By Dr. Rita Khanna
Bhakti Yoga is one of the four main Yogic paths to enlightenment. Bhakti is a Sanskrit term, means devotion to the Lord. Yoga means union. It is the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Self. Thus, the path of Bhakti serves to unite us with the divine and to reawaken the eternal blissful love that lies within each of our hearts. It is the most divine and spiritual form of Yoga. The only requirement for Bhakti yoga is an open and loving heart. One need only surrender all doubts, fears and worries to the Almighty Lord of The Universe.
“And of all Yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me—he is the most intimately united with Me in Yoga and is the highest of all. – Sri Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 6 Mantra 47. The ultimate aim of Bhakti is to merge oneself in the ocean of Divine love through the process of devotion.
THE PROCESS OF BHAKTI YOGA
Bhakti Yoga is a very powerful tool for the generation and expression of love without boundaries – universal love. The process of Bhakti Yoga is simple, just as the processes in Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga or Kriya Yoga are simple, but the aim is quite different from this process. The aim of Hatha Yoga is purification and harmony of the body. The concept of harmony of the body is quite complex, but the process is simple – Asana, Shatkarma, etc. The aim of Raja Yoga is self-management; the process is Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The purpose of Kundalini Yoga is to awaken the dormant potential; the process is Chakras, Mantras, Yantras, and so on.
In Bhakti Yoga, you have to recondition the existing human nature and channel all the forces that flow out to converge at a single point of focus. That point can be called God, the force of creation; it can be called Guru, the energy which removes ignorance and darkness; it can be called love, Prem. The literal meaning of the word Prem is to appreciate and be identified with something intensely and silently. In that identification there is absolute peace. There is not even the birth of a desire. It is a state of contentment, wholeness and fulfilment.
NINE STEPS OF BHAKTI YOGA