Types of Bhakti Yoga
There are several types or classifications of Bhakti Yoga:
- The distinction between Sakamya Bhakti and Nishkamya Bhakti. In Sakamya Bhakti, one desires and prays for material gains. Although God may grant one’s desires if their Bhakti is intense and sincere enough, one will not attain supreme satisfaction or immortality. Rather, the aim is to attain Nishkamya Bhakti, wherein one is content with what God has provided – i.e. enough wealth, a family, a good job. In aspiring for Nishkamya Bhakti, the heart is purified, the Divine Grace descends, one becomes one with the Lord, and one attains Divine Aisvaryas – attributes such as power and wisdom.
- Bhakti Yoga can also be divided into Apara-Bhakti – yoga for beginners – and Para-Bhakti – the highest form of Bhakti wherein one sees only the Lord in everything and senses God’s power manifest in the universe. All individuals must begin from Apara-Bhakti and pass through a series of practices and mental offerings to God in order to reach Para-Bhakti.
- A third classification of Bhakti Yoga is Gauna-Bhakti versus Mukhya-Bhakti – lower and higher types of Bhakti.
In all of its forms, since desire and egoism are considered enemies of devotion, one must lose lust, anger, and greed to attain oneness with the Lord.
To cultivate Bhakti, one must discipline and train one’s will and mind. By following eleven fundamental principles, one may achieve intense love, affection, and cosmic oneness with the Supreme. These 11 principles are:
- Abhyasa – continuous thinking of God
- Vimoka – longing solely for God
- Viveka – discrimination
- Satyam – truthfulness
- Arjavam – straightforwardness
- Kriya – being good to others
- Kalyana – wishing others well
- Anavasada – optimism and cheerfulness
- Daya – compassion
- Ahimsa – non-injury
- Dana – charity
Goals of Bhakti Yoga
The goal of Bhakti yoga is to remove egoism, arrogance, pride, hatred, anger, lust, and jealousy from the heart. This frees the devotee from worries, fears, anxieties, mental torments and tribulations. Finally, one strives to achieve immortal bliss, Divine ecstasy, knowledge, and everlasting peace.
Yoga is a smooth path straight to God.