What is Bhakti Yoga?

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What is Bhakti Yoga?
Bhakti yoga is a devotional type of yoga and is one of several yoga types based on Hindu philosophies and writings. It is called “devotional” since ‘bhakti” means some form of devotion to a personal God. The word “bhakti” has Sanskrit roots and signifies devotion based on typical human relationships whether it be between a parent and a child, between lovers, or between masters and their servants. In its formal and strict sense “bhakti” signifies “participation”. So in this context, Bhakti yoga is an active participation of devotion or love for God or Divine through service, worship, and/or surrender.

And since Bhakti yoga involves devotion to God, it is also referred to as the yoga type involving emotional temperament, as opposed to the other types of yoga that also has their own form of temperament. Jnana or Gyan Yoga is in touch with philosophical and intellectual temperament, Raja Yoga meanwhile involves scientific and mystical temperament, while Karma Yoga involves active temperament. Through these temperaments, one can purify his/her mind and heart. But if the intent is to reach out to God, then the path is only through Bhakti, which is also called the path of grace.

So in the practice of Bhakti yoga, the worship and surrender parts are based on the doctrine “God is Love and Love is God”. Through this doctrine, one can completely surrender himself or herself for purification and for complete devotion to God. And it is only through bhakti that one can merge the heart and mind with the Divine presence. This is done through devotional type of yoga and for the purpose of receiving grace. All other yoga practices would still have to go through bhakti or the path of grace to gain Divine realization and feel God’s love. But reaching this Divine state, or perfected state, can only be done if grace is given. And grace can only be found through the path of bhakti.

Though Bhakti yoga has several stages that seem very complex, it is said to be the easiest to practice and results to greater spiritual benefits, in a short period of time.

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