Bhakti Yoga is more of a spiritual concept of the practice of Yoga. Whereas many Yoga techniques orient themselves towards the physical and mental improvements, Bhakti focuses mainly on the spiritual relationship between the individual and God.
The basis of Bhakti can best be summed up as a string. This string begins at the foot of God, Himself, extends throughout all reality, and ends at the heart of the individual. This string is always strong at the point of Gods’ feet, as God is omniscient and never changing. On the individuals end, however, life can wear at the string, weakening it. The individual, through Bhakti Yoga, cultivates the nature of the string, bringing it new life and strength. The effect is that of a stronger spiritual relationship with the Maker.
Through this ancient form of Yoga, we come to the realization that God’s love is the purest form of love possible, never hurtful, never deceitful, never failing, and never, under any circumstances, vindictive in any way. It is the ultimate love. Bhakti teaches us that man can achieve this love as man is created in the image of God. It is simple to deduce that, with these facts in mind, man can learn, through Bhakti, to love God as He loves us, purely and unselfishly.
The actual word, Bhakti, originates from the word Bhaj, which translates loosely into ‘attachment to God.’ In the actual practice of this format of Yoga, there are a number of very effective and desirable outlets, such as Sakamya, Nishkamya, Japa, and Upasana, to name a few.
Sakamya is probably the least chosen, in that it is a self-centered form of Bhakti. Sakamya is a quest, through Bhakti, to achieve greater material gains here on earth, and less oriented towards the pleasing of and relationship with God. Japa is also a self-centered type of Bhakti, yet not so much for material wants but for physical needs. For example, if a man suffers from cancer and wants God to heal him, he performs a daily ritual of Japa Bhakti Yoga.
The basic principles of Bhakti are that if you are sincere in your prayers and are willing to go through the process of Bhakti to achieve them, then God will grant your requests as he has promised. However, without a good carved in stone moral standpoint, to perform Bhakti is pointless.
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