“Yoga of devotion,” a principle and ideology described in the Chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gita where Arjuna asked Lord Krishna, “Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?” What Lord answered set the platform for one of the four primary yoga forms which pave the way for divine enlightenment.
Bhakti Yoga, or “the Yoga of Devotion,” is that yogic path which connects the practitioner or Bhakta with the Superior Being. Often considered to be the straightest way to put your mind, body and soul in sync, Bhakti Yoga is about transcending your physical and mental boundaries to establish the bond between the Creator and the creation. While the other three yoga forms i.e. Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga focus on body flexibility, intellect and a focused mind respectively, it’s only Bhakti yoga that emphasizes the power of heart in establishing the divine connection, a devoted heart. You may ask why only a heart, why not a mind and a body or a mind, body and soul together?
Shree Krishna explains that a mind with acute intellect comes with a hindrance of doubting everything that it sees, every bit of information it comes across. Moreover, we tend to believe in what we see. But what about the things which cannot be seen, which are intangible, unmanifested? We hesitate to believe as we have more faith in our eyes than our heart. So when you will tread the path of divine wisdom, your aware mind will question your every move, will doubt every possibility and, thus, will eventually stand as a barrier in your spiritual path of awakening. Therefore, it is important to undo your intellect while disembodying your soul to attain that level of ultimate devotion. Unless you disintegrate your heart from your soul and the five primary elements of nature which bind you to this earth and the never-ending circle of Karma, you will be stuck in the spiral wave of seeking the divine as a conscious effort.
Solution? Let the Creator drive you while all you have to do is sit on his bus, says the Lord. Why so? It’s the Ego that plays the spoilsport in showing complete devotion. The “Me” clouds our thinking and winning becomes our aim. And, soon, we drift away from our path of spiritual attainment. So how to teach your heart to unteach everything it has learned over the years?
Practice the 9 principles of Bhakti Yoga:
Padasevana (serving at the feet)
Vandana (the act of prostration)
Dasya (unquestioning submission)
Atmanivedana (offering yourself to the Divine)
And how this practice of Bhakti Yoga can help your soul to rise above every mortal craving? Let us read it in Swami Sivananda’s words:
“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 and 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.”
Yogasync me! The first step to honoring the Divine is by quieting the mind. One way to do this is through restorative yoga, like in this quick sync: