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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bhakti Yoga, The Yoga of Love

By Michael Russell

Bhakti Yoga, the most direct path to Cosmic Consciousness, to awareness of the Absolute, is the yoga of love and pure spiritual devotion to God, Who is Love. It is the yoga of blissful exhilaration, of purest love. In Bhakti Yoga, the devotee is the lover and the deity, the Divine, the Godhead, is the beloved. Bhakti Yoga causes its devotees to be fully aware, to be fully and ever conscious, of the fact that all is the manifestation of the Divine. It causes the veil of ignorance, the veil of the sense of separateness from the Divine, to fall from the eyes, from the consciousness, of the devotee. It makes the devotee aware of the fact that ego and material consciousness are of no importance whatsoever. Why be egotistic of the petty materialistic body or mind, when of far greater value is awareness of the Cosmic Mind? By overcoming the pull of the ego, of petty personal concerns, the devotee is able to become enthralled in the feeling of being united with God Consciousness.

The doctrine that "God is Love and Love is God" is the base of Bhakti Yoga. It is the bliss of love that will enable the devotee to transcend petty concerns, because the bliss of love will make them seem as unimportant as they really are. What drives the devotee is the feeling that his Self is separated from the divine and the consequent desperation of his wish to achieve union, or, better put, the consciousness of union (for union is always there - it is just that the devotee has forgotten that, that he no longer feels it before practicing Bhakti Yoga) with the divine. When upon his quest for reunion with the Godhead, when filled with love for the Divine, nothing else matters for the devotee, not food, not sex, not wealth, not any earthly pleasure or even responsibility. His love makes his quest by far the most important consideration.

Bhakti Yoga is the fastest way, indeed the most direct way, of attaining God Consciousness. This is because love is the strongest emotion an aspirant can feel and it puts other considerations, even knowledge of the scriptures, into second place. All types of yoga, all forms of knowledge, are based on true faith, true devotion, on true Bhakti Yoga. For without love for the Divine, one hasn't the motivation to make the sometimes incredible efforts to achieve consciousness of the Divine. No amount of intellectual training, no amount of physical training, can achieve this one its own, without love. Love is the highest thing there is and the religion of love is Bhakti Yoga.

The Divine is immanent in all things. The Bhakta, however, may, according to his temperament and experience, find the Divine in one or in another form, but the fact is that all forms of the Divine are magically present in all things. In the bliss of love, the devotee achieves God Consciousness and when that happens, the form, the Divine and the devotee become one. For the reality is that all are One: The devotee and the deity, the subject and the object, the known and the knower.