What Is Bhakti Yoga?
Have you ever had the experience of long term travel or even just a long, hard day at work and then returning to the sanctuary of your home where you can rest, replenish and receive love, even if just from yourself?
This is how it feels to engage with Bhakti Yoga. It’s like coming home.
It’s where the weary heart comes to rest and revive itself after the daily grind.
It recognises your soul and addresses it directly, instead of trying to communicate with who you might think you are.
So many of us, through lifetimes of conditioning, think we are only this body in which we live. Through this approach we are short changing ourselves big time.
Did you know however that you are a spirit soul? Much more than the flesh and bones of the body you currently call home.
The concept of reincarnation is inherent to the philosophy of Bhakti Yoga which gives a refreshing perspective on life.
It explains a lot.
It implies that beyond these bodies we are eternal spiritual identities, seeking an ultimate resolution to the repeated, painful cycle of birth and death.
You may have noticed, life can hurt!
The ancient eastern philosophy of Bhakti Yoga, through its sacred teachings, gifts us with the process to achieve this ultimate resolution of human suffering.
The philosophy is based on the common thread that all living beings, including plants and animals, have a spiritual identity.
The body that the spirit soul currently occupies is how we know the living being on this physical plane.
Basically, the bottom line is that you are a lot more than just this physical body.
Bhakti Yoga does not discriminate. It is home to absolutely everyone because it reflects the true loving and blissful nature of every single soul.
Our identity as a spirit soul is something we have mostly forgotten somewhere along the way. We could see this as a kind of ignorance.
Unfortunately, according to the Bhakti Yoga philosophy, this forgetfulness is the root cause of much of the unhappiness of life.
Yes, there are good things about being alive too, but the big picture of the Bhakti Yoga philosophy explains that we are here on planet earth because we have forgotten who we really are and that’s why we suffer at times, some of us more than others, but no one is immune.
Have you ever thought about why you only ever want to be happy? Why don’t you never want to be sad?
The fact is that everybody wants to be in constant bliss and ecstasy, nobody wants to experience misery.
But WHY is this!!?
The reason, as outlined in the ancient Bhakti Yoga texts, is that the soul is by nature blissful. It comes from a place of bliss and it just wants to get back there ASAP.
But why isn’t life just pure ecstasy if the soul is by nature blissful?
It comes down to the fact that the soul is a fish out of water. It does not actually belong here on this planet earth.
A fish out of water is one unhappy fish.
When the soul comes into contact with the earth - the material energy or Maya, as she is called in the Bhakti Yoga texts, everything changes.
The soul forgets itself and behaves out of character.
When the illusion of being just a body sets in, a cycle is set up where we may sometimes act contrary to our inherent blissful nature.
Being in the world becomes more and more like keeping bad company. The more we identify with the bad company, the more we behave like it.
The laws of nature, being just and exacting, then reciprocate as we behave - usually over lifetimes. This is called the law of karma.
Yes it is real.
But we are soooo much more.
Thankfully you don’t have to get stuck in that cycle if you don’t want to! The cycle of karma is known as Samsara or the cycle of material bondage.
The process of escape is actually quite straightforward and is a permanent solution to anything less than blissful in our lives.
You just have to want it badly enough. Often after a few billion lifetimes of being kicked to the curb, you start wanting it pretty badly :-)
It is a simple lifestyle formula, that when followed, assures freedom from all distress and sorrow.
Success is guaranteed and even any small effort on the path, brings reward. Basically, you can’t lose.
Once you become emotionally and spiritually strong through this lifestyle, you become an unstoppable force of positive transformation in your own and other’s lives.
The beauty is that it is a joyful process and the effects can be felt immediately. It is true spiritual candy.
So let me tell you how…
As mentioned in the Five Pearls on my website, the basic principle of Bhakti Yoga is: Simple Living and High Thinking.
When adopted, this principle gives mental clarity and emotional stability and allows you to live a lifestyle of non-violence (including against animals), which includes a daily spiritual practice.
The essence of the Bhakti Yoga daily spiritual practice is Sacred Mantra Meditation which serves to connect you, the spirit soul with the supreme soul, Krishna, as he is known in the ancient Bhakti yoga texts (He is also known as God among infinite other names).
The result is a purified, blissful heart that understands its true spiritual identity.
Nothing at this point can shake you.
You then think, feel and act only out of love.
Sound far out?! Try it - it’s actually way beyond far out!
The idea is that when you get used to your new, blissful self, your New Heart takes over the show and you become an inspiration.
Others observe your cool lifestyle and simply want to join the party.
Welcome to the New World, full of people like you who have embraced the win/win situation of Bhakti Yoga.
They allow it to guide and shape their lives towards the wholeness and happiness that is their true birthright.
Along the way, not only do you get to meet other gorgeous like minded Bhakti Yoga practitioners, but you also get the ongoing opportunity to:
• Nurture your body, mind, life and soul with love of the highest and truest kind
• Come to a deep understanding of your spiritual identity and potential
• Experience the New World, full of New Hearts like you.
You can do it! Your bliss depends on it!
The philosophy and practice of Bhakti Yoga is truly beautiful because it gets to the nuts and bolts of why you are on this planet and how to discover who you truly are.
Once your spiritual self is in order and being looked after, life becomes so much easier and less complicated.
Things start to fall into place, because your soul has found its place.
It becomes easier to live in the condemned building of the world as we know it, because we know we’ll be moving on to our true home, the elaborate, glorious mansion, pretty soon. We start to see that we really don’t belong here. We are of a much more noble heritage.
The details of this well hidden reality of our higher nature can be found in the ancient Bhakti Yoga texts, translated from the Sanskrit into many languages. They are designed to help us grasp the fact that our destiny involves connecting in love to the Supreme Divine, Krishna.
Once our soul is connected to the Supreme Soul, we have now made that friend in the highest place of all, who can ease our passage to the greater truth that we are destined for, that is currently beyond our comprehension.
Through the philosophy and practice of Bhakti Yoga, you can find answers to questions that may arise about the concepts mentioned above and also fundamental answers to questions that can’t be found anywhere else, such as “who am I?”, “what happens after death?” and many other ‘unanswerable’ questions, and of course what to do about them.
Once embarked upon, it becomes the grand adventure of countless lifetimes. ’Destination New Heart New World’
Feel free to visit the Bookshelf for more detail and first hand experience of the philosophy and practice of Bhakti Yoga.
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If you would like to explore how you can incorporate Bhakti Yoga into your life in a balanced and harmonious way, and feel you would benefit from one on one support, you are welcome to book a free discovery session with myself, Rasika Manjari.
If you would really like to start a practice for yourself, I also highly recommend getting in touch with a Bhakti Yoga Centre near you, one of the branches of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), for immersion in the Bhakti Yoga experience and contact with like minded souls.
See you at the New World.