Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion and is probably the most common path for people in this yuga to work towards moksha. I’ve been wondering for a the last few years what path I am actually on. I mean, we all have aspects of the four paths: devotion, service, self-control and study. But one is usually in the forefront. I was talking about it with my friend Dr. Thatte, who wrote the excellent little book The Seven Stars Of Hinduism, and I loved how he described these paths as a personalized custom plan for moksha! Then something he said really set off a lightbulb in my brain.
He said bhakti yoga goes beyond simply devotion to a God or a Murti.
While it is admirable and beautiful when someone demonstrates complete devotion to a single representation of God, Dr. Thatte suggested to me that caring about and loving other people is also a form of bhakti yoga. That made a lot of sense to me.
I’m somewhat intellectual and “book smart” but I’m not really a scholar and I’ve never studied Hinduism academically. I also prefer to feel my way towards Truth rather than analyze. So for those reasons I’m not strong in jygana yoga.
I don’t volunteer and dedicate myself to service as much as I wish I did. I’m not working as a doctor saving lives. So I’m not really karma yoga either.
Raja Yoga requires an incredible amount of discipline and self-control. I’m no where near that!
When I was a teenager I was quite devotional. I loved ritual and dramatic shows of devotion. But as I grew older I became more thoughtful and cautious. I developed a bit more cynicism. I’m not very interested in the classic demonstrations of bhakti anymore.
So where did that leave me?
Now I realize that I do have bhakti. I adore and have endless love for other human beings. I love God through my love of people. And that makes perfect sense, because people are God incarnate.
Maybe it doesn’t matter that much to know which of the main yogas I am practicing, but it’s nice to realize that I didn’t suddenly switch from having devotion to not. I just changed (and I think deepened) my relationship with devotion.
Thank you for reading! I would love to discuss more Hindu philosophy with you in my Facebook Group: Hindus In Pursuit Of Truth
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