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Encyclopedia > Bhakti
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Bhakti (Devanāgarī: भक्ति) is a word of Sanskrit origin meaning devotion and also the path of devotion itself, as in Bhakti-Yoga. Within Hinduism the word is used exclusively to denote devotion to a particular deity or form of God. Within Vaishnavism bhakti is only used in conjunction with Vishnu or one of his associated incarnations, it is likewise used towards Shiva by followers of Shaivism. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... () is an abugida script used to write, either along with other scripts, or exclusively, several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Marwari, Konkani, Bhojpuri, languages from Nepal like Nepali, Tharu Nepal Bhasa and sometimes Kashmiri and Romani. ... Bhakti yoga is the Hindu term for the spiritual practice of fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Temple dedicated to the worship of Vishnu as Venkateswara. ... Vishnu (IAST , Devanagari ), (honorific: Sri Vishnu) also known as Narayana is the Supreme Being or Ultimate Reality for Vaishnavas and a manifestation of Brahman in the Advaita or Smarta traditions. ... The ten avatars of Vishnu, copyright BBT In Hindu philosophy, an avatar (also spelt as avatara) (Sanskrit: , ), most commonly refers to the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of a higher being (deva), or the Supreme Being (God) onto planet Earth. ... Shiva (IAST: , also spelled Siva; Hindi, Shiv) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Bhakti as a process of yoga is described in detail famously within the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures, such as Narada Bhakti Sutras etc. Statue of Shiva performing Yogic meditation Yoga (Devanagari: योग) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. ... Bhagavad Gīta भगवद्गीता, composed ca the fifth - second centuries BC, is part of the epic poem Mahabharata, located in the Bhisma-Parva chapters 23–40. ...

Contents

History

There is no exact information as to the early origins of Bhakti, however it is believed that it was present to at least some extent in late Vedic times. It appears to have started in Tamil Nadu and spread slowly northwards, eventually becoming an accepted doctrine within a number of paths within Hinduism. The Alvars and Nayanars are known to have been particularly influential throughout this time. Between 1200-1700 A.D., the Bhakti Movements in India increased in popularity and numbers, growing into the various branches known today. The Vedic period (or Vedic Age) is the period in the history of India when the sacred Vedic Sanskrit texts such as the Vedas were composed. ... Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ... The Alvars are Hindu saints, followers of Lord Vishnu. ... The Nayanars were the sincere and ardent devotees of Lord Siva. ... Bhakti movements are Hindu religious movements in which the main spiritual practice is the fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti. ...


It has to be noted that the ancient Vedic religion did not practice idol worship. It is thus believed that devotionalism in its modern sense may have been influenced by development of Buddhism, which started using idols (murtis) around 2nd century BC. A large clay Ganesha murti at Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, 2004 In Hinduism, a murti (Devanagari: मूर्ति) typically refers to an image in which the Divine Spirit is murta, or expressed. ...


The ultimate goal

The forces that cause creation sustain and maintain that which has become created and eventually cause the destruction of that which was created – named Brahman, by the Upanishads – permeates everything in the Creation. Brahman is the self creating force that is in all that has a name and form as well as that which remains formless and nameless. Brahman (nominative ) is the concept of the supreme spirit found in Hinduism. ...


Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a small cult within Hinduism, believes in 3 stages of bhakti: The first is an impersonal state of blissful consciousness, similar to nirvana where one is aware of the great universal Brahman effulgence permeating everything; the second is classified as Paramatma realisation, wherein one is actually able to see the Form of Godhead alongside one's own soul (atma); the third and ultimate realisation is described as Bhagavan[1], in this state one has a direct loving relationship with The Supreme Personality of Godhead himself, in one or more of His transcendental forms. Temple dedicated to the worship of Vishnu as Venkateswara. ... Higher Consciousness - also called Super Consciousness (Yoga), Buddhic Consciousness (Theosophy), Objective Consciousness (Gurdjieff), Christ Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness and God-consciousness (Islam and Hinduism), to name but a few - are expressions used in various traditions of spiritual science and psychology to denote the consciousness of a human being who has reached... ( Sanskrit: ; Pali: निब्बान Nibbāna; Vietnamese: Niết bàn; Chinese: 涅槃; Mandarin Pinyin: nièpán, Cantonese: nihppùhn; Japanese: nehan ); Korean: 열반, yeolbhan; Thai: nibpan นิพพาน); Tibetan mya-ngan-las-das-pa; Mongolian ɣasalang-aca nögcigsen), is a Sanskrit word that literally means to cease blowing (as when a candle flame... A universal proposition is one that affirms a property of all the members of a set. ... In Hindu theology, Paramatman is Absolute Atman or Supreme Soul. ... The Atman or Atma (IAST: Ātmā, sanskrit: आत्म‍ ) is a philosophical term used within Hinduism and Vedanta to identify the soul. ... Bhagavan, also written Bhagwan or Bhagawan, from the Sanskrit nt-stem (nominative/vocative ) (hindi sandhi vichchhed:भ्+अ+ग्+अ+व्+आ+न्+अ)literally means: भ bh=bhoo soil अ a=agni fire ग g=gagan sky वा va=vaayu air न n=neer water BHAGAVAN is said to be composed up of all five matters other meanings possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous... In religion, transcendence is a condition or state of being that surpasses, and is independent of, physical existence. ...


Advaita however believes that bhakti starts with a form that is worshipped Ishta-deva, while the final result of bhakti yoga is full liberation from false personal identity, when Self and Absolute are found to be One. Advaita Vedanta is probably the best known of all Vedanta schools of Hinduism, the others being Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita. ... Ishta-Deva, or Ishta Devata is a term from Hinduism that means chosen Deity or revered aspect of God by a devotee and is a widely held concept in Smartism. ...


Arcana: Deity worship

The Smarta tradition of Hinduism recommends that each person may choose a deity of worship (ishta-devata) to which they are most attracted. If the grossest manifestation is the only thing that suits one’s taste, or mood, or psychological make-up or intellect, one is free to worship God in that form, as long as the form itself is bonafide and from scripture (not imaginary). It is in this spirit that Sahasranama stotras (1000 names of God) and ashtottara-stotras (poems of praise through 108 names) are found in abundance in Hindu religious literature for almost every deity. It is this train of thought in the Smarta Hindu mind that lives with different puranas though they extoll different deities. Smarta is a Hindu follower of Smartism. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Ishta-Deva, or Ishta Devata is a term from Hinduism that means chosen Deity or revered aspect of God by a devotee and is a widely held concept in Smartism. ... The word Sahasra-nāma in Sanskrit means 1000 names. Sahasra-nāma-stotra stands for a poem or a succession of verses (shlokas,) which contain thousand names of God. ... 108 is the natural number following 107 and preceding 109. ... Purana (Sanskrit: , meaning tales of ancient times) is the name of an ancient Indian genre (or a group of related genres) of Hindu or Jain literature (as distinct from oral tradition). ...


In contrast, the Vaishnava tradition teaches that only Vishnu is to be worshipped. Meanwhile, the Saivite tradition teaches that only Shiva is to be worshipped. It has to be noted, however, that Vishnu in Vaishnavism is a personal anthropomorphic being, while most schools of Shavism consider Shiva to be either a transpersonal being or a symbol for an undescribable Absolute (Nirguna Brahman) Vaishnavism is the branch of Hinduism in which Vishnu or one of his avatars (i. ... Vishnu (IAST , Devanagari ), (honorific: Sri Vishnu) also known as Narayana is the Supreme Being or Ultimate Reality for Vaishnavas and a manifestation of Brahman in the Advaita or Smarta traditions. ... Saivite: of Saivism; belonging to Saivism, the Hindu denomination that worships God Siva as the Supreme God. ... Shiva (IAST: , also spelled Siva; Hindi, Shiv) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. ... Anthropomorphism, also referred to as personification or prosopopeia, is the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects, animals, forces of nature, and others. ... Nirguna Brahman, is God without any form in Advaita and without material form in Dvaita schools of Hinduism. ...


Six traditional favourites

There are six popular traditions which embrace bhakti as a process of worship to a particular deity:

  • Vishnu, belonging to the classic Trinity and His concrete manifestations in the forms of Rama, Krishna and other avatars.
  • Maheshvara or Shiva, the third God of the classic Trinity.
  • Devi, the Mother Goddess, in her three forms of Durga or Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
  • Ganesha, the elephant-faced deity who is said to remove obstacles on the path of devotion.
  • Suryadev, the Sun-God.
  • Subrahmanya, the six-faced deity known also as Murugan or Kumaran to the Tamil world.

Vishnu (IAST , Devanagari ), (honorific: Sri Vishnu) also known as Narayana is the Supreme Being or Ultimate Reality for Vaishnavas and a manifestation of Brahman in the Advaita or Smarta traditions. ... Rama ( in IAST, in DevanāgarÄ«) or Ramachandra is a legendary or historical king of ancient India. ... This article is about the Hindu deity. ... The ten avatars of Vishnu, copyright BBT In Hindu philosophy, an avatar (also spelt as avatara) (Sanskrit: , ), most commonly refers to the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of a higher being (deva), or the Supreme Being (God) onto planet Earth. ... Shiva (IAST: , also spelled Siva; Hindi, Shiv) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. ... It has been suggested that Shri Vidya be merged into this article or section. ... In Hinduism, Durga (Sanskrit: , Bengali: ) is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ... In Hinduism, Saraswati (Sanskrit ) is one of the goddesses, the other two being Lakshmi and Durga, that form the female counterpart of the Trimurti. ... Ganesha (Sanskrit: ; ;  , also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh) is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in Hinduism[8]. Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganeshas elephant head makes him easy to identify. ... In Hinduism, Surya (Devanagari: सूर्य, sÅ«rya) is the chief solar deity,one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wife Aditi[1] ,in Nordics Tyr he is said to be the son of Dyaus Pitar. ... Kartikeya(extreme right) in Durga Puja In Hinduism, Kārttikeya (also Skanda, Subrahmanya, Kumara, Arumugan, Shanmugan, Murugan, Guha, Saravana, Swaminatha, Velan, Velavan, Senthil) is a god born out of a magical spark created by Shiva. ... Murugan (also Murugan) (Tamil: ) is a popular Hindu deity amongst Tamil Hindus. ...

All-encompassing eclecticism

In addition, the choice of ishta-devata became, over the centuries, a choice of one among the thousands of temples scattered throughout the country and the deity chosen may very well be the particular deity enshrined in a specific temple, though certainly belonging to one of the six major streams listed above. Ishta-Deva, or Ishta Devata is a term from Hinduism that means chosen Deity or revered aspect of God by a devotee and is a widely held concept in Smartism. ...


It is this variety and possibility of ‘to each according to his needs and capabilities’ that brings together under one banner of Hinduism people with varying practices, attitudes and states of evolution. Accordingly carving of images of deity forms both for worship at home and in the temples became one of the most highly developed art and profession in India. The religious life of India was thus nourished through the ages on a visual statement, unmatched perhaps, in the history of civilization.


Classifications of Bhakti

The scripture known as the Narad Bhakti Sutra, believed to be spoken by the sage Narada distinguishes eleven forms of bhakti based on the different relationship to God that the devotee can assume. Narada Bhakti Sutra is one of the many well-known scriptures of Hindus. ... Narada (Sanskrit: नारद, nārada) is the Hindu divine sage, who is an enduring chanter of the names Hari and Narayana which other names for Vishnu, considered to be the supreme God by Vaishnavites and many other Hindus. ...


The devotee Prahlada, as explained in Srimad Bhagavatam, enunciates Nine Expressions of Bhakti. See also Bhakti yoga. In Hinduism, Prahlada was a son of Hiranyakashipu, a Daitya who hated the devas, and most especially, Lord Vishnu, the followers of whom he began to torment. ... The Bhagavata Purana (sometimes rendered as Bhagavatha Purana), also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam, written c. ... It was Prahlada, a five-year old boy, spiritually oriented even as he was born, who taught his boyhood contemporaries the Nine Expressions of Bhakti – a concept that is most well-known in Hindu religious world. ... Bhakti yoga is the Hindu term for the spiritual practice of fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti. ...


According to Adi Shankara, bhakti is the seeking after one's real nature[2]. Adi Shankara, in verse 61 of his Sivanandalahari lists five analogies of Bhakti. See Five Graded Analogies of Bhakti. Adi Shankara (Malayalam: ആദി ശങ്കരന്‍, Devanāgarī: , , IPA: ); c. ... Bhakti is Intense Devotion to Divinity or a noble cause. ...


Theory of divine grace

In any theory of grace it is the surrender to God’s will and humility that matters. The practitioner has to surrender by their own free will with the understanding that living people have the free will to obey or disobey God. The fatalist view of reality is only a fragmentary part of Hinduism. A person's fate is reflected mainly in the tendencies that he has created for himself through committed actions. He has total free will to surrender to God or not. But if he surrenders to Him heart and soul, He promises that He will take care of his pure devotee. This is famously illustrated in one of Krishna's final statements to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: For other uses, please see Arjun. ...

  • "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear". (Bhagavad Gita 18.66)

Bhagavad Gīta भगवद्गीता, composed ca the fifth - second centuries BC, is part of the epic poem Mahabharata, located in the Bhisma-Parva chapters 23–40. ...

See also

Bhakti yoga is the Hindu term for the spiritual practice of fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti. ... Bhakti movements are Hindu religious movements in which the main spiritual practice is the fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti. ... Lord Vishnu Devotional movements refers to various forms of Hinduism in India that co-exist with differing doctrines and practices. ... Dvaita (Devanagari:द्बैत, Kannada:ದ್ವೈತ) (also known as Tattvavada and Bheda-vada), a school of Vedanta (the most widespread Hindu philosophy) founded by Madhvacharya, stresses a strict distinction between God (Vishnu) and the individual living beings (jivas). ... Hare Krishna Mantra in Devanagari. ... In Tibet, many Buddhists carve mantras into rocks as a form of devotion. ... South Indias 75 Apostles of Bhakti are the twelve Alvars (also, Aazhvaars, Aazhwaars) and sixty-three Nayanmars (also Nayanars, Naayanars, Naayanmaars). ... VishishtAdvaita Vedanta (IAST ;Sanskrit: विशिष्टाद्वैत)) is a sub-school of the Vedānta (literally, end or the goal of the Vedas, Sanskrit) school of Hindu philosophy, the other major sub-schools of Vedānta being Advaita and Dvaita. ... Andal, pronounced aanDaaL is one of the twelve Alvars of Vaishnavism, and is the second most important of them. ... A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (September 1, 1896–November 14, 1977) was born Abhay Charan De, in Kolkata, West Bengal. ... Akka Mahadevi (ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ) was a prominent figure of the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement in the 12th Century Karnataka. ... Basaveshvara Basava (also known as Basaveshwara or Basavanna) is known as the founder of the lingayat (Lingayats) religious movement in India. ... 59. ... Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj (जगदगुरु कृपालु जी महाराज) is a Hindu acharya (आचार्य). He is lovingly called Shree Maharajji by devotees[1][2], and is the 5th original Jagadguru (जगदगुरु), and the Supreme Acharya of the present age. ... KabÄ«r (also KabÄ«ra) (Hindi: कबीर, GurmukhÄ«: ਕਬੀਰ, Urdu: ) (1440—1518[1]) (born in 1398 according to some accounts[1][2]) was one of the personalities in the history of Indian mysticism. ... Kanaka Dasa was one of the devotees of Krishna and an influential person in the Vaishnava bhakti movement in Karnataka. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Mirabai (मीराबाई) (1498-1547) (sometimes also spelled Meera) was a female Hindu mystical poet whose compositions are popular throughout India. ... Namdev, Nam Dev, or Saint Namdev (1270-1350) born to a low-caste tailor named Damasheti and his wife, Gonabi in the village of Naras-Vamani, in the district of Maharashtra, India. ... Purandara Dasa Purandara Dasa (1484-1564)(ಪುರಂದರ ದಾಸ) is one of the most prominient composer in carnatic music. ... Sri Ramana Maharshi (December 30, 1879 – April 14, 1950) was a Hindu[1][2] Sage who lived on the sacred mountain Arunachala in India. ... Ramananda was a vaishnava saint, a Ramayat - devotee of Lord Rama. ... Early Life Samarth Ramdas (1608-1681) is considered one of the greatest Hindu saints of Indian history. ... Ramprasad Sen (Bangla: রামপ্রসাদ সেন) (1720-1781) was a Bengali song-writer and singer of Hindu devotional songs, specially Shyamasangit (Songs devoted to the goddess Kali). ... Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1568) is a colossal figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam, India. ... Thirunavukkarasar (Tamil: திருநாவுக்கரசர்), literally Lord of Speech , also spelt as Tirunavukarasar, and popularly known as Appar, meaning father-figure, or a high one in Tamil is a Shaivite saint who lived in Tamil Nadu. ... Saint Tyagaraja Tyāgarāja (Telugu: శ్రీ త్యాగరాజ;Tamil: தியாகராஜ சுவாமிகள் d. ... Paruthiyur Krishna Sastri also Known as Brahmasri Paruthiyur Krishna Sastrigal (1855 – 1911) was born in the calm and tiny village Paruthiyur on the northern banks of Kudamuruti River, near Sengalipuram, in Thiruvarur District of Tamil Nadu, in a Brahmin family to Ramaseshan and Lakshmi. ... Swamy Vedanta Desika, Sri Vaishnava Philosopher Vedanta Desika (1269 – 1370) is the second great name in Vaishnavism. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Bhag-P 1.2.11 "Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan."
  2. ^ Verse 31, Viveka_Chudamani

The two Epics and the Prasthana thraya—the triple foundation of the Vedanta school of philosophical and spiritual system, namely the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras (Vedanta Sutras) and the Bhagavad-Gita—are the perennial sources of ethical and spiritual knowledge and wisdom, inspiring thousands of earnest seekers of truth. ...

References

  • Swami Nikhilananda, Hinduism, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1958
  • D.S. Sarma, Hinduism through the ages, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1973
  • Swami Chinmayananda, Love Divine – Narada Bhakti Sutra, Chinmaya Publications Trust, Madras, 1970
  • Swami Tapasyananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, 1990
  • A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam (12 Cantos), The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust,2004

Swami Nikhilananda (1895-1973), was an initiated disciple of Sri Sarada Devi. ... Image:Swami Chinmayananda. ... Swami Tapasyananda was a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Mission. ... A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (September 1, 1896–November 14, 1977) was born Abhay Charan De, in Kolkata, West Bengal. ...

External links

  • Bhakti Poets: A History of Bhakti by Doris Jakobsh
  • The full text of the Bhagavata Purana (Srimad-Bhagavatam)
  • Krishna.com: Krishna Consciousness & Bhakti-Yoga
Books
  • Nectar of Devotion The philosophy & practice of Bhakti.
  • Waves of Devotion - A Companion book to Nectar of Devotion

  Results from FactBites:
 
Bhakti yoga: Information from Answers.com (2492 words)
Bhakti yoga is generally considered the easiest of the four general paths to liberation, or moksha (the others being Karma, Raja and Jnana Yoga).
Bhakti is the Sanskrit term that signifies a blissful, selfless and overwhelming love of God as the beloved Father, Mother, Child, Friend or whichever relationship or personal aspect of God that finds appeal in the devotee's heart.
Bhakti is described a yoga path, in that it's aim is a form of divine, loving union with the Supreme Lord.
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