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Swami Sivananda: Philosophy of Bhakti

PHILOSOPHY OF BHAKTI

Bhakti or devotion is indispensable for attaining jnana. Jnana is the condition necessary for bhakti to reach its fullest
development in love. Knowledge without devotion is as futile as devotion without
knowledge.

Love follows from the basic oneness of all beings. God is being. World is becoming. The creation of the world does not in any way affect
the integrity of God. The world does not stand apart from God, but is pervaded
by him.

Bhakti is not mere emotionalism but is the turning of the will as well as the intellect towards the divine. The ideal devotee is a karma yogi as
well as a jnana yogi. Bhakti originates in knowledge, is essentially of the
nature of love, and bursts forth in selfless action.

True love gives the highest wisdom, Diffused love is wisdom. Concentrated wisdom is love. True
wisdom vibrates in the hearer. Bhakti begins with emotional dualism and
culminates in monism. Lover and the loved, the devotee and the object of
devotion, are fused into one spiritual ecstasy.

All creation is the family of God. This world is sustained by the power of God. The deepest urge of
life is to know God and to live in God. God's will is the very law which governs
the universe. All beings are guided and controlled by the divine
will.

Life on this physical plane is a mere preparation for the eternal life in God. Though the Lord resides in all creatures and things, there is a
difference in the degree of His manifestation in them. In human beings the Lord
is more manifest than in others. And, among human beings, He is more or less
manifest according to the degree of knowledge or consciousness that is
realised.

He who follows the path of meditation knows his Self as divine and one with God. Any man or woman has equal right to follow the path of
devotion. The greatest sinner can practise devotion and attain God-realisation.
Though unborn, God takes birth as an avatara (incarnation) to destroy the
wicked, to protect virtue and to establish dharma (righteousness).

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Tags: Bhakti, Sivananda, Swami

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