The volume is a comprehensive work on bhakti yoga or bhakti marga, seen as the direct path to perfection, the principal means to the progressive perfection of the soul.
The book begins with a detailed study of the origin of bhakti in the Vedas and its understanding in the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, the Upanisads and the Puränas, and other works. It attempts to approach bhakti representation of God in the created world and devotion without religious convictions. It throws light on mans need to develop such devotion through absolute self-surrender to God. The bhakti concept in Vedanta is explored In-depth by referring to Vedanta schools of Adi añkara, Bhäskara Bhatta, Rämanuja, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Alvar Saints of south India and the concept of devotion of Arial. Quoting from the thoughts of diverse bhakti saints of India, it explores the bhakti devotion in civism referring to Jiva as the Supreme God and the concept of akin, aspects relating to moral responsibilities, bondage and liberation, and the doctrine of Satstha. The emphasis is on Ramanuja’s teachings on bhakti: his understanding of the Absolute, jnana and consciousness, jiva and atm7, time and spiritual consciousness. There is a chapter that provides a practical approach to bhakti thought, for instance, ways of developing consciousness of it and non-meditative forms of bhakti.
Mr. T.K. Sribhashyam, son of Shri T. Krishnamacharya, obtained his Masters degree in accountancy as well basin Hindu philosophy. He also received intensive lessons on yoga philosophy, and Indian psychology. He is the Head of all Yogakshemam schools in Europe. Two of his books in English viz. Blissful Experience, Bhakti - - Quintessence of Indian Philosophy and Way to Liberation — an Itinerary in Indian Philosophy have appeared from India in 2012.
Mrs. Alamelu Sheshadri, second daughter of Shri T. Krishnamacharya, is graduated from Mysore University. Shri T. Krishnamacharya initiated her to Yajurveda, taught her all major Upanisads, Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad-Gtta in the, traditional way. He also trained her in yoga, both practically and philosophically. From 1985 until 1989 she continued studying many philosophical subjects, especially Viitadvaita.
We meditate on that Supreme One, who has the neck and face of a horse, who has a radiant, blemish-free crystal body, who is the embodiment of Divine Knowledge and Bliss, and who is the support of all branches of learning.
An invocation to Lord Hayagriva,
— the God of knowledge and wisdom
WORLDLY comforts and pleasures are not the means of happiness. Today we have in plenty all the needs of comfort and happiness, far more than our ancestors had. Yet, we are not better off than generations before. Even though the means of happiness have increased manifold over the century, our happiness has not increased. Our ancestors were happy, not because they had more objects of pleasure or fewer causes of trouble, but because they could preserve the steadiness of their mind, which gave them peace, contentment and happiness.
Devotion is not developed in one day. It takes several years to cultivate it, which would make God dwell in our heart. Even if it appears difficult to kindle and nurture, it is the one quality any human being can acquire. Sex, creed, language, nationality, profession, poverty, wealth, nothing will stand in the way of human being developing this emotion by which he can make his heart the abode of God.
There are different categories of devotees who gained liberation. Some gained it through worshipping their spiritual master, others through worship and service to devotees, yet others through pilgrimage, some others through the worship of divine representation, and still others through reading sacred God does not look into the act, but into the love behind it. He does not go by the acts but looks into the hearts of the devotees texts. But they all had one device in common: the path of love. And finds out that the love throbbing in them was the same, no more, no less.
Man’s highest duty in life is to practice devotion to the Supreme, by whatever name one may call. All are eligible to practice devotion; the only qualification is an unfailing faith in Him. God is same to all, and he who takes refuge in Him, gets Him, while he who keeps aloof, excludes himself from God.
One who knows the itinerary can guide us in the right direction to reach the destination. Our father, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, infused Bhakti in his children and in his disciples from the beginning of their studies under him. His grace and God’s blessings have helped us to undertake this work. It is our sincere hope and the earnest prayer that it will lead the readers on their path of bhakti to know the Supreme.
In the name of God, we dedicate this work to all travelers on the path of bhakti to know the Supreme Being.
In a work on Hinduism, it is unavoidable to use Sanskrit terms. The use of such terms has been minimized and the nearest English equivalent is given. An exhaustive glossary is appended. This work does fall short of the degree of excellence that it might have attained for which we request a comprehensive indulgence from the readers.
We offer our sincere gratitude to Cornelia Hayed from Germany for the sincere interest she has taken in our writings, going through the entire work, offering useful and valuable comments and thus helping in completing the work.
We owe our recognition to Shri Susheel K. Mittal of D.K. Print world, who took a personal interest in publishing this book.
Without his encouraging supports perhaps, this edition would We also owe our sincere thanks to all our well-wishers who helped us, in one way or the other, in making this book come to not have appeared.
We also owe our sincere thanks to all our well-wishers who helped us, in one way or the other, in making this book come to the light.
Let Peace and Harmony belong to the readers.
Oh! Almighty, from the death lead me to immortality.
|Life Sketch of Sri T Krishnamachar||vii|
|Benediction by Sri B.K.S. Iyengar||xiii|
|List of Tables and Figures||xxvii|
|1||Dawn Of Bhakti||1|
|Origion of Bhakti in Vedas||4|
|Bhakti in the Brãhmanas||11|
|Vedas, Brãhanas and their Philosophy||12|
|Bhakti in the Aranyakas||15|
|Bhakti in the Upanishads||21|
|The Concept of Bhakti in the Purnas||31|
|Great Devotees of the Purãnas||37|
|Representation of God in the Created World||43|
|Sandilya’s and Nãrada’s Aphorisms on Bhakti||44|
|Sandilya’s View on Bhakti||46|
|Närada’s View on Bhakti||50|
|Devotion in Patañjali’s Yoga-Sutra||60|
|Devotion Without Religious Convictions||62|
|2||Way To Develop Devotion||63|
|Man’s Need to Develop Devotion||66|
|Vnstadvajta Vedanta Point of View||67|
|Developing Devotion 1’||69|
|Developing Devotion in Absence||72|
|of a Spiritual Education||77|
|Absolute Self-surrender to God, Prapatti||79|
|3||Concept of Bhakti In Vedanta||87|
|Bhaktj in Vedanta||87|
|Bhakti in Vedanta Schools||96|
|Ramánuja: Bhakti and Prapatti||102|
|Bhedabheda, Dvaitädvaita of Nimbrka||108|
|Dualism, Dvaita of Madhva||110|
|Suddhdvaita, Pure Non-Dualism of Vallabha||112|
|The Alvärs (South Indian Vaisnava Saints)||116|
|Andal’s Concept of Devotion||120|
|4||Bhakti In Saivism||123|
|Devotion in aivism aiva Agama||124|
|Siva, the Supreme||126|
|The Concept of Bhakti in Kämir aivism||128|
|The Concept of Bhakti in Siva Mahapuralta||129|
|Concept of Bhakti||132|
|Siva Philosophy in Vayaviya Sathhitã||133|
|The Supreme Soul||135|
|Bondage and liberation||136|
|The Four Means to attain the Supreme||136|
|Specificity in the Viraaiva Practice of Devotion||137|
|Righteousness in aivism, Siva Dharma||139|
|Moral virtues of a Devotee||140|
|The Doctrine of Sa-sthala||142|
|5||Chosen Deity, Ista Devata||146|
|Deity in Vedic Religion||152|
|Chosen Deity, Isa Devata||162|
|Role of Chosen Deity in Devotion||177|
|The Universal Validity of Choosing a Deity||183|
|6||Ramanuja’s Teaching Of Bhakti||193|
|A Résumé of the Concept of Viiadvaita||193|
|God, Brahma and Brahman||193|
|The Absolute, Parabrahman||194|
|The Relation Between God and the Human Body||197|
|Religion and Philosophy||200|
|Jiva and Atma||202|
|Three Grades of Jiva||202|
|Spiritual Consciousness (uddha Sattva)||204|
|The Universality of Rämanuja’s Teaching||206|
|Ramanuja’s Influence on Bhakti in India||210|
|The Bhakti movement in North India||211|
|7||Practical Approach To Devotion||214|
|Consciousness of Devotion||215|
|Means of Developing Devotion||224|
|The Concept of Purity in Devotion||231|
|The Concept of Purity in Bhagavad-Gita||238|
|Concept of Purity in Yoga-Sutra||242|
|Concentration, Contemplation and Meditation in Devotion||245|
|Means to Different Stages of Devotion||275|
|Precondition to Devotion||283|
|Devotion as a means||287|
|Obstacles to Devotion||289|
|Ramänuja’s Indications for Devotional Exercises||290|
|Devotion and Self-surrender||298|
|Non-meditative Forms of Bhakti||301|