Bhakti Yoga — The Way of Love (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

Krishna and Putana - ISKCON desire tree

Krishna and Putana – Hare Krishna (ISKCON) painting

Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of Love, is for the passionate type of person (4 Yogas Main).

The process is:

  1. Adopt God as an object of obsessive love.
  2. Connect to God using every form of love:  parent-child, friend, lover.
  3. Adopt a specific manifestation of God — in Hinduism, a particular diety — as your primary image and symbol of God. Make all others secondary.

The Hare Krishnas are the most well-known for Bhakti Yoga.  Their group worship consists of singing and dancing.  The musician sings a round of the chant, which is in Sanskrit (the sacred language of India — think of Latin in Europe), and the congregation repeats it.

Typically this begins with the congregation half-singing, half mumbling the chant — just like Christians singing hymns in church — but they get more and more into it, more and more worked up, like teenagers at a pep rally.

Individual worship may consist of chanting, reading the Bhagavad-Gita, saying rosaries, or so forth.

The purpose of all this is to get the person worked up and emotionally involved with the diety.  The Hare Krishnas have the goal of so fixating on their desire to be with God that they are totally focused on this at the time of their death.  The name of this mental state is “Krishna consciousness” and the effect is to ensure that they go to Krishna in the after-life.

Hindus often regard Christianity as a kind of Bhakti yoga.  Christ said that the most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your being.  He also said that the second commandment, which is like the first, is to love humanity in the same way. More

Introducing the 4 Yogas of Hinduism Series

A sadhu performing namaste (W:Anjali mudra) in...

A sadhu performing namaste (W:Anjali mudra) in Madurai, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hinduism teaches there is a basic pattern to human development. The cosmology teaches people are reincarnated, and (often) that a person is born into their place in the social hierarchy depending on how far along they are. I’m not getting into that part.

There are 4 Yogas, four basic modalities of human spiritual development. They are independent of one another, and appropriate to different kinds of people, according to their characters.

Before the adoption of a yoga, there is the process by which a normal person develops into a spiritual seeker.

As one becomes a spiritual seeker, there is a preliminary clearing-out step in which one adopts the 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances.

The spiritual seeker will then be drawn to one of the 4 Yogas:

The Way of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga) – note:  links go hot as articles are posted.
The Way of Love (Bhakti Yoga)
The Way of Work (Karma Yoga)
The Way of Meditation (Raja Yoga)

These are basic types, not rigid categories. They are forms by which the human psyche may attain the Divine — either Being with the Divine, or Becoming One with the Divine. Seekers usually have a preference. More

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