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Bhakti Yoga


What is Bhakti yoga?

Bhakti yoga is one of the major branches of yoga, which represents the path of complete devotion to the Divine Being. Bhaki yoga is based on the doctrine that “God is Love and Love is God.” The term “Bhakti” is of Sanskrit origin and signifies a blissful and selfless love for God as a Father, Mother, Sibling, Child, Friend, or whatever part you want Him to play in your life. The word also signifies both a loving attachment and a deep devotion to the Divine. Strictly speaking, the word “Bhakti” means participation. Therefore, anyone who practices Bhakti yoga literally and actively participates in the Divine through complete devotion, worship, service, and surrender. The goal of the practitioner is to finally be drawn into a mystical union with whatever is divine.

History of Bhakti Yoga

Some practitioners consider Bhakti yoga as the oldest yoga form, taking its roots from the Vedas, or the ancient Indian scriptures. Although some of the hymns in the Vedas are believed to be about four thousand years old, Bhakti yoga emerged as a distinct yoga form only in about 500 B.C. This was the time that the Bhagavad-Gita, a Sanskrit work where the teachings of Krishna are reflected, was composed. Krishna is one of the most beloved deities of the Hindu religion.

Time came when Bhakti yoga became the focus of a popular Indian devotional movement known as the bhaktimarga, which translates into “road of devotion.” The movement flourished between 800 and 1100 A.D. and sometime around 900 A.D. some Krishna devotees who were part of the movement produced the Bhagavad-Purana, which is said to contain Krishna’s instructions to his believers and worhsippers. A passage from this work indicates that Krishna considers bhakti to be the ultimate path to bliss. Hence, the growth in popularity of Bhakti yoga.

Practicing Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti yoga practitioners regard God as being omnipresent, meaning He is a part of every living individual. And although Bhakri yoga finds its origins in the Hindu culture, people who hold other beliefs and members of other religions can still practice it because it does not really focus on any one religion. Rather, it focuses on the practitioner’s absolute faith in God as a divine Person instead of an impersonal Being.

You may find the Bhakti Yoga experience different than other types of Yoga. Bhakti yoga is different from other forms of yoga because it does not put great emphasis on physical postures or breathing techniques. Bhakti yoga focuses instead on acts of devotion, worship, and service. For this reason, practitioners are called bhaktas, or devotees. Perhaps you will come to recognize this form of yoga more if you recall the Krishna Consciousness Movement. This movement is popularly known as the “Hare Krishna”, and its members are practitioners of a certain form of Bhakti yoga.

If you are thinking of becoming a bhakta, then you will have to be prepared to make some major adjustments in your lifestyle. Bhakti yoga is more than just a form of physical activity or exercise. It is, most importantly, a set of practices and beliefs that you have to be prepared to embrace for a lifetime.

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