Bhakti (also spelled Bhakthi; Tamil:பக்தி Sanskrit: भक्ति) refers to religious devotion in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine. While bhakti as designating a religious path is already a central concept in the Bhagavad Gita it rises to importance in the medieval history of Hinduism, where the Bhakti movement saw a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in Southern India with the Vaisnava Alvars (6th-9th century CE) and Saiva Nayanars (5th-10th century CE), who spread bhakti poetry and devotion throughout India by the 12th-18th century CE. The Bhagavata Purana is text associated with the Bhakti movement which elaborates the concept of bhakti as found in the Bhagavad Gita.
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- The Alvars being devotees of Vishnu had access to the many temples dedicated to the god. During their visits they composed devotional hymns in praise of Vishnu. These hymns promoted devotion and surrender by glorifying the greatness of Vishnu. Although their hymns are replete with the ideas of the Vedas, their uniqueness lie in the great emphasis on devotion and surrender which are rarely found in the Vedic Mantras or in the highly metaphysical pronouncements within the Upanishads.
- Nippard Andrea, in The Alvars]
- Bhakti: Others boast of their love for God. My boast is that I did not love God; it was He who loved me and forced me to belong to him.
- Bharata Natyam is grounded in bhakti. In fact bhakti is at the center of all the arts of India. Our music and dance are two important offerings to God.
- The individual soul is forever a servant of the Supersoul and therefore, his reletionship with the Supersoul is to offer service. That is called Bhakti-Yoga or Bhakti-bhaava.
- One achieves bhakti [love of God] by hearing and chanting about the Supreme Lord's special qualities, even while engaged in the ordinary activities of life in this world.
- ... he [Chaitanya] described bhakti as that state of mind in which one abandons all duties through love of Krishna...one cannot reach the path of love without renouncing all thoughts of oneself.
- Chaitanya, quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", by K. R. Sundararajan in p.60
- The bhakti poets use an elaborate, multi-vocal rhetoric, which requires the taking on, not only of personal voices to suit different emotions and genres, but also the voices of some of the dramatis personae of classical Tamil (Cankam) poetry, such as the lovelorn heroine or her solicitous girlfriend.
- Norman Cutler, in “According to Tradition: Hagiographical Writing in India”, p.199
- From meditation on difference, one proceeds to meditating on “He am I”. Meditation without a sense of difference is regarded as the most purifying...Once concentration develops, one begins with meditation on froms such as Shiva, Vishnu or the Goddess. This is the basis of Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion.
- Fill your mind with Me, be My devotee, sacrifice unto Me, bow down to Me; thus having made thy heart steadfast in Me, taking Me as the Supreme Goal, thou shalt come to Me.
- Equal to friend and enemy, equal to honour and insult, pleasure and pain, praise and w:Blame:blame, grief and happiness, heat and cold (to all that troubles with opposite affections the normal nature), silent, content and well-satisfied with anything and everything, not attached to person or thing, place or home, firm in mind (because it is constantly seated in the highest self and fixed for ever on the one divine object of his love and adoration), that man is dear to Me.
- In Manipur, dancing is charged with faith, the devotional fervour of bhakthi . To a Manipuri, one whole life is a dance offering.
- Bhakti movement is of indigenous origin, since, besides a number of devotional hymns in the Rigveda, there is a sizable volume of material in the Gita, in the santiparva of Mahabharata, as well as as in some earlier Puranas to establish its Indian origin beyond doubt.
- Indologists, quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", by K. R. Sundararajan in p.63
- It [Kathak] was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement.
- The final emancipation called mokhsha for the beings who are bound to the problems of samsara can be attained by intense devotion to the Lord with the true knowledge of HIM.
- Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion, consists of surrender to the Divine within the heart. The Maharishi considered the most important yoga path after self-enquiry and usually recommended the two together. Surrender [Bhakti] can be done in four ways:To the Supreme Self (Atma-Bhakti);To God or the Cosmic Lord as a formless being (Ishvara-Bhakti);To God in the form of various Gods or Goddesses (Ishta Devata-Bhakti) and ; To God in the form of the Guru (Guru-Bhakti).
- Complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through Self-inquiry or through bhakti marga.
- On the path of bhakti there are no restrictions of time or place for meditation. You can meditate anytime, anyplace. There is also no required posture for meditation. The only requirement is that you should be remembering Radha Krishn.
- ...devotion is love springing forth from God’s incomparable sweetness (madhurya-pradhana-bhakti) rather than reverence at His incomparable greatness (aishvaraya- pradhana-bhakti)
- Nimbarka, quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", by K. R. Sundararajan in p. 51
- The veneration of sixty-three saints called ‘Nayanar’(Nayanar:saint; plural nayanmar) is an important element of Saiva devotional (bhakti) religion in the Tamil region.
- Indira Vishwanathan Peterson, in According to Tradition: Hagiographical Writing in India, p.191
- In their hymns the Nayanars celebrate specific visions they had of specific manifestations of Siva in particular places in the Tamil land, thus revealing the continuity of their conception of the sacred with the pre-bhakthi civilization.
- Indira Vishwanathan Peterson, in "According to Tradition: Hagiographical Writing in India", p.204
- The Bhagavata Purana teaches nine primary forms of bhakti, as explained by [[w:Prahlada|Prahlada as:(1) śravaṇa ("listening" to the scriptural stories of Kṛṣṇa and his companions), (2) kīrtana ("praising," usually refers to ecstatic group singing), (3) smaraṇa ("remembering" or fixing the mind on Viṣṇu), (4) pāda-sevana (rendering service), (5) arcana (worshiping an image), (6) vandana (paying homage), (7) dāsya (servitude), (8) sākhya (friendship), and (9) ātma-nivedana (complete surrender of the self).
- Bhagavata Purana (from Bhagavata Purana, 7.5.23-24) quoted in Acting as a Way of Salvation: A Study of Rāgānugā Bhakti Sādhana, p.133
- No one can say with finality that God is only 'this' and nothing else. He is formless, and again He has forms. For the bhakta He assumes forms. But He is formless for the jnani, that is, for him who looks on the world as a mere dream. The bhakta feels that he is one entity and the world another. Therefore God, reveals Himself to him as a Person. But the jnani — the Vedantist, for instance — always reasons, applying the process of 'Not this, not this'. Through this discrimination he realizes, by his inner perception, that the ego and the universe are both illusory, like a dream. Then the jnani realizes Brahman in his own consciousness. He cannot describe what Brahman is.
- ...bhakti devotion may be sattvic. A devotee who possesses sattvic bhakti, meditates on God in absolute secret, perhaps inside his mosquito net. Others think he is asleep. Since he is late in getting up, they think perhaps he has not slept well during the night. His love for the body goes only as far as appeasing his hunger, and that only by means of rice and simple greens. There is no elaborate arrangements about his meals, no luxury in clothes, and no display of furniture. Besides, such a devotee never flatters anyone for money.
- An aspirant possessed of rAjasic bhakti puts a tilak on his forehead and a necklace of holy rudrAksha beads, interspersed with gold ones, around his neck. At worship he wears a silk cloth.
- Ramakrishna, in "The Vedanta Kesari, Volume 91", p.27
- A man endowed with tAmasic bhakti has burning faith. Such a devotee literally exhorts boons from God, even as a robber falls upon a man and plunders his money. 'Bind! Beat! Kill!'—that is his way, the way of the dacoits.
- Ramakrishna, in “The Vedanta Kesari, Volume 91”, p.27
- A brAhmin without this love is no longer a brAhmin. And a pariah with the love of God is no longer a pariah. Through bhakti an untouchable becomes pure and elevated.
- A seeker must acquire a true knowledge of the individual self and the Supreme;
He must devote himself to meditation, worship and the adoration of the Supreme;
This knowledge with discipline leads him to the realization of the Supreme.
- Bhakti is knowledge of Brahman, an unfailing recollection of the supreme Lord, a constant meditation on Him which develops into direct perception of Him....Disinterested performance of obligatory rituals removes the obstacles to knowledge, such actions become the means of attaining the constant memory of God.
- Ramanuja quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", by K. R. Sundararajan in p. 51
- The Sandilya and Narada bhakthi sutras like the Bhagavata are fundamental works of mysticism. Sandilya bhakthi sutras seem to be older on account of its archaic tone and is evidently modeled on the pattern of the great philosophical Sutras. Narada Bhakthi sutra quotes sandilya but the sandilya does not quote Narada.
- R. D. Ranade, in Mysticism in India: The Poet-Saints of Maharashtra, p.12
- Narad Bhakthi sutra surpasses not merely sandilya by its easy eloquence and fervid devotion but it may be even regarded as one of the best specimens of Bhakthi literature that have ever been written. The Sandilya-sutra is more philosophical than Narada-Sutra. It goes into the question of nature of Brahman and Jiva, their inter-relation, the question of creation, and so on.
- R. D. Ranade, in "Mysticism in India: The Poet-Saints of Maharashtra", p.12
- The Narad Bhakthi Sutra takes a leap immediately into the doctrine of devotion and analyses its various aspects, and sets a ban against mere philosophical constructions.
- R. D. Ranade, in "Mysticism in India: The Poet-Saints of Maharashtra", p.12
- Both the Sandilya and the Narada quote the Bhagavad Gita on the one hand, and later Bhakthi literature on the other.
- R. D. Ranade, in "Mysticism in
- This whole sphere, this whole world of Knowledge and the Master and, practicing, and devotion, and participation and all that— This is traditionally in India called the path of devotion, bhakti marg.
- There is no sect [or, indeed, Hindu movement] without some element of bhakti.
- Rigveda is the Veda of knowledge, Yajurveda is the Veda of Karma, Sama Veda is the Veda of Bhakthi and Atharva Veda is Brahma-Veda, an umbrella celebrating the Divine Presence.
- Bhakti is the attitude of the mind, and jnana is the attitude of the intellect, both flow towards the Lord. In life to handle yourself, use your head, but to handle others, use your heart.
- He who renouncing all activities, who is free of all the limitations of time, space and direction, worships his own Atman which is present everywhere, which is the destroyer of heat and cold, which is Bliss-Eternal and stainless, becomes All-knowing and All-pervading and attains thereafter Immortality.
- Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Deva Maheshwara. Guru Sakshath Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha.
Guru is the creator Brahma, Guru is the preserver Vishnu, Guru is the destroyer Shiva. Guru is directly the supreme spirit — I offer my salutations to this Guru.
- Jnana marga is like Ramphal. Bhakthi marga is like Sitaphal (custard apple), easy to deal with and very sweet. The pulp of Ramphal is inside and difficult to get at. Ramphal should ripen on the tree and plucked ripe, If it falls down it is spoilt. So if a Jnani falls, he is ruined. Even for a Jnani there is the danger of a fall, i.e., by a little negligence or carelessness.
- Tulsidas is a devotee of Rama, who is an emblem of moral values and decorum. Quite naturally, a tone of high seriousness marks his devotional poetry. His bhakti has a sound socio-moral base with a rational background.
- K. R. Sundararajan, in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", p. 81
- The name of the Lord is the mighty force
He who takes refuge in Him is never abandoned.
The castle of His grace becomes his shelter:
They all resort to Him, great and small
As with the touch of the mystical store
Iron becomes gold.
- Suradasa’s (the blind poet) first form of Bhakti, quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern" by K. R. Sundararajan, in p.63
- From the invocation to the conclusion, the poet Tulsidas seeks the grace of Rama and announces over and over again that the final object of his poetic performance is the attainment of bhakti – complete dedication to Rama. The narrative ends with an elaborate discourse on the supremacy of the devotional sentiment.
- ...there were three different ways of approaching God, viz., the ways of action (karma), knowledge (jnana), and devotion (bhakti). Of these, bhakti is the best among them, since it is the only means of salvation and the state of love (prema) and service (seva) which bhakti implies is better than even release.
- Vallabha, quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", by K. R. Sundararajan in p. 51
- The path of spiritual progress that the teachers of the Bengal school recommend is neither yoga nor jnana but bhakti. While the followers of the way of yoga emphasise the subjective aspect and those of the path of jnana both the subjective and objective aspect, the followers of the path of bhakti emphasize the objective aspect of consciousness.
- Vaishnavism school of Bengal quoted in "Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern", by K. R. Sundararajan in p. 57
- The one great advantage of Bhakti is that it is the easiest and most natural way to reach the great divine end in view; it's great disadvantage is that in its lower forms it oftentimes degenerates into hideous fanaticism. The fanatical crew in Hinduism, Mohammedanism, or Christianity, have always been almost exclusively recruited from these worshippers [sic] on the lower planes of Bhakti. That singleness of attachment (Nishthâ) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of the denunciation of everything else. All the weak and undeveloped minds in every religion or country have only one way of loving their own ideal, i.e., by hating every other ideal. Herein is the explanation of why the same man who is so lovingly attached to his own ideal of God, so devoted to his own ideal of religion, becomes a howling fanatic as soon as he sees or hears anything of any other ideal.
- Swami Vivekananda, in "The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda: v. 3"
- Never say, "O Lord, I am a miserable sinner." Who will help you? You are the help of the universe. What in this universe can help you? What can prevail over you? You are the God of the universe; where can you seek for help? Never help came from anywhere but from yourself. In your ignorance, every prayer that you made and that was answered, you thought was answered by some Being, but you answered the prayer yourself unknowingly. The help came from yourself, and you fondly imagined that someone was sending help to you. There is no help for you outside of yourself; you are the creator of the universe. Like the silkworm, you have built a cocoon around yourself. Who will save you? Burst your own cocoon and come out as a beautiful butterfly, as the free soul. Then alone you will see Truth.
- Bhakti Yoga is described by Swami Vivekananda as the path of systematized devotion for the attainment of union with the Absolute.
- Bhakti is a series of succession of mental efforts at religious Realization|realization beginning with ordinary worship ending in a supreme intensity of love for Ishvara.
- Swami Vivekananda, in Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern, p.306
- The renunciation necessary for the attainment of bhakti is not obtained by killing anything, but comes naturally as in the presence of an increasingly stronger light, the less intense ones become dimmer and dimmer until they vanish away completely. So this love of pleasures of the senses and of the intellect is all made dim and thrown aside and cast into the shade by the love of God Himself.
- Swami Vivekananda, in Hindu spirituality: Postclassical and modern, p.306
- ...speaking of Bhakti, not as religious concept, but as a movement, a phenomenon of a set of religious ideas and structures first seen in the South in 7th century and slowly sweeping upto the North by the 15th century....Bhakti has been credited with securing the final triumph of Hinduism over Jainism and Buddhism, with bringing the vernaculars into being as literary languages with spreading the concepts of the Great Tradition of Brahmanical Hinduism to the common man, with reconciling Hinduism and Islam, with reviving Hinduism in the face of the Muslim threat, with providing the ethos for the last great Hindu Kingdom in India, the Marathas...The bhakti movement has been seen as the Indian counterpart of the Protestant Reformation, with one or another of its poet saints, usually Kabir, sometimes Chaitanya, filling the role of Luther.
- Eleanor Zelliot, in “Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions”, p.143
- Meera Bai belonged to a strong tradition of bhakti (devotional) poets in medieval India who expressed their love of God through the analogy of human relations—a mother's love for her child, a friend for a friend, or a woman for her beloved. The immense popularity and charm of her lyrics lies in their use of everyday images and in the sweetness of emotions easily understood by the people of India.