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.