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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