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A Few Facets Of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

by Swami Sivananda

Bhakti is the slender silken thread of Prem or Love that binds the heart of a devotee to the Lotus Feet of the Lord. Bhakti is intense devotion and supreme attachment to God. It is the spontaneous outpouring of love towards God. It is pure, unselfish, Divine Love or Suddha Prem. Bhakti is the sacred, higher emotion of sublime sentiments that unites the devotee with the Lord. It has to be experienced by the Bhaktas.

Human love is hollow. It is mere animal attraction. It is passion. It is carnal love. It is selfish love. It is ever changing. It is all hypocrisy and mere show. The wife does not care for her husband when he is in the role of unemployment. She frowns at him. The husband dislikes his wife when she loses her beauty on account of some chronic disease. You can find real, lasting love in God alone. His love knows no change.

Bhakti is the basis of all religious life. Bhakti destroys Vasanas and egoism. A life without Bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste. Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses Joy, Divine Ecstasy, Bliss, Peace and Knowledge. All cares, worries, anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths. He attains the Immortal Abode of everlasting Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.

Sakamya Bhakti is one where the Bhakta worships God for getting riches, son or for removal of sufferings from diseases. Vyabhicharini Bhakti is one in which the devotee worships or loves God for some time and then his wife, children and property for some time. To love God and God alone for ever and ever is Avyabhicharini Bhakti. Prahlada in the advanced stage of devotion meditated on his own self as Lord Hari. This is Abheda Bhakti.

The Bhakta remains in the Loka where Lord Vishnu resides, like an inhabitant of a state. This is Salokya Mukti. In Sameepya Mukti, the Bhakta remains in close proximity with the Lord, like the attendant of a king. In Sarupya Mukti he gets the same form like that of the Lord, like the brother of a king. In Sayujya Mukti, he becomes one with the Lord, like salt and water. Thus there are four kinds of Mukti for the Bhaktas.

Out of love, the formless Brahman assumes the form of Lord Hari to please His devotees. God is an embodiment of mercy. The Lord runs after His devotees with food and water in His hands to the forests. He becomes a slave of His devotees. Lord Vishnu says to Prahlada: "Dear, you are too tender of age and too delicate of body to stand the terrible tortures inflicted on you by your hot-headed father. A parallel of his atrocious deeds I have never seen before. Pray, therefore, excuse me if I was late in coming to your rescue." Again 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 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 things in Me, to Him I am never lost, nor he is lost to Me."

Study the Gita, the Ramayana, the Bhagavata. Have Satsanga. Visit holy places (Yatra). Do Japa. Meditate. Sing His Name. You can develop Bhakti and have His Darshan.

Do you really want God? Do you really thirst for His Darshan? Have you got spiritual hunger? You may deliver thrilling lectures on Bhakti. You may write several volumes on Bhakti, and yet you may not possess even a grain of true devotion. He who thirsts for Darshan of God will develop Bhakti. If there is sincere demand for God, then the supply will come. By regular steady Sadhana, may you attain Peace, Bliss, Knowledge, Perfection and God-realisation!

The Name of God chanted in any way, correctly or incorrectly, knowingly or unknowingly, carefully or carelessly is sure to give the desired result. The glory of the Name of God cannot be established through reasoning and intellect. It can be certainly experienced or realised through devotion, faith and constant repetition of the Name. Every Name is filled with countless potencies or Saktis. The power of the Name is ineffable. Its glory is indescribable. The efficacy and inherent Sakti of the Name of God is unfathomable.

Just as fire has the natural property of burning inflammable things, so also the Name of God has the power of burning sins, Samskaras and Vasanas and of bestowing eternal Bliss and everlasting Peace on those who repeat the Name of the Lord. Just as the burning quality is natural and inherent in fire, so also is the power of destroying sins with their very root and branch and of bringing the aspirant into blissful union with the Lord through Bhava Samadhi, natural and inherent in the Name of God.

O Man! Take refuge in the Name. Nami and Nama are inseparable. Sing the Lord's Name incessantly. Remember the Name of the Lord with every incoming and outgoing breath. In this iron age Nama Smarana or Japa is the easiest, quickest, safest and surest way to reach God and to attain Immortality and perennial Joy. Glory to the Lord. Glory to His Name. Sing Hari Om, Sri Ram, Radheyshyam or 'Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.'

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