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What is Bhakti Yoga? 2017-09-27T20:49:30+00:00

What is Bhakti Yoga?

Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – loving service. Yoga in Sanskrit means – connection. Bhakti yoga means to connect to the supreme by means of loving pure devotional service.

The Bhagavad-Gita describes a variety of yoga practices. Among them are Karma-Yoga (the practice of conscious action), Jnana-Yoga (the study of philosophy and contemplation) and Hatha-Yoga (the practice of yoga-asanas and breathing exercises). The Gita ultimately prescribes Bhakti Yoga (the path of dedication and love); it is the culmination of these other yoga practices. Bhakti Yoga focuses on developing our dedication, our service and our love for the supreme being.

Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj which means to link up with, or combine. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – loving service. Bhakti-yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service.

The Bhagavad Gita, the core spiritual text for ISKCON, describes variety of yoga practices. Among them are karma-yoga (the practice of conscious action), jnana-yoga (philosophical study and contemplation), and hatha-yoga (the practice of yoga-asanas and breathing exercises).

Today, some yoga practitioners consider the physical benefits of yoga to be the end in themselves. But according to the traditional yoga systems, physical exercises are just one step on path of God realization. The Gita ultimately prescribes bhakti-yoga (the path of dedication and love) as the culmination of other yoga practices. Bhakti-yoga focuses on developing our dedication, service and love for the Divinity, Lord Krishna.

The path of bhakti-yoga is developed through a variety of activities. These include mantra meditation, or the chanting of the names of God. The chanting is done either individually on beads (japa) or in community by chanting mantras accompanied by music (kirtan). The study of sacred texts such as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, associating with like-minded spiritual aspirants, eating sanctified vegetarian food, and living in a way that upholds the principles of truthfulness, mercy, austerity, and cleanliness, are all core practices for a life of follower of bhakti.

Mantra meditation is one of the key practices of a bhakti yogi. This is done through japa (chanting on beads) and kirtan (musical chanting in groups).
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