OṀ (AUM) –BHAK-TI-BHOO-MYAI–NA-MA-HA
ॐ भक्तिभूम्यै नमः
(Bhakti: Devotion, intense love of God, committed love)
Bhakti or devotion or love of God is one of the most widely recognized religious sentiments in all the major religions of the world. In Hinduism, its origins can be traced to the Ṛigveda itself. Some of the aspects of bhakti it mentions are:-Praise of God, hearing or recitation His names, surrender to Him, filial affection towards God, that He seeks His devotees, and that He is our dearest and nearest. The Śvetaśvatara Upanishad actually uses the word bhakti and clearly defines prapatti (self-surrender) also. In the Bhagavad-Gīta, as also in the epics and purāṇās, bhakti has been dealt with extensively. Bhakti has been defined as parama-prema (intense love) or parā-anurakti (extreme attachment) to God, thus excluding or transcending all other kinds of love.
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Bhakti can be categorized according to the guṇas as sāttvika bhakti, rājasa bhakti and tāmasa bhakti. According to the mind of the votary, as bhakti of the ārta (the afflicted), of the arthārthi (the one seeking worldly gains), of the jijnāsu (an inquirer of Truth) and of the jnāni (the enlightened one) is another method. One who aspires to cultivate bhakti is expected to adopt certain moral and spiritual disciplines in life. Avoiding evil company and cultivating holy company, detachment towards worldly things, taking recourse to secluded places conducive to devotion, giving up evil actions and actions motivated by selfish desires, performing one’s duties as an act of worship, practicing fortitude and dependence upon God, are some of the disciplines recommended.
Shri Vedavyāsa said- there is nothing easier than the path of bhakti in this Kali Yuga (age of darkness). Our Vedas say you can worship God in any form you desire and there are no hard and fast rules to worship Him. There are great devotees like Annamayya, Tyāgayya, Ramadās, Tukāram, Mirābai and Purandaradās and many more who sang thousands of songs and kīrtans on God and inspired devotion among ordinary people. Even today, those kīrtanās are very popular and have become household songs passed on from generation to generation.
With their pure eyes and divine vision, many devotees had darśanam (seeing or experiencing) of God dear to oneself (ishṭa devata) either with or without attributes and form.
The land which is the home of utmost devotees like Sri Śankarāchārya, Sri Ramānuja, Sri Annamayya, Sri Tyagaraja, and many more is ‘Bhakti Bhūmi’.
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