This is a continuation of the 9 Aspects of Bhakti Yoga – Part 1, which covers the first four modes.
5. Archana – Worshipping the Almighty
If you go by the word, Archana, the fifth aspect of Bhakti Yoga, means worshipping the lord as nothing can be a better way to connect with the Almighty. According to the enlightened ones, worshipping is the path to attaining Moksha. But is it that simple? Well, let us think about it from a different perspective. Chanting mantras help one connects with the inner self and develop a better consciousness without questioning anything using one’s own intellect or experience. Faith is a major word in this aspect of Bhakti Yoga. And once we develop unquestioned faith on a subject or object, we tend to remember it without putting any effort. Same rule is applicable here. Remembrance comes following faith. And this remembrance and faith together pave the way of connection with the Supreme entity. So Mantra here works like a middleman on behalf of remembrance between the outer self or lower self and inner self or higher self. Why is it important to bridge the gap between these two selves?
Let’s understand it with an example. Why do we feel happy when someone says something good or nice about us? And why we feel just the opposite when somebody speaks bad about us? Because in both situations, we associate ourself with that particular “good” or “bad” word and that instantly triggers our emotions. So, we have developed this habit of seeing ourselves through the eyes of everybody else around us, except our own self. But if we are aware of who we are actually, we will not seek judgement from others. And that will solve most of the problems we face throughout our lives.
6. Vandana – Prostration and prayer
Vandana or prostration, the sixth of the nine aspects of Bhakti Yoga is about showing your respect to the God as well as everything in the nature that’s a form of God by touching the mother earth in the Sashtanga Namaskara pose i.e. touching the ground with all your body parts. It is your duty and you should do it in an appropriate and graceful way. If we ponder a little bit, we will understand that this duty is not only the duty of offering prayers to the Divine, but fulfilling your duties as a human being. Touching the ground with all of your body parts symbolizes showing modesty by ignoring your ego and self-pride. It’s bowing your head in front of everything in a graceful manner. Most often, we do not lead a restrained life, spiritually I mean. So, all our efforts go to nowhere. But when your life is controlled by modesty, a sense of duty and a greater purpose, your soul uplifts itself to a higher level.
7. Dasya – Being His servant
It’s not only about serving the idols in the temples, serving the saints or sages or serving the god-like objects. Dasya Bhakti or this servant attitude is about serving everything believing the God is present among all of us, even inside the tiniest insect. You serve them, you serve the God. We make it a habit to serve only the people we know or we love. We ignore everything else. But, in that way, we actually distance ourselves from the Lord.
8. Sakhya – Being His friend
Being His friend is not as easy as it may sound. We are normally god-fearing people. We do EVERYTHING either to please God or to bribe him or to not make him angry with our tasks. Do you have to do any of these things with your friends to maintain the friendship? Then why God? Once you perceive the Lord as your dearest friend, you will not go to him with a baggage full of complaints, desires, gains and grudges. You will share your pain and joy with Him without expecting any gain in return. You may fight with Him, but you cannot blame him for everything that happens to affect your life in a negative way.
9. Atmanivedana – Surrendering yourself to the Almighty
The ninth and last aspect of the Bhakti Yoga asks you to surrender yourself completely to Him. Just like you surrender yourself in front of the person you love the most, your lover. You surrender your ego, your insecurities, fears, troubles, everything. Like that you empty yourself in front of the Divine power without holding anything back and with the same trust you have in your lover that he/she will take care of everything. Likewise, once you empty yourself and let Him take care of you, He loves you all the more.
Gradually, follow the nine aspects of Bhakti Yoga one at a time and free yourself from fear, pride and every barrier that’s holding you back from connecting with the Almighty, and become one with the Lord.
Yogasync me! Follow the nine aspects of Bhakti Yoga and finally surrender yourself to the Almighty with this extended meditative sequence: