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What is Bhakti Yoga? - Shri Krishna

Rey Bhardwaj

In a time of spiritual seeking and personal transformation, the practice of Bhakti Yoga is becoming increasingly prominent. The more profound the devotion and love a practitioner develops towards the divine, the more questions that arise about the essence of divinity and its manifestation in human life.

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What is Bhakti Yoga?

In Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krsna  answers Arjuna’s question—Between those who are ever steadfast and worship You in devotion, and those who worship the imperishable and unmanifest—which of them are better versed in yoga?

It is important to note that yoga is not in the context of people stretching their muscles in awkward positions—as we have been made to believe so nowadays—but instead, the reference to yoga is instead a spiritual discipline, or practice, which acts as pathway to the unification of the jiv-atma(human soul) with the parmatma (in essence, God). Therefore, in Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krsna meticulously explains the path of Bhakti, or devotion, which can be followed in order to reunite with the supreme being.

In verse 2, Shri Krsna answers Arjuna’s question by stating that those who worship his [Krishna’s]personal form , are considered by him to be most perfect and are guaranteed liberation (moksha) from the cycle of samsara (birth and death). In Verses 3 -5, he goes on to explain that those who choose to worship Brahman (impersonal aspect of Krishna) will definitely attain liberation, however due to being situated in the material platform, will find it more difficult.

Yet how do we be devoted to Shri Krsna? How can we actually ‘worship’ the personal form of the Lord? As stated by Shri Krsna in verse 6, for one who worships

the Lord, they give up all their activities unto Him, have unwavering devotion towards Him, and always meditating for Him. Therefore, to perform the path of Bhakti Yoga, one must completely dedicate their entire life to Shri Krsna, the ultimate truth, in order to achieve liberation.

Shri Krsna goes on to say in Verse 9 and 10 that for those who are unable to fully fix their minds upon Him without deviation, they can simply follow the regulated principles of Bhakti Yoga.

Another key piece advice one should take from Shri Krsna’s teachings is the idea of giving up all the results of your work—which is in relation to karma yoga, where you carry out karma (actions) in accordance to your dharma (duty), not for materialistic sensual gratification (enjoyment), but out of duty.

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Ultimately, in the final verses of Chapter 12, Shri Krsna states the qualities of an ideal bhakt(devotee) of Shri Krsna— stating that whoever follows this path of devotional service to the Lord unwaveringly is very dear the Him, conclusively answering Arjuna’s question.

Rey Bhardwaj, Year 10

Published on 23rd May 2024

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