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Bhakti Yoga 3: Spiritual Realization, The Aim of Bhakti-Yoga

This is the 3rd chapter on the Bhakti Yoga series by Swami Vivekananda.


To the Bhakta (devotee) these dry details are necessary only to strengthen his will; beyond that they are of no use to him. For he is treading on a path which is fitted very soon to lead him beyond the hazy turbulent regions of reason, to lead him to the realm of realization. He, soon, through the mercy of the Lord, reaches a plane where pedantic and powerless reason is left far behind, and the mere intellectual groping through the dark gives place to the daylight of direct perception.

He no more reasons and believes, he almost perceives. He no more argues, he senses. And is not this seeing God, and feeling God, and enjoying God higher than everything else?

Nay, Bhaktas (devotees) have not been wanting who have maintained that it is higher than even Moksha – Liberation.

And is it not also the highest utility?

There are people – and a good many of them too – in the world who are convinced that only that is of use and utility which brings to man creature – comforts. Even religion, God, eternity, soul, none of these is of any use to them, as they do not bring them money or physical comfort. To such, all those things which do not go to gratify the sense and appease the appetites are of no utility. In every mind, utility, however, is conditioned by its own peculiar wants.

To men, therefore, who never rise higher than eating, drinking, begetting progeny, and dying, the only gain is in sense enjoyments; and they must wait and go through many more births and reincarnations to learn to feel even the faintest necessity for anything higher. But those to who the eternal interests of the soul are of much higher value than the fleeting interests of this mundane life, to whom the gratification of the sense is but like the thoughtless play of the baby, to them God and the love of God for the highest and the only utility of human existence. Thank God there are some such still living in this world of too much worldliness.

Bhakti-Yoga, as we have said is divided into the Gauni or the preparatory, and the Para or the supreme forms. We shall find, as we go on, how in the preparatory stage we unavoidably stand in need of many concrete helps to enable us to get only and indeed the mythological and symbolic parts of all religions are natural growths which early environ the aspiring soul and help it.

Godward. It is also a significant fact that spiritual giants have been produced only in those systems of religion where there is an exuberant growth of rich mythology and ritualism. The dry fanatical forms of religion which attempt to eradicate all that is poetical, all that is beautiful, and sublime, all that gives a firm grasp to the infant mind tottering in its Godward way – the forms which attempt to break down the very ridge-poles of the spiritual tool, and in their ignorant and superstitious conceptions of truth try to drive away all that is lifegiving, all that furnishes the formative material to the spiritual plan growing in the human soul – such forms of religion too soon find that all that is left to them is but an empty shell, a content-less frame of words and sophistry with perhaps a little flavour of a kind of social scavenging or the so-call spirit of reform.

The vast mass of those whose religion is like this, are conscious or unconscious materialists – the end and aim of their lives here and hereafter being enjoyment, which indeed is to them the alpha and the omega of human life, and which is their Ishtapurta; work like street-cleaning and scavenging, intended for the material comfort of man is, according to them, the be-all and end-all of human existence; and the sooner the followers of this curious mixture of ignorance and fanaticism come out in their true colours and join, as they well deserve to do, the ranks of atheists and materialists, the better will it be for the world. One ounce of the practice of righteousness and of spiritual self realization outweighs tons and tons of frothy talk and nonsensical sentiments. Show us one, but one gigantic spiritual genius growing out of all this dry dust of ignorance and fanaticism; and if you cannot, close your mouths, open the windows of your hearts to clear light of truth, and sit like children at the feet of those who know what they are talking about – the sages of India. Let us listen attentively to what they say.

Bhakti Yoga

The path of devotion to the Divine is Bhakti Yoga. This is the path of surrendering your ego to whatever is your perception of divinity. Through complete surrender, you start to realize the reality of self.

On the world Yoga Forum, the complete text on Bhakti Yoga by Swami Vivekananda has been compiled in the form of 10 chapters.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is often seen as a way to get physically fit through postures and breathing exercises. However, there’s much more to Yoga than asanas or breathing exercises. Yoga is one of the 6 philosophical schools of Hinduism. These include Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. The practice of yoga has been thought to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; possibly in the Indus valley civilization around 3000 BCE.

What is the Goal of Yoga?

Yoga is cessation (nirodha) of the activities (vrittis) of mind (chitta) according to patanjali’s definition in the 2nd sutra in Yoga Sutras. Vrittis refer to any sequence of thoughts, ideas, mental imaging or cognitive act performed by the mind, intellect, or ego. The mind & body are one and a part of nature (prakriti), and the soul is separate. Read More on the Goal of Yoga

It is important to note that the mind & body are one and a part of nature (prakriti), and the soul is separate.

Chitta consists of 3 things i.e.

  1. Intelligence (Buddhi)
  2. Ego (Ahankara)
  3. Mind (Manas).

Chitta can be compared to the software and the body to hardware. Both software & hardware are useless without the presence of an observer. Only the soul (purusa) is truly alive. When the soul is uncoupled from the mind in its pure state cannot be rambled and is changeless (unlike the mind).

About World Yoga Forum

World Yoga Forum

World Yoga Forum is a platform for Yoga, Meditation enthusiasts, practitioners, trainers, and teachers to share knowledge and experience on Yoga. World Yoga Forum’s mission is to promote better living through the wisdom of ancient spiritual knowledge and practices. Yoga is often seen as a way to get physically fit through postures and breathing exercises. However, there’s much more to Yoga than asanas or breathing exercises. Yoga is one of the 6 philosophical schools of Hinduism. These include Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. The practice of yoga has been thought to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; possibly in the Indus valley civilization around 3000 BCE.

Topics and Chapters Covered on The World Yoga Forum

  • Basic of Yoga – Yoga is often seen as a way to get physically fit through postures and breathing exercises. However, there’s much more to Yoga than asanas or breathing exercises.
  • Raja Yoga – It is the path of control. In this practice, you bring body, mind, and breath under control to let go of ego and realize the self.
  • Bhakti Yoga – The path of devotion to the Divine is Bhakti Yoga. This is the path of surrendering your ego to whatever is your perception of divinity. Through complete surrender, you start to realize the reality of self.
  • Karma Yoga – The path of selfless duty. When you follow this path, you do your duty to the best of your abilities, without attachment to results or rewards.
  • Jnana Yoga – Jnana Yoga (Also read as Gyana Yoga) is the path of knowledge. In this practice, you surrender the ego through acquiring knowledge, which removes ignorance and illusion, and leads to understanding the reality of the Self.
  • Hatha Yoga – Hatha Yoga focuses on Asanas and Pranayama (yoga poses and meditation) and a large part of Yoga that we see today in the form of Yoga poses and asanas are essentially Hatha Yoga.

Basics of Yoga Free Ebook pdf

Book Title – Basics of Yoga

Number of Pages: 7

Learn the basic concepts of Yoga including its origins, meaning, definitions, and goals through this simple free e-book.

The goal is to place Yoga in its correct context and bring forward the ancient practices & rich knowledge of Yoga that can help you set a strong foundation. Most schools of Yoga today have been derived from the Yoga Sutras. Yoga Sutras is a compilation of all the learnings of Yoga. Its interpretations have given rise to multiple schools in Yoga. This book is useful for beginners, practitioners, and enthusiasts in Yoga.

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