Spirtual Awareness

Introduction

GURU Says- Love is the most fundamental drive of every living entity. We cannot be happy without satisfying the desire to love and we will not be able to perfectly fulfill this desire without permitting expansion to the most inclusive extent.

In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family and society. But the loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until he know who is the SUPREME LOVER.

BHAKTI is a Sanskrit term that signifies an attitude of devotion to GOD that is typically based on a number of human relationships such as BELOVED – LOVER, FRIEND – FRIEND, PARENT – CHILD AND MASTER – SERVANT. Bhakti is yoga path- its aim is a form of divine, loving union with the SUPREME.

Kinds of Bhakti

“God is love, love is God”

Bhakti is supreme love towards God. It is love for love sake. The devotee wants God and God alone. There is no selfish expectation here. Bhakti is the greatest power on this earth. It gushes from one’s pure heart. It redeems and saves. It purifies the heart. In Bhakti devotion is the “seed”, faith is the “root”, service of saints is the “shower” and communion with God is the fruit. Bhakti melts into wisdom (Bhakti yog) in the end. Two have become one now. It grows gradually just as we grow a flower or a tree in a garden.

Bhakti is of various kinds. One classification is Sakam and Nishkam Bhakti.
1) Sakam Bhakti: Sakam bhakti is devotion with desire of material gain. A man who wants wealth, practices Sakam bhakti. Another man wants freedom from diseases and therefore does prayer and a third one wants to become a minister and does prayer with this aim.

2) Nishkam Bhakti: There is no desire in Nishkam bhakti. A devotee is grateful to God. He believes that God has already given me a good position, good job, good health and enough wealth. Practicing Nishakam bhakti devotee’s heart will be purified and divine grace will descend upon him.

Another Classification of Bhakti

1) Apara Bhakti : Apara bhakti is for beginners in spirituality. The beginner decorates an image with flowers and garlands, rings the bell, offers food, waves lights. He observes rituals and ceremonies. The devotee here regards the God as a supreme person.

2) Para Bhakti: Gradually from Apara- Bhakti the devotee goes to Para-bhakti, the highest form of bhakti. This is the highest Bhakti; the whole world is the manifestation of God. All the things he touches sees with his five senses is God personified. All his actions are dedicated to GOD- his walk, his talk, his actions, his service all for God. So what he sees, what he does, what he speaks, is all God. With such devotion his ego is eradicated and only God remains. LOVE of God is easiest way to sublime the ego.

Types of Bhakts

In Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, Lord Shri Krishna said:

चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन।
आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभी।।’’

1. Aart (आर्त) (The sufferer): Aart is a Bhakt who worships his God when he gets entrapped in some sufferings in his life. In other words, he calls for God to seek his help to overcome all problems that surround him.

2. Artharthee (अर्थार्थी) (The seeker of worldly objects): Artharthee is a Bhakt who is a seeker of worldly possessions. He loves God until he is getting his worldly desires fulfilled by him. In other words, he seeks for the fulfillment of his material wishes via love for God.

3. Jigyasu (जिज्ञासु) (The seeker of knowledge): Jigyasu is a Bhakt who is the seeker of knowledge. He always finds an urge inside him- What is God? How he has created this Universe? Etc.

4. Gyani (ज्ञानी) (The man of wisdom): Gyani is the man of wisdom. His mind and intellect are merged in God. As he finds God in every single particle of nature, so he remains no different from his real identity and gets free from the vicious cycle of births and deaths, getting the wholesome wisdom. After knowing the all pervading nature of God, he always remains in feeling of gratitude. Of these the best is the man of wisdom constantly established in identity with supreme and possessed of exclusive devotion. He is extremely dear to God.

Five bhava in Bhakti

These bhavas or feelings are natural to human beings and so these are easy to practice.

1) Shanta Bhava: In this bhava devotee is shanta or peaceful. He doesn’t jump and dance. He is not highly emotional. His heart is filled with love and joy.

2) Dasya Bhava: Devotee has a “servant” attitude. He serves Lord whole heartly. He finds joy and bliss in the service of his master.
3) Sakhya Bhava: In this bhava, God is friend of devotee. The devotee treats the God on equal terms. Talk and walk together as intimate friends.
4) Vatsalya Bhava: In this bhava, Devotee looks to God as a child. There is no fear in this bhava, because God is his/her child. The devotee feeds and looks upon God as a mother does in the case of child.
5) Madhurya Bhava: This is the highest form of bhakti- the devotee regards the lord as his lover. This is Atma- Samarpan. The lover and beloved become one. The devotee and God feel one with each other and still maintain separateness in order to enjoy the bliss of play of love between them. This is oneness in separation and separation in oneness. This Bhava is absolutely different from conjugality of earthly experience. Earthly conjugality is purely selfish and is undertaken only because it gives pleasure to one’s own self. But in love for God it is because it gives pleasure to God and not for the sake of the devotee. In Bhakti faith is necessary for God-realization. Faith can work wonders. Faith can move mountains. Faith can take devotee to the inner chamber of the lord, where reason dares not enter. Japa, Kirtan, Prayer, Service of Saints, Study of books on bhakti and regular Satsang are all aids to devotion.

 

Nine modes of Bhakti

In Ramayan Tulsidas ji explains the nine modes of Bhakti, that’s called Navadha Bhakti (नवधा-भक्ति)

1. Sravan : Hearing the leelas of God
2. Kirtan : Singing GOD’s name
3. Samarpan : GOD’s remembrance
4. Padasevana : Service of Lord’s feet
5. Archana : Offering flowers to GOD
6. Vandan : Prostrations to GOD
7. Dasyam : Servant bhava
8. Sakhya : GOD’s friendship
9. Atmanivedna: Self surrender

According to him, self surrender is the last stage of bhakti. The devotee feels himself as an instrument in the hands of the lord. Lord works through his mind, body and senses. Devotee offers all his actions and the fruit of actions unto the God.

Three creeds of Bhakti

In Sanskrit we call these:

1. Tassyaivaham (तस्यैवाहम्)(“I am his”): In the first attempts in Bhakti, the devotee, the worshipper looks upon God as away from him; as invisible. He speaks of God in the third person. This is the beginning of Bhakti. It is like mother’s milk to every child of religion. Without having once fed upon this milk a man is incapable of making any kind of growth in spiritually.

2. Tavaivaham (तवैवाहम्)(“I am Thine”): In the second attempt, the devotee knows that, God is no longer distant from him; he is not a third person.He feels GOD is near and dear to me, very close to me. The first attempt was very dear and very lovely, but this is lovelier and much dearer.

3) Twamevaham (त्वमेहम्) (“I am Thou”): In the first attempt “I am His”: God is away off. In the second form “I am Thine”; God is face to face with us. He becomes closer to us. But in the final attempt of Bhakti, the two become one lover and the beloved, devotee and the God are lost in love. The true lover becomes one with him and unconsciously, spontaneously, involuntarily such expressions find utterance through his lips “Vasudev Sarvam”, “I am Thou”, “Thou and I are one’. Nothing less can I be”. This is the final stage of bhakti. This is called “Bhakti yog” which means the end of knowledge. Here does all knowledge find its end. Here the goal is reached.

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