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Book Code: ES43
Paperback:
xii+190 pages
ISBN:  8170520169
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.35 inches
Shipping Weight: 210 grams

THE ESSENCE OF BHAKTI YOGA

by Swami Sivananda

Table of Contents

Dedication  
About This Book (Back Cover)  
Preface vii
   

BOOK ONE
ESSENCE OF BHAKTI

 
Philosophy of Bhakti 3
The Doctrine of Grace 9
The Divine Name 11
Prayer 14
Faith and Aspiration 17
Four Kinds of Bhaktas 19
Nava-Vidha Bhakti 20
Nava-Vidha Bhakti According to Ramacharitamanas of Goswami Tulasidasji 37
Bhava and Rasa in Bhakti 37
Five Kinds of Bhavas 42
Self-surrender 52
Para Bhakti 55
Siva Bhakti Sutras 57
Puja or Worship 57
Anushthana 60

Eleven Points for Development of Bhakti

65
Bhakti Yoga Alphabets 69
To Pseudo Para-Bhaktas 70
Nama-Aparadha 73
   

BOOK TWO
BHAKTI RASAMRITAM

 
Bhakti Marga 75
Bhava in Bhakti 78
Navavidha Bhakti 82
Feeling of Separation 87
Prayer to Lord Krishna 89
Prayer to Lord Hari 93
Para Bhakti 104
Ninda Stuti 106
Rambles in Bhakti 115
   

BOOK THREE
SANKIRTAN YOGA

 
Sankirtan Purifies and Nourishes 117
Divya Nama Kirtan 124
Kirtan in Bengal 128
Kirtan in Maharashtra 137
Ardha Vasa 138
Latvian Sankirtan 139
Kirtan at Ananda Kutir 140
Maharashtra Kirtan Dhwanis 142
Selected Kirtan Dhwanis 143
Eka Sloki Ramayana 145

Eka Sloki Bhagavata

146
   

APPENDIX

 
Hari, Rama, Krishna 149
Radha, the Personification of Bhakti 149
Song of Navavidha Bhakti 152
Song of Immanence of Ram 154
A Conversation Between a Theist and an Atheist 155
Bhakti Yoga—I 171
Bhakti Yoga—II 171
What Is Bhakti? 172

Navavidha-Bhakti

173
Ten Bhakti Commandments 174
Rules for Japa 175
Yoga of Self-surrender—I 177
Yoga of Self-surrender—II 178
Harvest of God-realisation 181
Siva’s Kirtan 181
Devi Kirtan 183
Hari Kirtan Dhvanis 189
Narayana-Sadasiva Kirtan 189

Dedicated
to
All Sincere Aspirants
Who Tread
The Path of
Devotion


About This Book

In the Essence of Bhakti Yoga has been laid out in great detail the course of Bhakti Yoga from start to finish. Every milestone had been clearly indicated. Every next step towards the goal has been carefully guided. Every chance of getting into despondency has been eliminated and by going into minute details every effort has been made to rescue the despondent soul.

Bhakti Yoga is not without its method, though it is the method of striking the fountain of emotional sweetness and rightly guiding the leaping nectar of devotional striving. Properly canalised it leads it leads to speedy self-fulfilment. As such, Bhakti Yoga is a hidden science.

To shed light on this difficult Science is beyond the powers of the intellect, and the imagination, and is possible only for one who has experimented the principles of this Science on himself and realised its truths.

The Essence of Bhakti Yoga, coming as it does from the inspired pen of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj is, therefore, a rare opportunity for the reading public and the surest guide for the Bhakti Yogi aspirant. It unfolds in the simplest language the secrets of the emotions of "Bhakti" or Divine Love. It analyses the whole psychology of Bhakti and explains the significance of every element of it. It gives ample guidance in the difficult art of building those elements which constitute the psychosis of God-consciousness. It makes the practice of God’s presence easy.


PREFACE

Ask any one: "Is there a thing which you value greater than your life?" Most of the people thus questioned will laugh at you; a few, who might declare that they do value, say their wife, son, honour, etc., more than their own life, would fail to prove themselves true when put to the test. One ochre-robed Sannyasin with an arresting personality will smile—obviously pitying the ignorance that the question betrays, and reply: "Yes! Surely, that is God." Bewildered, you look up: that sage is Swami Sivananda.

The versatile genius who has trodden the path of Yoga and mastered it in all its aspects, boldly proclaims to the world that the foundation of Yoga and the basis of his achievement is BHAKTI. All through his writings, even on the most abstruse Advaita philosophy runs this golden streak of Devotion, Love. He has proved by his very renunciation that God or the Atman, is dearer to him than his life. And, so did he thunder forth on the Gramophone Record: "There is something dearer than your life itself...."

One could see him doing Kirtan and dancing in Ecstasy, hear his discourses on Bhakti—then would one realise the depth of his love for God. Need we add that any work, especially on Bhakti, from the pen of such a one should be highly elevating? Not only this volume, but all his works on Bhakti and Kirtan, have cast a spell of that divine impulse which urges man to God.

Human nature is to love. The average man is mostly governed by his emotions. He feels stifled if he cannot direct his love towards some object or other; if not a human being, at least an animal, a dog or a cat. This sort of love is gross, false, illusory and unworthy in the end.

But the pursuit of God through Bhakti or loving devotion is the sweetest and best of human endeavours. In fact the mobilisation of human feelings in the search of God is the true alchemy. The human heart panting in love for the Divine is the real sublimation. Human love triumphantly seeking God for its prize is the highest virtue and excellence.

Many have been the apostles of Bhakti in the annals of India’s spiritual history. Even the founders of the schools of high philosophical thought have practised and preached devotion to the Lord.

It is the greatest and finest of arts to love God absolutely artlessly. Its subtle technique consists in cultivating a permanent psychosis which is the very stuff of the highest and best poetry, noblest philosophy, and the ultimate aim of arts, sciences and religions. Psychology applied to this line of life is the rarest achievement of Saints and Sages.

If you can burn all the marrow of your bones to light up the house of your love and derive ecstatic happiness in so doing all through your individual existence whether here or hereafter, if you can go on loving without ever expecting your love to be reciprocated, nay, even if trampled down mercilessly, then take to the path of Bhakti. As such Bhakti is self-recompensing. Its sweetness enriches you with every fiery ordeal you pass through like perfume that grows intenser with the crushing of the rose. In the Essence of Bhakti Yoga is set forth the perfumer’s rare art of squeezing your love-laden heart to yield the riches of Bhakti or Divine Love and devotion.

This Path of Devotion is not without its snags and pitfalls. The love-laden heart of the Lord’s devotee gets so high strung at times that its tendrils may snap any instant. In utmost bewilderment of sweetest yearning, patience is exhausted. Life becomes dull and dreary. The body becomes a burden. Vision gets blurred and the path onward is not discernible. Mira, in one such moment, set out to drown herself. Something is then needed by way of a specific to save this soul from sinking into helpless despondency. Nothing can excel the Guru’s hand; it is the only specific; in its absence, the word of the Guru works magic. The utterances of the world’s realised souls are truly magical.

In the Essence of Bhakti Yoga has been laid out in great detail the course of Bhakti Yoga from start to finish. Every milestone has been clearly indicated. Every next step towards the goal has been carefully guided. Every chance of getting into despondency has been eliminated and by going into minute details every effort has been made to rescue the despondent soul.

Bhakti Yoga is not without its method, though it is the method of striking the fountain of emotional sweetness and rightly guiding the leaping nectar of devotional striving. Properly canalised it leads to speedy self-fulfilment. As such, Bhakti Yoga is a hidden science.

To shed light on this difficult Science is beyond the powers of the intellect and the imagination, and is possible only for one who has experimented the principles of this Science on himself and realised its truths.

The Essence of Bhakti Yoga coming as it does from the inspired pen of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj is, therefore, a rare opportunity for the reading public and the surest guide for the Bhakti Yogi aspirant. It unfolds in the simplest language the secrets of the emotions of "Bhakti" or Divine Love. It analyses the whole psychology of Bhakti and explains the significance of every element of it. It gives ample guidance in the difficult art of building those elements which constitute the psychosis of God-consciousness. It makes the practice of God’s presence easy.

It also makes the study of the poetics and rhetorics of emotions a very serene affair. This study chastens and subdues the mind instead of making it turbulent as in the case of the study of the usual Rasas or poetic sentiments, in literature. As such it solves the difficult educational problem: "How can the Rasas be studied without arousing passion?" It combines religious study with meditation. It leaves ample scope of exercise to the teacher and the taught alike to find out apt illustrations from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. The Essence of Bhakti Yoga can, therefore, be easily adapted as text-book for the benefit of the young.

THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY

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