Hari Om Dear Friends !
In our session today, we completed our journey of Chapter 12 - Bhakti Yoga - The Yoga of Devotion. You can access the summary flow of Chapter 12 here.
We did an interesting exercise today in class where we attempted to dive deep into any basic experience. We tried to break down the following:
What are we seeing/experiencing ?
Who is seeing/experiencing ?
Is the experience happening outside or inside ?
What is the role of the mind in all this ?
Is this real ?
The main point we were trying to drive-in is the aspect called 'Awareness' or 'Consciousness'. This is a key term which will be critical for us to continue our journey towards the peak of this 'Atma Jnana-Parvat' (Mountain of Self-Knowledge)
No discussion or conversation on Bhakti (Devotion) is complete without bringing up the topic of 'Nava Vidha Bhakti' or the '9 Forms of Bhakti'. This gem of a verse can be found in the 7th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatham, uttered by Bhakta Prahlada. The following image lists them out along with supreme examples from our scriptures.
Myths and Misconceptions
The following are some of the misconceptions that we usually hear and read about:
"There are multiple paths to Moksha and Bhakti Yoga is one of them": There are only 3 phases to this journey of Self Knowledge and they are Karma, Upasana and Jnana Yoga. All other Yogas (Raja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Dhyaana Yoga) fit into one of these 3 phases. Bhakti Yoga, as we saw last time, spans throughout these 3 phases.
"Bhakti Yoga is the easiest path": Due to our limited understanding of the Bhakti Yoga discipline, we think that it is some kind of a short-cut towards 'reaching the top'.
"Bhakti is singing, shedding tears, doing puja, rituals": If you see the summary mind-map of the 12th Chapter, it is quite clear that we cannot escape doing our duties (Karma Yoga) with dedication to the supreme.
The following are some of the important take-aways from this chapter:
Having Selfish desires is NOT a bad thing. We all start from there. After all Artha (Basic Security), Kama (Comforts & Pleasures), Dharma (Good Deeds, Punyas) and Moksha (Liberation) are our 4-fold goals to be fulfilled. Our Itihaasas and Puranas are replete with examples of people who have worshipped God for getting something (Dasharatha, Dhruva, Vishwamitra, Arjuna, etc.)
There are only 3 criteria for having desires and our quest to fulfilling them:
Dedicate our actions to God, Consume the results as an offering from God.
Our Actions should be Dharmic and dipped in Compassion and Love.
Most importantly, always look to go to the next step - From Selfish actions, try to improve towards Selfless actions, help others, think of others, etc.
In conclusion, if there is one thing you want to remember from this chapter, it is the following: Bhakti Yoga is NOT different from Karma, Upasana and Jnana Yoga.
In our next session, we will enter into the 3rd and last Shatkam (set of 6) - Chapter 13.
Gita Reference Material:
Here is the link to some Gita reference material that you can access.
Quote for the Day:
"Devotion to Duty is the Highest form of Worship to God."
~~ Swami Vivekananda
Have a good Thanksgiving break, friends !!
Hari Om & Stay Safe !!
Praveen, Visveish, Ganesh
(firstname.lastname@example.org | 412-916-8780)
(Meera-Krishna Image Courtesy: Vishal Gurjar )