Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bhakti Yoga

वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।  
The idea called Nishta, devotion to one idea is also important in BHAKTI.

The worship of God, and God alone, is Bhakti; the worship of any other being will not be Bhakti, but God can be worshiped in various forms, and through various ideas, and all these ideas are right and good, but the difficulty is here: If we just stop with his last conclusion, we find that in the end we have frittered away our energies, and done nothing.

According to Hindus, God came nine times in India, and will come once more. When he came as Rama the Hanuman was His great worshipper. Hanuman lived very long, and was a great Yogi, and during his lifetime Rama came again as Krishna, and he, being a great Yogi, knew that the same God had come back again as Krishna. He came and served Krishna, but he said to Him, "I want to see that Rama form of yours". Krishna said." Is not this form enough? I am this Krishna; I am this Rama; all these forms are mine". Hanuman said, "I know that, but the Rama form is for me. The Lord of Janaki and the Lord of Sri are the same; they are both the incarnations of the Supreme Self; yet the Lotus-eyed Rama is my all in all". This is Nishta; knowing that all these different forms of worship are right, yet sticking to one, and rejecting the others.

Stick to your own ideal of worship. When you worship, worship that ideal of God which is your own Ishtam, your own chosen. If you do not you will have nothing. Nothing will grow.

When you pray to your own ideal, your own Ishtam, that is the only God you shall have. God exists in various phases no doubt, but for the time being, your own Ishtam is the only phase for you. Then, after a long course of training in this Ishtam, when this plant of spirituality has grown, and the soul has become strong and you begin to realise that your Ishtam is everywhere,[then] naturally all these bondages will fall down.

Take up one idea, your Ishtam, and let the whole soul be devoted to it. Practice this from day to day until you see the result, until the soul grows, and if it is sincere and good, that very idea will spread till it covers the whole universe. Let it spread by itself; it will all come from the inside out. Then you will say that your Ishtam is everywhere, and that He is in everything. Of course, at the same time, we must always remember that we must recognise the Ishtams of others and respect them, the other ideas of God; or else worship will degenerate into fanaticism.

Everything is in ourselves, and the external world and the external worship, are the forms, the suggestions that call it out. When they become strong, the Lord within awakes. The external teacher is but the suggestion. When faith in the external teacher is strong, then the Teacher of all teachers within speaks; eternal wisdom speaks in the heart of that man. He need not go any more to any books, or any men, or any higher beings, he need not run after supernatural or preternatural beings for instruction; the Lord Himself becomes his instructor.

(Unedited transcript by J. J. Goodwin of Vivekananda's BHAKTI YOGA class in New York City, Monday A.M, Jan. 20th, 1896)