All of the books distributed by Project ETaV are about the subject of bhakti-yoga – pure loving devotion to God.
Pure Loving Devotion to God.
‘Bhakti’ is a Sanskrit term that signifies an attitude of devotion to a personal God. This devotional attitude is similar to a number of human relationships such as beloved and lover, friend and friend, parent and child, and master and servant.
As spoken in Bhagavad-gita.
5,000 years ago – around 3000 BC – Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita (song of God) to His friend Arjuna just before the Battle of Kurukshetra. Krishna explained the complete philosophy of bhakti yoga to Arjuna in 700 verses. At one point Krishna revealed His universal form to Arjuna and showed that He was actually God Himself. Find out more about Bhagavad-gita on our Spiritual Books page.
Nine primary forms of bhakti as taught in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
‘Srimad Bhagavatam’ (the Bhagavat Purana) teaches nine primary forms of bhakti.
Explained by Prahlada Maharaja in the 7th Canto.
1. śravaṇa – “listening” to the scriptural stories of Kṛṣṇa (God) and his companions.
2. kīrtana – “praising,” usually refers to ecstatic group singing but also refers to chanting quietly.
3. smaraṇa – “remembering” or fixing the mind on Viṣṇu.
4. pāda-sevana – rendering service to the lotus feet of the Lord.
5. arcana – worshiping an image or Deity of the Lord.
6. vandana – paying homage and glorifying the Lord.
7. dāsya – a mood of servitude.
8. sākhya – a mood of friendship.
9. ātma-nivedana – complete surrender of the self.
Keeping in touch with God.
These nine principles of devotional service are described as keeping the practitioner (devotee) constantly in touch with God.
The process of japa (mantra meditation) and internal meditation on the aspirant devotee’s chosen deity form (ishta deva) are especially popular in most bhakti schools.
Put simply; bhakti is a yoga path in that its aim is a form of divine, loving union with the Supreme Lord.
Bhakti yoga and the conclusion of acintya-beda-beda-tattva (simultaneous oneness and difference with God) was taught as the highest principle by the most recent incarnation of Krishna, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The Holy Names, the Maha-mantra.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in India 500 years ago to deliver the fallen souls of the present age through the simple process of chanting the Lord’s holy names.
There are unlimited names of God simply because God is unlimited by definition. Some of the names of God include Jehovah, Allah, Govinda, Rama, Narashinga and Krishna.
According to the Svetasvatara Upanisad, the most prominent of God’s names for achieving love of God is the chanting of the ‘maha-mantra’
Sri Chaitanya taught that there are no hard and fast rules for chanting the names of the Lord.
However He recommends the names should be chanted in a humble state of mind where one offers respect and gratitude to all and expects none for himself.
The Panca Tattva Maha-mantra.
A special mantra to chant before chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the Panca-tattva maha-mantra;
Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya
Gaura Bhakta Vrnda