00
 
00
 
-
 
Hindu Heritage Study Program
\
\
\0
\
A Companion to the Study of Hinduism - Part I
0
HR 255.01
Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
~ Level - 2
Devotional and Ritualistic Paths of Religious Practices
0
Paths of Rituals, Devotion, Prayers and Surrender
0
   
\
Lesson
- 01 -
Bhakthi Pathway and Vedic Rituals
Various forms of Devotion and Sanskara in Practice
Companion
Part - I

 

 

Hindu Religious Faith and practice are based on its strong philosophy and the ancient tradition. Most of the followers know about the Vedas and the Vedantha philosophy. Every one understands that there is one God who is worshipped in many forms. Most of them are familiar with the Adhvaitha theory and Vedantha philosophy of oneness of the Divine and the human soul. However, the practice is much more closer to the Dhvaitha and Visishta-adhvaitha theories for the worship of the Divine. The paths of Karma yoga, Raja yoga, Bhakthi yoga and Jñana yoga are taught as the spiritual disciplines for the practice. Some feel that Jñana or the path of wisdom is the ultimate while others consider that after performing duties without attachment as in Karma yoga, practicing meditation and controlling thoughts as in Raja yoga and gaining knowledge of Jñana path one will reach the state of ultimate surrender of Bhakthi yoga.

Among all the paths of Hinduism, the most common and popular ones have been the ritualistic [Sanskaara] path and the Devotional [Bhakthi] paths of worship. The ritualistic path involves the practice of sanskaara which are performing the regular rituals for the formless Supreme Divine as prescribed in the Karma kanda and Upasana kanda portions of the Vedas. They are performed every day and for various events in one's life. These are practiced and performed mostly by persons knowledgeable in the Vedas and the Hindu philosophy and those initiated to the practice of these rituals.

The Bhakthi pathway is much easier to follow for everyone. It teaches a method of love and attachment towards a supreme God through one of His manifestations as in the Agamas and Puranas with devotional prayers and worship to various forms of Deities through poojas and bhajans. This form of Bhakthi develops into various levels and degrees as an inner attitude of an attachment and feeling of love towards God, from a blind faith and devotion to God in one form to total surrender to the Supreme.
   
\ 
\ 
Lesson
- 02 -
Bhakthi Yoga - the Devotional Pathway
Bhakthi or Devotion at various Grades or levels.
Companion
Part - I
PARA-BHAKTHI is the form of devotion with contemplation on the formless and unmanifested Brahman. It is the highest form of bhakthi suitable only for few learned people, the Jñana Yogis, who have the true knowledge of God.
\
APARA-BHAKTHI or Gauni-bhakthi is the lower level of love and devotion to a manifested Iswara and prayers to one of His forms accepted as Ishta-Devatha or a personal God. There are many levels or many grades in this form of devotion, the most important ones being - Bhaya-bhakthi, Ananya-bhakthi and Ekantha-bhakthi.

Ekantha-bhakthi is the purest and Sattvika form of devotion. Here, the devotee loves God for His own sake and not for His gifts. He learns to crave for his personal God alone, in prosperity as well as in adversity. He sees the presence of God, as his Ishta-devatha, in all places, at all times.

Ananya-bhakthi [meaning "not another"] is the exclusive and passionate, or the Rajasika form of worship of one's Ishta Devatha in the heart. It is an intense form of monotheism and gives a healthy direction to the spirit of devotion. But, it shall not give rise to bigotry and cruelty towards those who have different concept of God and different methods of approach. Among Hindus, it is well recognized that the gods whom others worship are only different forms of his own Ishta-devatha.

Bhaya-bhakthi is the very external form of worship of a Deity as God. It is the adoration paid to a form of God outside ourselves. It is the most basic form of a faith, based on the unenlightened or Tamasika form of feeling that God is external to us and dwells in a particular locality like the prayer room or Temple. The pilgrimages, worship of several images of God, symbols and sacred books are examples of this. Most popular religions do not rise above this level.

\ 
\ 
Lessons: - 01 , 02 , - , 03 , 04 , - , 05 , 06 , - , 07 , 08 , - , 09 , 10 , - , 11 , 12 , -, 13 , 14 --

00