages guerilla war. It resists surrender. It demands certain objects for its secret gratification. The whole being should be surrendered.We should not think of using even the divine grace or the divine force for our own purpose. The irrepressible ego will assert in various ways and refuse to give up its old habits and ways. It will try to get everything from the Divine. It will totally decline to give itself to the Divine. That is the reason why aspirants do not make any substantial progress in the spiritual path even after doing Sadhana for several years. 6-There is no loss in self-surrender.We get from the Lord everything & enjoy all divine Aisvarya of the Lord. The whole wealth of the Lord belongs to us. Siddhis and Riddhis will roll under our feet if we become one with the Lord. We are freed from all wants and desires and cravings. The spiritually hungry and real thirsty aspirant who yearns for the vision of the Lord turns towards the Divine and is quite willing, eager and happy to consecrate his body, life, mind and soul at the feet of the Lord. 7-The first stage of self-surrender is only a firm resolve to surrender oneself to God or the Preceptor. A Sadhaka who has dedicated his life for the service of his teacher or the service of humanity or for attaining Self-realisation is not at all bound by the actions he performs, subsequent to his self-surrender. Self-surrender becomes perfect only after God-realisation. 8-Renunciation of the family life is the beginning of self-surrender. He who is endowed with burning Vairagya and discrimination and is really earnest for his spiritual rejuvenation can also do complete self-surrender even though he is in the world. In and through the world he realises the Lord by complete surrender of his entire being to Him. But it is only a very few who are capable of doing this. 9-Because, the worldly life is beset ( to attack on all sides)with innumerable obstacles and temptations and the aspirant finds it very difficult to attain complete dispassion in the midst of so many dissipations and distractions. Therefore, renunciation of family life makes his path easier and smoother. The seed is now sown. 10-Then the aspirant goes to his Lord or preceptor and falls at his feet. Now the seed germinates. He starts the service & as he advances in his devotion and sincere service, his surrender becomes more and more perfect and complete. His heart becomes purer and purer and gradually the light of knowledge dawns in him and he cognises the Supreme Atman, which pervades all and everywhere. 11-The actions performed by the Sadhaka after renunciation do not bind him, as he offers all his actions as offerings unto his Lord or preceptor. He does not do any action, which can be considered as selfish. Thus through service of Lord or one's preceptor with utter self-dedication, his heart becomes purified, and ultimately the Lord becomes his preceptor. Now he has completely surrendered himself to the Lord and he attains the highest intuition. 12-In the beginning individual effort is very necessary. When surrender has been complete, the divine Grace dawns in him and the divine Power itself does the Sadhana for the Sadhaka. The descent of divine grace and power take complete possession of his mind, will, life and body. The Sadhana goes on with tremendous speed. 13-Through self-surrender, the devotee becomes one with the Personal God or Saguna Brahman, just as through self-denial the Vedantic student or aspirant in the path of Jnana Yoga, becomes one with the Impersonal Absolute. The divine grace destroys the "devil (Satan) and his kingdom. 14-The aspirant must not do any action which he is ashamed to tell in public. If he does any action, this will retard his spiritual progress. This physical body and the mind are offered at the altar of the service of Lord, who is the manifest form of every being. Ultimately his mind merges in the soul within. The Sadhaka becomes a Jivanmukta or a liberated sage. ........SHIVOHAM...