Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.06
An Applied Method of Practice of the Agamas and the Vedas
The Right Path for a Pious and Peaceful Way of Life with True Happiness
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Lesson - 91 :
The Pathway of Bhakthi or Devotion
The Bhakthi Pathway of Devotional Prayers
Please see below
for Lesson - 02
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Bhakthi Yoga is the Spiritual discipline of devotion or love and attachment directed only to God. It is the devotion to one's personal God in one of the forms. This is in contrast to the formless and impersonal supreme divinity of the Jñana Yogin and the Advaithin. At times, the concept of a personal Deity is erroneously described by some as a projection of the human mind. Hinduism does support such a view.

According to Advaitha or non-dualism, the supreme impersonal Divinity or Brahman appears as God in various forms through its own inscrutable creative power, the Yoga Maya. The devotee sees everything as a manifestation of God, and there is no place for jealousy, hatred, anger, greed or egoistic pride. The discipline of Bhakthi is the easiest and most natural of all yogas. It does not demand any change or suppression of desires or any normal human impulses. It only calls for the devotees to turn them towards God. The devotee sees God in every thing and every thing in God.

Some times, imperfect knowledge leads one to be narrow minded, and to consider his devotion and his ideals are superior. It shows a dislike to the religious ideals of others. This leads to hatred, cruelty, war and blood shed through fanaticism. The doctrine of Bhakti Yoga does not support this action. They see God everywhere.

During the initial or preparatory phase of Bhakthi, one desires for the spiritual discipline and prays to one of the several forms of God in addition to all their materialistic way of life. In the advanced stage, the devotee feels God within himself and everywhere around him. He will be always happy and nothing shakes his beliefs or makes him sad. In Bhakthi doctrine, a devotee may see God in ever so many forms all the time in their prayers.

This inner attitude that expresses this relationship is called Bhava. They see Him as a Master, as a mother, as a child, as a brother, as a father, as a servant, as a friend or even as a husband or lover with the devotees as the girl friends who totally surrender all of themselves. They consider the path of devotion [Bhakthi] is the ultimate way to reach salvation, after following the path of selfless duty [Karma] and obtaining knowledge [Jñaana] of the Divine as the Supreme Reality.

 

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Lesson - 92 :
The Spiritual Discipline of Bhakthi Yoga
Devotion, Love and Prayers in Practice
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The main forms of religious practice consists 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 was 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 Jñana 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 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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Chapter - 6: Daily Practice of Four Yogas in the Faith - Lessons 91 & 92
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Lessons: ~: 81 & 82 :-: 83 & 84 :-: 85 & 86 :-: 87 & 88 :-: 89 & 90 :-: 91 & 92 :-: 93 & 94 :-: 95 & 96 :~:
 
 
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