Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma
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  Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 1  
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Chapter - 5:
An Introduction to Paths of Yoga Hindu Traditions
 
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HR105 - 06
The Spiritual Disciplines of the Four Yogas for Religious Experience
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Lesson: 5-06
The Spiritual Discipline of Bhakthi Yoga
Bhakthi Yoga as the Path of Devotion, Love and Prayers to Deities
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Essentials of the Bhakthi Yoga as the Philosophy of Total Surrender to the Supreme
 
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The main forms of religious practice consist of several types of poojas or prayer services and Temple rituals to God in various forms. The practice also included singing bhajans in praise of God, telling the stories from mythology and reading and explaining the scriptures. Most of the schools of Bhakthi pathway are guided by the teachings of Gurus of the 8th to 15th century like Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Meykandar, Sri Thirumoolar, Sri Vallabha, Sri Thulasidas, Sri Chaitanya and several others in that period.

Bhakthi pathway became a very popular form of worship with Temple prayer rituals and home vigraha forms of rituals. They often used group singing and house worship of an Ishtadevatha, a personal Deity, as a picture [Prathima]. There were differences from house to house and different areas of the country in this practice, but they all realized in their prayers that they pray to One God in various forms.

Originally, group-singing of Bhajans were popular in ancient times among the people of Southern India even before the idea of Vedic rituals of the Gangetic plains spread to the South. This became very popular in the Northern India during the Moghul rule with religious persecution and destruction of most Temples by the Muslim rulers. Local languages of the community were used and even common uneducated people could follow this practice.

The Saivites and Smarthas followed Advaitha, prayers, bhajans and Bhakthi path along with Jnana yoga and Karma yoga pathway. Bhakthi pathway is most popular among the Vaishnavites. The Vaishnavites always considered that prayers to the Divine Narayana or Krishna are the basic duty to be performed by every one with Saranagathi or Prapatti which is the act of self surrender to His Grace.

The Southern School of Vaishnavites, Thenkalai, followers of Pillai Lokaacharya and Manavala Mahaamunigal said it is Maarjaara Nyaaya, like the Cat carrying its kitten; God will help us without any effort on our part. The Northern School, Vadakalai, followers of Vedhaantha Desikar said it is Markata Nyaaya, like the baby monkey clinging to the mother's belly, one has to show at least some effort and desire and God will carry us through our life cycle.

 
 

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Lessons: - :~: 5-01 :~: 5-02 :~: 5-03 :~: 5-04 :~: 5-05 :~: 5-06 :~: 5-07 :~: 5-08 :~: 5-09 :~: 5-10 :~:
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