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Bhakti- Yoga

Vijay_Srinivasan_at_praxair.com
Date: Thu Dec 11 1997 - 05:58:29 PST

Dear Prapatti Group Members:

Krishna Susarla raised some interesting questions about Bhakti Yoga.  Today
the term Bhakti has become all encompassing.  Any thing that touches the
affective or emotional side of our personality is termed as Bhakti.  I have
seen it translated as 'Love', 'Devotion', 'Yearning for the Divine
presence', 'as the fifth Purushartha' etc.. All these are true.

Bhakti according to Ramanujacharya involves as its first step the training
of both the intellect and the will.  This is classified under the 'Sadhana
Saptaka' or the seven-fold moral and spiritual discipline.  The advaitins
have what is called 'Sadhana-Chatushtaya'.  The seven sadhanas to upasana
or bhakti (taken from Bodhayana Vritti by our Acharya) are: Viveka, Vimoka,
Abhyasa, Kriya, Kalyana, AnavasAda, and Anuddharsa. These seven steps
encompass the essential elements of Karma and Jnana Yoga whose main purpose
is to discipline the will and the intellect and for the self to realise
that it is the sesha of Bhagavan.

The seven terms are explained (by no means elaborate)  as -  Viveka:
Purification of the body through Sattvic food and cleaniness;  Vimoka:
Freedom from Kama and Krodha; Abhyasa: Continuous practice of the presence
of the Antharyamin; Kriya:  Five-fold duty and it includes Vedic
recitation, sacrifice, benevolence and tapas, also duty towards guru, the
forefathers;  Kalyana:  Consists of the practice of truth, integrity, daya
and ahimsa; Anavasada: Freedom from despair due to disappointment and being
cheerful; and finally Anuddharsa: Absence of exaltation (i.e. avoiding
extremes).

Equipped with these prerequisites the sadhaka enters on the life of
meditation and cultivates the love of Bhaghavan.  Upasana or Bhakti is the
ceaseless remembrance of God, which is likened to the uninterrupted flow of
oil. (tailadhArAvad avicchinna-smriti-samtAna-rUpa).  As already pointed
out by Kalale these are further elaborated in the Bhaghavat Gita and other
scriptures.

Vijayaraghavan