This devotional faith is called bhakti, which means devotion to God or the love of God. The word bhakti comes from a Sanskrit root which means “to love, to be devoted, to share.” Bhakti expresses the relationship between human beings and the Lord. It is a relationship of shared being and of mutual love.
The bhakti tradition found a full expression in the ancient Bhagavad-gita, "The Song of the Lord." The Lord is Krishna, the Supreme Lord, who manifested Himself as the charioteer of the warrior Arjuna in the ancient era of the Mahabharata war. The Bhagavad-gita is the dialogue of Krishna and Arjuna at the edge of the Battlefield Kurukshetra of Dharma (Right; Duty; Sacred Order) just as the battle is about to begin. It is an existential dialogue on some of the most deeply significant human questions, raised in this dramatic limit-situation: What is human life? What is transcendence? How can one be actively engaged in the world without being ensnared by it?
Krishna gradually reveals Himself to Arjuna as teacher, as friend, and finally as Lord. The Gétä has been heard and told and cherished by generations of Hindus, who have seen Krishna as the Supreme Godhead: one who is utterly and awesomely transcendent and who is, at the same time, personal, loving, and intimately related to human beings.
Like the New Testament, the Bhagavad-gita is a gently revolutionary treatise. It picks up and redefines many of the major terms of the ancient Vedic ritual tradition, making religious life accessible and meaningful not only to the elite few—the brahmana priests, the gurus, yogis, and monks—but also to the common people in the context of their ordinary lives of relationships and duties.
What is sacrifice? It is not the complicated and expensive ritual fire sacrifice described at length in the ancient scriptures and performed infrequently by dozens of priests. Rather, all of one's ordinary actions, done in an attitude of surrender to God, can be called "sacrifice:'
What is renunciation? It is not leaving the world behind to become a wandering monk or a hermit. Rather, it is active participation in the affairs of the world, renouncing only what is hardest to renounce: egotistical attachment to the fruits of one's labors.
What is worship? It is not elaborate ritual which only a few can afford, but simple offerings to God, made with a pure heart. As Krishna explains to Arjuna: “Whoever offers to Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion [bhakti], that person's offering of love made with a pure heart do I accept.” (Bg. 9.26)
What is yoga? It is discipline. That to which one "yokes" oneself is one's yoga. It is not only the spiritual discipline of those adepts who seek liberating wisdom (jnana-yoga). It is also the discipline of action without attachment to the personal rewards of action (karma-yoga). And it is also the discipline of devotion to the Lord in all one's activities (bhakti-yoga).
Who is the yogé? Who is the priest? Not just the privileged few may follow the path of yoga or make acceptable offerings in the temple. Everyone, men and women, high caste and low, may be a yogé of devotion or may offer the simple fruits of action to the Lord.
Among the many religious ideas which the Gita shapes for the later tradition, bhakti is one of the most significant: the love of God which gives life and meaning to all one does—ritual, spiritual discipline, the search for truth, and ethical action.
The tradition of devotional piety that began in India with the Gita is long, varied, and rich. The life of the incarnate' Lord Krishna is told in some of the great scriptures, particularly the Bhagavata Purana. He was born of a royal family—and rescued at birth from His uncle, the wicked king Kaàsa, who wanted to kill the baby Krishna.
He grew up in the care of foster parents in the village of Vrindavana in rural north India. In. His life among these simple villagers, Krishna's devotees have discovered meaningful paradigms for the human-divine relationship. Krishna was the child who grew up in their midst, and people loved the child Krishna with the spontaneous love of parents who delight in the playful exuberance of their children. Krishna was the heroic youth who conquered many a demon and protected the people of the land of Vraja. His companions loved Him—with the trusting, admiring love of friend for friend. To the young women of Vrindavana Krishna was the enchanting lover. Here one sees one of the most dramatic paradigms of human-divine love: the risking, serving, fervent, and sometimes anguished love of lover for beloved. Krishna and Radha are the divine pair, lover and beloved.
by Dr. Diana L. Eck
- Covering our intelligence: (Avaranatmika)
- Pulling us down: (Praksepatmika)
- Yama (moral conduct): noninjury to others, truthfulness, nonstealing, continence, and noncovetousness
- Niyama (religious observances): purity of body and mind, contentment in all circumstances, self-discipline, self-study (contemplation), and devotion to God and guru
- Asana: right posture
- Pranayama: control of prana, the subtle life currents in the body
- Pratyahara: interiorization through withdrawal of the senses from external objects
- Dharana: focused concentration; holding the mind to one thought or object
- Dhyana: meditation, absorption in the vast perception of God in one of His infinite aspects — Bliss, Peace, Cosmic Light, Cosmic Sound, Love, Wisdom, etc. — all-pervading throughout the whole universe
- Samadhi: superconscious experience of the oneness of the individualized soul with Cosmic Space
- Ahimsa or Non-injury
- Satya or Truthfulness
- Asteya or Nonstealing
- Brahmacharya or Sexual Purity
- Kshama or Patience
- Dhriti or Steadfastness
- Daya or Compassion
- Arjava or Honesty
- Mitahara or Moderate Diet
- Saucha or Purity
- Hri or Modesty
- Santosha or Contentment
- Dana or Charity
- Astikya or Faith
- Ishvarapujana or Worship of the Lord
- Siddhanta Sravana or Scriptural Listening
- Mati or Cognition
- Vrata or Sacred Vows
- Japa or Incantation
- Tapas or Austerity
The food we eat has one or more of these qualities of energy and affects our mind, body and emotions accordingly. Hence, what we eat is important. Sattvic food is especially good for a contemplative life.
Tamasic foods include heavy meats, and foods that are spoiled, treated, processed or refined to the point where the natural values are no longer present. Tamasic foods make the mind dull; they tend to build up the basic odic energies of the body and the instinctive subconscious mind. Tamasic foods also imbue the astral body with heavy, odic force.
Rajasic foods include hot or spicy foods, spices and stimulants. These increase the odic heat of the physical and astral bodies and stimulate physical and mental activity. Sattvic foods include whole grains and legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground. These foods help refine the astral and physical bodies, allowing the actinic, superconscious flow to permeate and invigorate the entire being.
People who are unfolding on the yoga path manifest the sattvic nature. Their path is one of peace and serenity. The rajasic nature is restless and manifests itself in physical and intellectual activities. It is predominant in the spirit of nationalism, sports and business competition, law enforcement and armed forces and other forms of aggressive activity. The tamasic nature is dull, fearful and heavy. It is the instinctive mind in its negative state and leads to laziness, habitual living, physical and mental inertia. As it is by cultivating the rajasic nature that tamas is overcome, so it is by evolving into the pure sattvic nature that the continual ramification of rajas is transcended. It is important to maintain a balance of our several natures, but to attain toward the expression of the rajasic and sattvic natures in as great a degree as possible.
As you examine a menu closely, you will find that you may allow your inner guidance to tell you what is most appropriate to eat. The desire body of the conscious mind may want one type of food, but the inner body of the subsuperconscious may realize another is better for you. It is up to you to make the decision that will allow a creative balance in your diet. This awakens the inner willpower, that strength from within that gives the capacity for discrimination.
The flagship sites are:
- Om refers to the Supreme Infinite Spirit or Person.
- Tat refers to ‘that’, or ‘all that is’.
- Sat refers to ‘truth’, that which is not evanescent or ephemeral, the underlying basis, which is most fundamental and universal.
Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung
Sa Ta Na Ma: The five primal sounds representing the complete cycle of life.
Sa: Impersonal Infinity
Sa Say: Totality of Infinity
So: personal sense of merger and infinity
Hung: Infinity vibrating and real. (So Hung: I am Thou)
Twenty Keys for Spiritual Living in Contemporary Times
The Ten Vedic Restraints, Yama
According to a legend of Lingodbhavamurthy narrated in Linga Purana, once Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma were fighting to prove who was the Supreme Being. At this point, Lord Shiva appeared as a flaming Linga and challenged the duo to measure the gigantic Linga (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva). Brahma and Vishnu decided to find one end each and declared that whoever returned first would be acknowledged as supreme. Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and went down. Brahma, in the form of a swan, flew upwards. They searched for days but in vain and returned to the starting point exhausted and bewildered. At that moment, the central part of the pillar split open and Shiva revealed himself in his full glory. Brahma and Vishnu realized their mistake and acknowledged Shiva as the Supreme Being.Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity. Hindus believe that a sincere devotee who recites these 12 names regularly in the morning and evening washes all the sins committed in the previous seven births and attains all the powers and Siddhis.
Significance of Jyotirlinga: The Puranas vociferously sing the praises of the greatness of the Jyotirlingas. By reciting the name of this, one can eliminate all the sins. The Sadhaka becomes calm, chaste and pure. He becomes illuminated and enlightened with supreme and divine knowledge. The names mentioned for the benefits of all:
One who recites these 12 names regularly in the morning and evening he washes all the sins committed in the previous 7 births and attains all the powers and Siddhis.
The Three Gunas
The Three Doshas