HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "bhakti"

Word

Bhakti

Sanskrit

भक्ति

IAST

bhakti

In General

Bhakti is the pure devotion to godhead where the fruit of action is the devotion itself. Bhakti is more for personalized God with many humane qualities as against the Vedic idea of god as forces. The charactors in puranic literature like Sri Rama and Sri Krisha became strong forces to establish Bhakti cult. While God stand as a hypothesis to all other methods; bhakti takes it as a reality and find an end in the love(Raga). The love of God is the ultimate Bliss and bhakta do not desire anything beyond that. Devotion thus becomes the negation of Ahamkara. It is vairagya of worldly materials and its possessions and this lead one to renunciation. It is the utmost viveka since it lead one to the reality. Bhakti cult donot discriminated people on cast creed even people believed in other religion were attracted. Kabir was brought up as a muslim became a bhakta of Hindu system, his believe was for a benevolent almighty with all the good attribute- sagunabrahman.

The Bhakti movement is strong during the age of Muslim rulers, where all religious activities with state patronage were stopped. Muslim rulers demolished religious institutions and did not allow religious activities like Yajna in which lot of money and participation of so many learned scholars was necessary. So, as a natural choice, bhakti became popular. In fact, it is the only mode of religious activities that can be practiced and propagated during the age. For most of the acharyas of the cult, bhakti is dualist in nature as against the Jnana marga of advaita and ritualism of mimamsaka. Later, Bhagavad gita become more popular and it combined outlook of Jnana(nirguna) and bhakti(saguna) to fit for the free minds.

The savants of bhakti cult were very liberal; the doors o bhakti is open to all, the literate and illiterate, the upper and lower cast, the rich and poor; there is no fixed methodology for devotion. Bhakas do not followed Mantra, Tantra or Vedic literature either for their lack of knowledge or that it is not very useful to them. But they always respected the tradition, the authentic texts and mantra. Bhaktas (devotees), considered themselves as lucky to tread in their own way in spiritual path – their acharyas used to advise them with some mantra, but no strict rule for correct pronunciation of the mantra or particular number or time to repeat it. All they have to do is constantly remember the name of their chosen deity, repeating it mentally or otherwise. Their bhava (strong feeling of love) alone will take them to their goal. Devotion is enough. Bhakti is like an unpaid a journey; for few it is just like a beggar travelling without a valid ticket, for few others it is a servant following the master and for a few lucky ones, it is a friend accommodating him. Some times bhakta may be pushed out or honored with the highest seat but he cannot neglect him for the full journey. The person go by ticket has to get down at the specific place, though he may get a royal seat. The bhakta has no binding he can travel with lord to any place, if he is lucky.

All the Bhaktas need not be without any desire as we cannot expect everybody to be ideal. As there are people with different attitude, their devotion may also differ. Bhagavad Gita identify four type of Bhaktas as arthi, artharthi, jijnasu, Jnani. To BG jnani is the ideal one. The arthi make devotion for fulfilling worldly desire. Artharthi cry for help from God when some difficulties come across and jijnasu make it for enthusiasm. Narada bhakti sutra gives a still bigger list of 9 types of bhakti.

The bhakta who sing and dance in ecstasy then the lord make his presence. This feeling is enough for bhakta. Devotion can never be experienced through intellect. Their mind always speak. The path is through love. Every moment of separation is a pang of death to the lovers. The only word that come to their lip are. “Lord I am Thine and Thou are Mine”. The devotee is already yielded fully before the chosen deity so cannot yield his head before any other God or person of authority. Their lives are differently lead. The decorum of society does not bind them. They do not follow custom, ceremonies and formal prayers. They most often break the social rules.

Generations of devotees by and large remembered the savants of Bhati cult for their simple arguments and devotion. Once, a famous yogi in Vrindavan refuse to meet Mirabai as he prefer not to meet any ladies for religious reason. To the Yogin Mirabai asked, who is the other man(Purusha) on earth other than her Giridhara gopala ? The learned Yogin apologized and made his presence before Mirabai. The religious ecstasy through which the great devotees passed through reverberated for many generations and inspired many. Mirabhai, Haridas, Purandaradasa, Kabir, Tulsidas, Ramahamsa paramahamsa and an endless number of devotees kept alive the fervor of devotional aspect in Hindu Religion during its most difficult period. Some of the finest poetry in every Indian languages were written by the Bhakti cult sages.

Narada bhakti sutra and shandilys bhakti sutra are two studies on bhakti

Veda

Veda also have elements of Bhakti. the ninth mantra of first sukta of RV is a devotional stanza

Purana

Purana had developed and nurtured the bhakti

Related entries found !

Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana
Bhakti Cultभक्ति सम्प्रदायbhakti sampradāya

Bhakti is the deep loving feelings of a devotee’s heart for his beloved God where all...

The bhakti cult were not actually opposed to Vedic culture, they only criticized hollow... Read More
Bhakti Margaभक्ति मार्गbhakti mārga

The path of devotion leading to union with God.

See also: Bhakti cult

Read More
Bhakti Sutraभक्ति सूत्रbhakti sūtraA work on Bhakti Yoga authored by the sage Narada. Another text by the same title is... Read More
Bhakti Yogaभक्ति योगbhakti yoga

The yoga of attaining union with God through the prescribed spiritual discipline of the...

Read More
Bhakti Cultभक्ति सम्प्रदायbhakti sampradāya

Bhakti is the deep loving feelings of a devotee’s heart for his beloved God where all...

The bhakti cult were not actually opposed to Vedic culture, they only criticized hollow... Read More
Bhakti Margaभक्ति मार्गbhakti mārga

The path of devotion leading to union with God.

See also: Bhakti cult

Read More
Bhakti Sutraभक्ति सूत्रbhakti sūtraA work on Bhakti Yoga authored by the sage Narada. Another text by the same title is... Read More
Bhakti Yogaभक्ति योगbhakti yoga

The yoga of attaining union with God through the prescribed spiritual discipline of the...

Read More