(Devotion through complete surrender)
In modern concept
Bhakti means devotion with divinity and yoga means to unify, therefore bhakti yoga unifies a person to the divine by practising ultimate devotion. Every religion on this planet has prescribed the importance of single mindedness on the divine in order to attain salvation. The goal is the same, only the techniques are different.
The Bible says – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”. (Proverbs 3:5-6). (Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't trust yourself. God will lead in to His will as long as you acknowledge Him and let Him lead you). Quran says-"Inna deena indalahil-Islam." (Holy Quran 3:19) (A fully conscious and willing effort to submit to the one Almighty God). Guru Angad Sahib added 63 slokas (verses) in ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ and he believed in complete surrender to the will of God. As per ‘Kabbalah’ of Judaism - Nullify your will before His will, that He may nullify the will of others before your will. (Ethics of the Fathers, 2:4). Buddhism does not accept the concept of God but they accept Lord Buddha as an enlightened father of humanity and thus worship him like a God with complete devotion.
Lord Krishna has devoted full 20 verses in chapter 12 of ‘Srimad Bhagvadgita’ about Bhakti Yoga. Swami Vivekananda has given his commentary in the 2nd volume, and the entire description with tools and techniques of doing Bhakti Yoga in the 3rd volume of the ‘Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’. Adi Sankaracharya has also described the importance of Bhakti Yoga in slokas 31 to 39 and 46 of Vivekchudamani.
In every era, God was incarnated or people with Godly qualities were incarnated, namely Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Maharishi Valmiki, Goswami Tulsidas, Kabirdas, Sant Tukaram, Maharishi Ramanna, The Alvars, Nayanars, Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu etc. All have mentioned the importance of bhakti yoga, to attain everlasting bliss and as one of the ways to realize God.
Therefore, as an ordinary householder having minimal knowledge of the scriptures and holy books, it would be audacious on my part to comment or write an article on this topic. Still, I have dared to weave my mind around the topic with the idea of presenting to you, in a simple language, my own personal contemplation, keeping in mind the latest scientific developments in the field of computer science and quantum physics.
Believing in God or doing daily prayers or going to the temple, church, mosque or Gurudwara is completely different than practising bhakti yoga. In a modern society, these religious activities have become more ritualistic than actually connecting to God by focusing with one’s heart, mind, and soul. Unless these three elements are combined together, there cannot be bhakti but perhaps an emotional, or a temporary outburst of one’s feelings towards the almighty in times of trouble or when looking for some kind of super natural anchor to hold on for success to continue, or even when passing the phases of turmoil’s in life.
Bhakti Yoga is part of a spiritual practice to understand the nature of the sacred thread or invisible umbilical cord by which we are all attached to the source (God), whereas prayers or reading religious books without understanding these intricacies are simply a dutiful practice for the uneducated mass or unenlightened educated souls. Those who believe in realizing God through Bhakti yoga need not visit any temple or mosque or church but activate their mind's ‘SCAN DISC’ program (like a computer) and look within by meditating and practicing the techniques of bhakti yoga in their daily life. This can be made possible by clicking on the START tab (preparing for meditation) and then on the COMPUTER icon (brain) followed with PROPERTIES (inner selves), and then selecting TOOLS (Istha or divine). However the scan disk inside our mind will never work unless the mind is ‘DEFRAGMENTED’ and all BAD SECTORS like ego, pride, jealousy, hatred, anger, greed etc. are identified and removed and all GOOD SECTORS like unfettered love, non violence, universal brotherhood, honesty, integrity, kindness, truthfulness are arranged in a sequence for easy access. (Here I hope that readers of my blog have some knowledge of the workings of a modern computer). I am sure that people may fool themselves or the world by temporarily having control on their spiritual emotions, but in reality, they cannot achieve the real outcome with a malicious heart and mind.
Now, returning to the point, a question may be raised - what is the use of doing bhakti yoga? By simply praying for a minute or two or even without doing so, can’t we realize God or remain in peace forever? Here, one will have to understand that peace of mind is not perpetual. But it can be made permanent and everlasting by practicing Bhakti Yoga even in the worst of moments of life. By practicing bhakti yoga, all pain and pressure can be transferred to the other side of the mental hemisphere (almighty) in the form of energy. STRING THEORY of QUANTUM PHYSICS also testifies that there are several extra, unobservable, dimensions of the universe which are parallel to each other. As such, an intense but pure energy or pure consciousness can be transferred to the parallel universe. The String Theory may be new to the West as it is still under research, but those who have read about Sage Narada, it is not new for them. As per the mythology, Narada used to travel between different universes in a fraction of a second. It can be presumed that he knew the art of crossing over back and forth between the existing parallel but invisible universes.
In physics, the LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS also states that energy can be transformed from one form to another, but it cannot be destroyed. I have also mentioned in my last blog ‘Philosophy of Mental Deception’ that nature balances its act and no balancing can be made at one end without causing imbalance at the other end. For example, the change in atmospheric pressure at the tip of North Pole may create turbulence at the South Pole of the earth, and likewise several scientific examples can be given in support of the transfer of energy.
Therefore, by using the tools and techniques of bhakti yoga one can transfer all their pain or sorrow in the form of energy to the divine. And the divine has no way out but to balance the transfer, by providing some kind of relief to the sender of energy. But for that to happen, some austere measures have to be practiced in one's day to day life.
Furthermore, the sense of true bhakti or devotion to God cannot percolate to our personality unless we understand the true cause of our existence. Who we are, how we have come to this earth, the purpose of our coming, the purpose of doing so many things in our lives, and who decides the time period of our stay in this world? Why is there so much disparity between human beings, why are people good or bad, why are some happy and other’s extremely miserable, why are some very successful and some not, and so on?
In our scriptures, there are several examples of extreme devotion, where there is no room for any doubts—not even an iota. Under the influence of bhakti (devotional feelings), a person completely surrenders himself or herself to the almighty and as a result, the effect of bhakti kicks in and the almighty takes care of the person. But to attain such bhakti one has to be absolutely pure in mind, thinking and action. One cannot drive a car with mist on the windshield. Likewise, in our lives, the mists are jealousy, hatred, anger, ego and greed. If these mists are present, then they limit the visibility to see the difference between the right and wrong paths and as such, we are bound to have accidents in the form of mental, physical, and emotional setbacks. In my opinion, God is nothing but a pure and positive energy or pure consciousness and in order to reach him, the same purity will be required. In order to obtain absolute purity, we will have to renounce all smartness and tricks of our minds in our daily lives and let God take over the process of our thinking and actions. Here, giving up smartness does not mean that one has to work or act like a fool or neglect daily chores of life but rather to act to the best of their ability and knowledge with absolute purity of mind.
Now, one may question how to determine the level of absolute purity in the mind. To satisfy them, I have developed my own yardsticks to measure the level, and if an opportunity comes in the future, then I would love to discuss or give a discourse on how to calibrate one’s mind for the purpose. From the blog’s point of view it may become lengthy; hence I will stop here.
Therefore to sum up, we should do our karma honestly, truthfully, and to the best of our knowledge and ability, after which we can enjoy life as much as possible but by remaining calm and leaving all the worrying factors for the almighty. We have enough on our plates and must transfer some to the almighty in whom we believe and pray everyday. This will be true bhakti yoga and I guarantee you will be the happiest person in the world.
Suman Saran Sinha
A humble devotee of the lord