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What is Bhakti ?

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    The word Bhakti has various shades of meanings in different contexts. In scriptures, this word is used in two different meanings.

    The first meaning of Bhakti:

    Bhakti is devotion towards God. It is also love directed towards a higher principle, like Matr-bhakti, Pitr-bhakti, Guru-bhakti, Desa-bhakti etc.

    Three directions of love:

    One is love of goal which we can call “ end-love”.
    The second is love of the means used to accomplish the ends, called “ means-love”.
    The third is “ self-love”. This is not selfish love ! It is pure, unselfish love. Everyone undeniably loves himself or herself.

    Gradation of love:

    Love of means is least intense and love of the end is medium. Love of oneself has the highest intensity. If you logically analyse, I love various ends not for the sake of the end itself, but hoping they will give me comfort, security and happiness. So we realise that everything is loved for one’s own sake only ! So, the Self is the dearest.

    Three grades of devotion:

    Majority of people look upon God only as the means for various worldly ends. This is the least of the three.
    Few are able to choose God as the end of life. The end of life means the goal of life. God represents peace and happiness. This is more intense than the previous one.
    The highest and rarest form is, the Lord and the Self being identical, God-love is equal to Self-love. So God becomes the dearest.

    The second meaning of bhakti:

    Bhakti is the course of discipline meant to accomplish the highest goal of life, namely “moksha” or freedom. To convey this idea of bhakti as a course of discipline, the word Yoga is added. So, when bhakti means a course of discipline, we use the word Bhakti-Yoga. This is the entire course of spiritual discipline consisting of Karma-yoga, Upasana-yoga and Jnana-yoga to attain the goal of libertion.
    Each of these, we will analyse, in detail, as separate topics.

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
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  2. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Excellent!

    Dear Chitra,

    That was another wonderful article from you on Bhakti. The moment one says 'bhakti', all my mind conjured up was the divine one! But your explanation opened my eyes up to view it in every aspect. So one interpretation of bhakti is to respect and love......makes sense.
    It is easy to love oneself, but a very difficult concept to love oneself because God is also you..I guess advaita? One needs a higher realisation to do that in an unselfish manner. Perhaps one needs to practice Karma, Upasana and Jnana Yoga to its fullest to achieve that sublime understanding?!
    Looking forward to your further analysis on these topics.
    Thanks for all this.

    L, Kamla
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. anjana

    anjana Bronze IL'ite

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    Immense peace while reading

    Dear Chitra,
    Read it repeatedly and could grasp it so well. I always associated the word Bakthi with the Lord himself. Only little did I know that Bakthi also means going out for the' end result' and in the process the 'means also'.
    To me God represents peace and Love,yet yearning to understand that God and oneself are identical. I am sure you will help me out in that. I think that is the ultimate!!!!!!
    Love,
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    How do I thank you, enough, Kamla ?

    You are ever so prompt & loving !
    Yes, we are arriving at Advaita. Self-love is the highest love. The way you look upon God will determine the intensity of love. So, connecting the two, we arrive at the maha vakyam
    Aham Brahmasami.
    We will go to it, later.

    The Lord and the Self being identical, God-love is equal to self-love.
    Bhakti-yoga is the course of discipline which conveys the meaning of bhakti.
    It is the entire course of discipline consisting of karma yoga, upasana yoga and jnana yoga. This is because bhakti is the common atmosphere in which all these three are practised.

    We will go in steps, the subject getting more & more subtle !

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  5. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Why you?

    Dearest Chitra,

    It is not you who should be thanking me, it is me and others here who are like me and getting all the fruits of your learning and knowledge with a click of a button that should be thanking. You are totally selfless and are giving us all your know- how without any hesitation. Even if I imbibe a fraction of the knowledge you are imparting, I shall be richer and a better person.

    Love and regards,
    Kamla
     
  6. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    You will ultimately succeed, Radha !

    First, read my reply to Kamla. I continue from there.
    In karma Yoga, we dedicate all actions to Lord and accept the consequences without resisiting.
    Upasana yoga can take place only in the atmosphere of bhakti.
    Jnana yoga is discovering our own real nature & that Self-discovery is God-discovery !
    Thus bhakti is the entire course of spiritual discipline.
    To arrive at the third, remember the first two have to be gone through in stages.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  7. aishu22

    aishu22 Gold IL'ite

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    A request Chitvish

    Hi C,
    Read ur article on Bhakthi.It was mind blowing.I have request for you.Can you please post lakshmi astothram and other slokas that can be told daily.
    This is kinda silly, but can you please tell me which order shud we arrange the godess photos and idols in pooja room and how to maintain pooja room?


    Thanks in advance.
    Regards
    Aishu
     
  8. Preethi

    Preethi Gold IL'ite

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    Need your help for my Enlightenment!

    Dear Chitra,

    I read your article on Bakthi, It's a good post but I am not able to understand it fully, frankly speaking....

    I have lots of questions running in my mind now about Bakthi, let me know whether you have time for its clarification, then I can post them (either thro PM or here, at your will).

    Thanks & Regards,
    Preethi
     
  9. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    wonderful post

    Dear Chitra,

    I had to read atleast 3 times to understand the interconnections of the different words that you've used. would like to keep reading again - it does makes sense.
    when we analyse the diff yogas maybe it will be even easier to understand.
    The word bhakti sounds light but it seems to have such intense meaning if we go in detail.
    wonderful post.. would love to see the next one soooon.

    L, Hs & Ks,
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Aishu !

    I am very happy, you enjoyed the write up.
    I shall post Mahalakshmi Ashtakam first & then Lakshmi ASHTOTHRAM. The former is ideal for daily chanting & the latter for Fridays.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     

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