Nov 4 2010

The nine types of bhakti that lead us to the Lord and make HIS presence felt in us

1) Shravanam – Listening to spiritual discourses or devotional songs related to God. This is the first and foremost step- eg Parikshit who spent his last 7 days listening to the Bhagavatam
(2) Keertanam – Singing or talking about God.- Great saints Mirabai, Tukaram, Dhruva.
(3) Smaranam – Remembering God.- Prahalada remebered the Lord always and believed truly that HE exists everywhere.
(4) Pãda-sevanam – Serving God’s holy feet.This is when you get to blend your practice of karma yoga (seva) with bhakti. In doing your duty and serving humanity, develop the bhava that you are serving and worshiping the Lord’s Feet.Goddess Lakshmi is the supreme example of one who earned unique distinction by devoted service to the feet of the Lord. Though she was the Goddess of wealth and presided over all prosperity, she showed to the world that serving the Lord’s feet was greater than all the treasures on earth. Today’s devotees worship Siri (wealth) more than Hari (the Lord). They do not realize that by worshipping the Lord’s feet, even wealth can be got. What foolishness is it to go after money, forgetting the lotus feet of the Lord, which are the fountain source of all prosperity!

(5) Archanam – Anointing God with sandalwood paste, Archanam was the method adopted by the emperor Prithu to worship the Lord. By offering sixteen kinds of service to the image of the Lord every day with deep devotion, he earned the grace of the Lord

(6) Vandanam – Bowing before God. Worshipping the Lord by constant prostration was the form of devotion exemplified by Akrura, a devotee of Krishna. Namaskar (the act of worshipping the Lord with folded palms) signified the total offering of the body and the senses to the Divine as a mark of complete surrender to the Divine. It signifies the elimination of the ego and seeking merger in the Lord wholeheartedly.
(7) Dãsyam – Behaving as the servant of God.- Hanuman is the supreme example of a devotee who practised service as the form of worship to realise God. His great acts in the service of Rama show how he was completely free from ego and how deep was his devotion to Rama at all times.
(8) Sakhyam – Behaving as the friend of God.- Arjuna exemplifies how devotion can be developed by cultivating the friendship of the Lord through complete faith and loyalty. Friendship implies also love. Arjuna’s love was totally concentrated on Krishna. He acquired all powers by the grace of Krishna

(9) Ãtmanivedanam – Unconditionally offering oneself and all of one’s belongings to God with absolute submission. Emperor Bali is the example of Atmanivedanam complete self-surrender in the devotion to the Lord. “I offer to you, Oh Lord! all my wealth and possessions, as well as my entire self. I take refuge in you, protect me, Oh Lord!” . He offered his very head as 3rd foot pace for the Lord.

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