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Bhakti Yoga – The Path of Devotion

Integral Yoga Teachings   |   February 22, 2012  |    satchidananda

The word “bhakti” means devotion. Devotion cannot be compared with any other approach. It is something super. When you develop devotion you rise above all doubts. You feel the Presence always with you, and you feel that you are totally protected. You can develop that kind of devotion by constant remembrance of the Divine.

A bhakta is a devotee, and his goal is to attach himself completely to God as his most Beloved. Our entire nature is based on such love. We are attached to so many things. From early childhood, we learn to cling to someone or something – parents, sisters or brothers, and later to position, money, or education.

To take advantage of that habit of getting attached to things, we make use of the same technique to achieve God. We learn to love God more than anything else. But since the mind is finite and limited, it is almost impossible to understand the infinite One through it. That is where the nameless, formless, infinite One becomes finite, named, and formed. We bring it down to suit our capacity. We take just a sample, a part, and treat it as the whole. And when we understand God in that part or symbol, we have understood the entire God.

We limit the relationship, we select the relationship, according to our taste and temperament. One person wants to call God father. Another might think of God as mother. Some people relate to their friends a little better; they can think of God as their friend. God can be your master. God can be your child. God is ready to come in any form that will help you to realize the Spirit.

There are hundreds of saints and sages who expounded on different relationships with God, and they all attained to the same goal. So you bring God to a level you can understand, and then have a relationship as you would in the world.

Stick to one type of relationship. Choose a particular form of God that you are devoted to, and then that becomes your ishta devata, the beloved form of God for you. Start giving everything, doing everything, for the sake of your Beloved. When you have a sweetheart, if you get a nice sweet mango, what do you do immediately? You think, “Ah, she will love it. I’ll keep it for her.” You keep all the best things for your beloved. Do that with God also. Offer everything to Him. That’s dedication – offering to God, constantly living in His memory.

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