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BHAKTI YOGA : C-1.

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C-HOW TO CULTIVATE BHAKTI : 1.



It would be a gross mistake if you consider Bhakti as merely a stage of emotionalism, while it is actually a thorough discipline and training of one's will and the mind, a sure means to intuitive realization of God Almighty through intense love and affection for Him. It is a means to thorough apprehension of the true knowledge of Reality, beginning from the ordinary form of idol worship right upto the highest form of cosmic realisation of your oneness with Him. You can achieve this by following the eleven fundamental factors which Sri Ramanuja had prescribed. They are Abhyasa or practice of continuous thinking of God; Viveka or discrimination; Vimoka or freedom from everything else and longing for God; Satyam or truthfulness; Arjavam or straightforwardness; Kriya or doing good to others; Kalyana or wishing well-being to all; Daya or compassion; Ahimsa or non-injury; Dana or charity; and Anavasada or cheerfulness and optimism.

People put a question: …

BHAKTI YOGA : B-2.

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B-TYPES OF BHAKTI-2


Another classification of Bhakti is Apara-Bhakti and Para-Bhakti. Apara-Bhakti is for beginners in Yoga. The beginner decorates an image with flowers and garlands, rings the bell, offers Naivedya (food-offerings), wave lights; he observes rituals and ceremonies. The Bhakta here regards the Lord as a Supreme Person, who is immanent in that image and who can be propitiated through that form only.

He has no expanded heart. He is a sectarian. He dislikes other kinds of Bhaktas who worship other Devatas. Gradually, from Apara-Bhakti, the devotee goes to Para-Bhakti, the highest form of Bhakti. He sees the Lord and Lord alone everywhere and feels His Power manifest as the entire universe.

"Thou art all-pervading; on what Simhasana shall I seat Thee ? Thou art the Supreme Light, in whose borrowed light the sun, the moon, the stars and the fire shine; shall I wave this little Deepa or light before You ?" - thus the devotee recognizes the transcendental nature of…

BHAKTI YOGA : B-1.

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B- TYPES OF BHAKTI : 1.


In this type of highest Bhakti all attraction and attachment which one has for objects of enjoyment are transferred to the only dearest object, viz., God. This leads the devotee to an eternal union with his Beloved and culminates in oneness.

Bhakti is of various kinds. One classification is Sakamya and Nishkamya Bhakti. Sakamya Bhakti is devotion with desire for material gains. A man wants wealth with this motive practices Bhakti. Another man wants freedom from diseases and therefore does Japa and offers prayers. A third one wants to become a Minister and does Upasana with this aim. This is Sakamya Bhakti. Whatever you want the Lord will certainly give you, if your Bhakti is intense and if your prayers are sincerely offered from the bottom of your heart. But you will not get supreme satisfaction, immortality and Moksha through Sakamya Bhakti.

Your Bhakti should always be Nishkamya Bhakti. God has already given you a good position, a good job, wife and children…

BHAKTI YOGA : A-1.

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A. WHAT IS BHAKTI ? -1



The term Bhakti comes from the root 'Bhaj', which means 'to be attached to God'. Bhajan, worship, Bhakti, Anurag, Prem, Priti are synonymous terms. Bhakti is love for love's sake. The devotee wants God and God alone. There is no selfish expectation here. There is no fear also. Therefore it is called 'Parama Prem Rupa'. The devotee feels, believes, conceives and imagines that his Ishtam (tutelary deity) is an Ocean of Love or Prem.

Bhakti is the slender thread of Prem or love that binds the heart of a devotee with the lotus feet of the Lord. Bhakti is intense devotion and supreme attachment to God. Bhakti is supreme love for God. It is the spontaneous out-pouring of Prem towards the Beloved. It is pure, unselfish, divine love or Suddha Prem. There is not a bit of bargaining or expectation of anything here. This higher feeling is indescribable in words. It has to be sincerely experienced by the devotee. Bhakti is a sacred, higher emoti…

BEST YOGA FOR MODERN MAN : 3.

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Karma Yoga is the best Yoga for modern man. It enables you to attain God-realization quickly. King Janaka was a dynamic Karma Yogi, and yet, at the same time, he was a Jnani. Mahatma Gandhi had exalted himself through Karma Yoga. There is in the daily routine of life a vast field for everyone to purify and elevate oneself. Even in family life, Karma Yoga is an essential requisite.

If everybody were selfish, there would be no peace in the home. Strong attachment breeds possessiveness, which is a selfish trait and is a negation of true love. Adaptability, amity and understanding, a little of self-denial and co-operation, help much in the promotion of peace in the house. All these can be effected through Karma Yoga.

Duty for duty's sake, without expectation of its fruits (which is the bane of worldly life), without inordinate likes and dislikes, without selfish attachment, offering all actions and fruits thereof to the Lord (viz. as worship done as an instrument in His hands), shoul…

BEST YOGA FOR MODERN MAN : 2.

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To a real Karma Yogi meditation comes automatically and the knowledge of the Upanishads dawns on him easily. He gets all knowledge from the Book of Knowledge Within through the grace of God. Mere service alone is not enough either. In the early morning the Karma Yogi should spend some time in Japa, Kirtan, meditation, study of religious books and a little of Asanas and Pranayama. During work also he may repeat the Name of God, silently. He may have another sitting for meditation before retiring to bed at night.

The Sadhaka engaged in selfless service may at times, encounter vexation and disappointment. But let him proceed undaunted. Let him be staunch in his devotion to duty. His sincerity will turn all obstacles into aid; for the Lord Himself will mysteriously help and sustain him in his work. This has been invariably the experience of all self-sacrificing Sadhakas. Therefore, let courage and trust in God be your watchwords every moment.

Means to Realization : The practice of Karma …

BEST YOGA FOR MODERN MAN : 1.

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It is my firm belief that disinterested service is the greatest force to inspire and elevate man to high levels of evolution. It brings about an all-round development of man's character, makes him manly and effects a spontaneous spiritual awakening. Selfless service is, indeed, most essential for the physical, moral and spiritual regeneration of the youth of the world.

The practice of Karma Yoga is very necessary for developing important virtues. Virtues can be developed by service alone. Without possessing the basic virtues, one cannot dream of attaining God-realization, in spite of the understanding of the Vedantic oneness, tolerance, equanimity, kindness, mercy, fellowship, adaptability, humility, goodness of heart and broad-mindedness can be cultivated only through the practice of Karma Yoga. The raw diamond requires cutting and polishing before it gives its brilliant colour and lustre. Even so, the raw aspirant requires constant rubbing and polishing through service and cont…

GURU : Part - 11.

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11. GRACE AND SELF-EFFORT


Realisation cannot come to you as a miracle done by your Guru. Lord Buddha, Lord Jesus, Rama Tirtha have all done Sadhana. Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to develop Vairagya (dispassion) and Abhyasa (practice). He did not say to him, "I will give you Mukti(liberation) now".

Therefore, abandon the wrong notion that your Guru will give you Samadhi and Mukti. Strive, purify, meditate, and realise.


Guru-kripa-grace of a Guru-is very necessary. That does not mean that the disciple should sit idle. He must do rigid Purushartha, spiritual practices. The whole work must be done by the student. Nowadays, people want a drop of water from the Kamandalu (water-pot) of a Sannyasin and desire to enter into Samadhi immediately.


They are not prepared to undergo any Sadhana for purification and Self-realisation. They want a magic pill to push them into Samadhi. If you have got such delusion, give it up immediately.


The Guru and the Shastras can show you the path and remo…

GURU :Part - 10.

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10. SAKTI-SANCHAR


Just as you can give an orange to a man, so also, spiritual power can be transmitted by one to another. This method of transmitting spiritual powers is termed Sakti-sanchar. In Sakti-sanchar, a certain spiritual vibration of the Sadguru is actually transferred to the mind of the disciple.
Spiritual power is transmitted by the Guru to the proper disciple whom he considers fit for Sakti-sanchar. The Guru can transform the disciple by a look, a touch, a thought or a word, or mere willing.


Sakti-sanchar comes through Parampara. It is a hidden mystic science. It is handed down from Guru to disciple.
Lord Jesus, through touch, transmitted his spiritual power to some of his disciples. A disciple of Samartha Ramdas transmitted his power to that dancing girl's daughter who was very passionate towards him. The disciple gazed at her and gave her Samadhi.

Her passion vanished. She became very religious and spiritual. Lord Krishna touched the blind eyes of Surdas. The inner …

GURU :Part- 9.

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9. INITIATION-ITS MEANING


A Bhakta will be initiated by a Bhakta saint in the path of devotion. A Jnani will initiate a student of Vedanta in the Mahavakyas. A Hatha Yogi or a Raja Yogi can initiate another in his particular path. But, a sage of perfect realisation, a Purna-jnani (full-blown sage) or Purna-yogi, can give initiation in any particular path. A sage or saint like Sri Sankara or Madhusudana Sarasvati can initiate a Sadhak in any particular path for which the aspirant is fit.

The Guru will find out by close study of the aspirant his tastes, temperaments, and capacity, and decide for him the most suitable path. If his heart is impure, the teacher will prescribe selfless service for a number of years. Then the Guru will find out for what particular path the student is fit and initiate him in that.

Initiation does not mean reciting a Mantra into another's ears. If Rama is influenced by the thoughts of Krishna, the former has got initiation already from the latter. If an a…

GURU :Part- 8.

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8. GURU-PARAMPARA


Spiritual knowledge is a matter of Guru-parampara. It is handed down from Guru to disciple. Gaudapadacharya imparted Self-knowledge to his disciple Govindacharya; Govindacharya to his disciple Sankaracharya; Sankaracharya to his disciple Suresvaracharya. Matsyendranath imparted knowledge to his disciple Gorakhnath; Gorakhnath to Nivrittinath; Nivrittinath to Jnanadeva.


Totapuri imparted knowledge to Sri Ramakrishna, and Ramakrishna to Swami Vivekananda. It was Ashtavakra who moulded the life of Raja Janaka. It was Gorakhnath who shaped the spiritual destiny of Raja Bhartrihari. It was Lord Krishna who made Arjuna and Uddhava get themselves established in the spiritual path when their minds were in an unsettled state.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...


Guru : Part-7.

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7. STICK TO ONE GURU


Do not dig here and there shallow pits for getting water. The pits will dry up soon. Dig a very deep pit in one place. Centralise all your efforts here. You will get good water that can supply you throughout the year. Even so, try to imbibe thoroughly the spiritual teachings from one preceptor alone.

Drink deep from one man. Sit at his feet for some years. There is no use of wandering from one man to another man, out of curiosity, losing faith in a short time. Do not have the ever-changing mind of a prostitute. Follow the spiritual instructions of one man only. If you go to several people and follow the instructions of many persons, you will be bewildered. You will be in a dilemma.


From a doctor, you get a prescription. From two doctors, you get consultation. From three doctors, you get your own cremation. Even so, if you have many Gurus, you will be bewildered. You will be at a loss to know what to do. One Guru will tell you: "Do Soham Japa".


Another w…

Guru : Part-6.

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6. SIKSHA GURUS AND DIKSHA GURU




Man has a twofold duty here on earth-to preserve his life, and to realise his Self. To preserve his life, he has to learn to work for his daily bread. To realise his Self, he has to serve, love, and meditate. The Guru who teaches him the knowledge of worldly arts is the Siksha Guru. The Guru who shows him the path of Realisation is the Diksha Guru. Siksha Gurus can be many-as many as the things he wishes to learn. The Diksha Guru can be only one-the one who leads him to Moksha.

Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ..



Guru : Part-5.

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5. MYSTERIOUS HELP FROM THE LORD :


Just see how the Lord has helped the devotees in the following instances. Eknath heard an Akasavani (a voice from the sky). It said, "See Janardan Pant at Deva Giri. He will put you in the proper path and guide you." Eknath acted accordingly and found his Guru. Tukaram received his Mantra, Rama Krishna Hari, in his dream. He repeated this Mantra and had Darshan (vision) of Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna directed Namdev to get his higher initiation from a Sannyasin (renunciate) at Mallikarjuna. Queen Chudalai assumed the form, of Kumbha Muni, appeared before her husband Sikhidhwaja in the forest, and initiated him in the mysteries of Kaivalya (state of absolute independence). Madhura Kavi saw a light in the firmament for three days consecutively.


It guided him and took him to his Guru Nammalvar who was sitting in Samadhi underneath a tamarind tree near Tinnevelly. Vilvamangal was very much attracted to Chintamani, the dancing woman. The latter …