Types of Bhakti

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Types of Bhakti

Bhakti is devotion. Feelings of respect, love and Shraddhaa towards Ved, Shaastra and Parameshwar, saints, and Guru is called Bhakti. It can be simply listening to discourse, having Darshan, touching Bhagavaan's feet, or staying in the company of Bhagavaan. In Tulasee's Maanas, Raam describes nine types of Bhakti (Navadhaa Bhakti).

[Aangiras, p 256-257] Devotion, especially to one's personal God. The devotee can consider his relationship with God in various forms - (1) that of a servant to his master, such as Hanumaan to Raam; (2) that of a child to his parents as that of Prahlaad to Naaraayan; (3) that of a parent to child as that of Yashodaa to Krishn; (4) that of a friend to a friend as that of Arjun to Krishn; (5) as that of a cow to her cowherd as that of Gopee of Vrindaa Van to Krishn; (6) even that of a wife to her husband as that of Rukminee or Meeraa to Krishn. Bhakti consists of love and trust. This human emotion is as old with human beings as the relationship between a man and a woman who love and trust each other.


Bheeshm Jee asked Maharshi Pulastya - "Who are called Brahmaa's Bhakt?" Pulastya Jee said - "Bhakti is of three types - Maanas, Vaachik and Kaayik (by mind, by speech and by body). Besides this, there are three types of Bhakti more - Laukik, Vaidik and Adhyaatmic. When Ved meanings are thought by Dhyaan, that is called Maanas Bhakti. When one does Mantra Jap, Ved reading, and doing Jap in forests, it is called Vaachik Bhakti. When one worships Bhagavaan by keeping fasts, doing Vrat, discipline, Chaandraayan Vrat etc, that is called Kaayik Bhakti. These types of Bhakti is told for Dwijaati people.
[Padm Puraan, 1/12]

Who worship Brahmaa Jee with cow's Ghee, milk, Yogurt, Dhoop, ornaments, fruits, Naivedya etc, that is called Laukik Bhakti. Who worships him by Ved Mantra Jap and teaching Sanhitaa etc, it is called Vaidik Bhakti. When Havan is done by offering Aahuti of Havishya pronouncing Ved Mantra, that is also called Vaidik Bhakti. Whatever Agnihotra is done on Poornimaa and Amaavasyaa, whatever Dakshinaa is given in Yagya, whatever Kheer is offered to Devtaa etc, that also come under Vaidik Bhakti. Whatever worship is done for Agni, Prithvi, Vaayu, Aakaash, Chandramaa etc, it all goes to Brahmaa. Brahmaa's Adhyaatmic Bhakti is of two types - Saankhyaj, and Yogaj. Pradhaan, etc Praakrit elements are 24 in number. They all are Jad (unconscious) and consumable. Their enjoyer Purush (here it is referred to man) is the 25th element. He is conscious. To know all these elements properly is known as Saankhyaj Bhakti. Learned people consider it Adhyaatmic Bhakti under Saankhya Shaastra. Who meditates upon Brahmaa Jee's figure by Praanaayaam and controls his Indriyaan, it is called Yogic Bhakti, or Paraa Bhakti. Whoever does this kind of Bhakti, he is called Brahmaa Jee's Bhakt.
[Padm Puraan, 1-Srishti Khand, p 44-45]


Ambareesh said to Naarad Jee - "Now I want to know something about Bhakti that which man should do which type of Bhakti when, where and how?" Naarad Jee said - "Bhagavaan's Bhakti destroys all kinds of sins. Bhakti is of several types - 

(1) Maanasee Bhakti (by mind) - When Vishnu is pleased by Dhaaranaa, intellect and understanding the meaning of Ved, it is called Maanasee Bhakti. 
(2) Vaachikee Bhakti (by speech) - When Bhagavaan is pleased by pronouncing Ved Mantra, Jap, and reading Aaranyak, it is called Vaachikee Bhakti. 
(3) Kaayikee Bhakti (by body) - When Bhagavaan is pleased by Vrat (taking any vow), Upavaas (fast), following some discipline, controlling one's five Indriyaan, it is called Kaayikee Bhakti.
(4) Laukikee Bhakti (worldly) - Serving Bhagavaan's feet by Arghya, dance, playing musical instruments, singing, Jaagaran, and worshipping etc is called Laukikee Bhakti.
(5)  Vaidikee Bhakti (according to Ved) - Pleasing Bhagavaan by Jap of Ved Mantra, study of Sanhitaa, offering Aahuti of Havishya in Yagya, or doing Yagya is called Vaidikee Bhakti.
(6) Adhyaatmikee Bhakti (spiritual) - Pleasing Bhagavaan by doing Yagya on Amaavasyaa, Poornimaa, Vishuv Yog (Mesh and Tulaa - Aries and Libra, Sankraanti) is called Adhyaatmikee Bhakti.
[Padm Puraan, 4/19, p 580]


Paarvatee Jee asked - "Hey Vishweshwar, What is the form of the best Bhakti?" Mahaadev Jee said - "Bhakti has been told of three types - Saatwik, Raajasik and Taamasik. Among them Saatwik is the best, Raajasik is medium and the Taamasik is the lowest kind of Bhakti. Who desire for Moksh, they should do Saatwik type of Bhakti of Shree Hari. Whatever Bhakti is done with pride, or to boast himself, or with jealousy, or to destroy somebody, that kind of Bhakti is called Taamasik. Who does Bhakti with worldly desires or to get wealth, it is called Raajasik Bhakti. Whatever Bhakti is done with the desire of destroying the Karm bondage and attaining Moksh with the feeling of surrendering to Hari, that kind of Bhakti is called Saatwik. That is why one should worship Vishnu with Lakshmee."
(Padm Puraan, 5-Uttar Khand, p. 784)


Navadhaa Bhakti
Bhakti means devotion especially to one's personal Bhagvaan (Isht Dev). A devotee believes that enlightenment follows Bhakti, but not the other way round. Bhakti consists of love and trust. It is not a new phenomenon in Hindu religion, it is as old as Ved.

There are nine types of Bhakti told by Shree Raam to Shabaree in Raamaayan, Aranya Kaand.
(1) Satsang (company of good people). 
(2) Interest in hearing my Kathaa. 
(3) Serving Guru's feet without any pride. 
(4) To sing my qualities without cheating. 
(5) To do Jaap of my Mantra and strong faith in me - This is famous in Ved. 
(6) Control on Indriyaan, good nature and character, Vairaagya from Karm and following saints' behavior. 
(7) To see me in the whole world and regard saints more than me. 
(8) To be contented whatever is available and not seeing others faults even in dream. 
(9) Plainness and behaving well with everybody without cheating, having trust in me and feeling neither happiness nor sadness in any situation.


Prahlaad describes nine types of Bhakti to Hiranyakashyap -
(1) Hearing Bhagvaan's attributes, Leelaa and names
(2) Keertan  - singing Bhagavaan's attributes, Leelaa and names
(3) Remembering His forms, names etc
(4) erving His feet
(5) Poojaa Archaa
(6) Vandan (prayer)
(7) Daasya (serving Him with the feeling of slavery)
(8) Sakhya (Knowing Him as one's friend)
(9) Aatm Nivedan (surrendering)
[Bhaagvat Puraan, 7/3]

 

 

 

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Created on 03/15/2006 and Updated on 11/25/2008
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