Friday, July 15, 2011

Navadha Bhakti

Besides chanting God’s name with faith and satsang, the classical nine kinds of devotion listed in the Ramacharitmanasa include adoration of God’s legends; ego less devotion to the Guru; singing praise for God with an honest heart; leading a spiritual life characterized by the control of senses, integrity, detachment, and saintly karma; recognizing God in all creation and treating saints higher than even God; contentment in whatever one gets in life and abstinence from criticism of fellow beings; and a combination of simplicity, lack of deception, and faith in God coupled with the absence of joy or sorrow. The presence of even one of these forms of devotion is said to be sufficient for a lifetime.

Out of the above, the last four forms of devotion are more likely features of great souls and cannot be classified as preliminary remembrance techniques for reaching God. As for adoration of God’s legends, it involves thinking about our chosen Personal God and our favorite sacred narratives associated with him or her in Puranas and Epics. Out of the innumerable tales that exist, devotees enjoy the freedom to remember and discuss the instances about their Personal God that they love the most....Singing hymns or praise for God with an honest heart is similar to chanting names or adoring stories, except that music is also used as a means in this form of devotion. When lyrics for God are served with music, the expression of devotion gets amplified, for music is itself composed of divine sounds.

Excerpted from Devotional Hinduism by M.S. Goel (2008), p. 22

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