Bhakti Yoga: Definition and Meaning

The ability to feel affection towards things is a characteristic of the human mind. No human being exists without love or affection for anything, which is the foundation for the yoga method known as Bhakti. The human psyche has many functions, including rational comprehension, emotion, love, activity, etc., but love or affection is a crucial, unavoidable aspect of the human personality

What Exactly Bhakti Yoga Explains?

Bhakti-Yoga is a true, sincere pursuit of the Lord that starts, continues, and concludes in Love. We achieve eternal freedom through just one minute of the insanity of intense love for God. In his explanation of the Bhakti-aphorisms, Nârada states that "Bhakti" means "passionate devotion for God." "When a man achieves it, he loves everything and hates nothing; he is eternally content." This love cannot be equated with any material gain because it does not exist as long as material demands persist. Bhakti yoga is the yogic path of Bhakti, which focuses on the development of emotions related to the Divine and is said to produce bliss when one unites with one's favorite manifestation of God. One surrenders their ego and desire-based lifestyle in the process. This route may be well-known and is also the easiest to follow. As a result, one may observe that many bhakti saints are adored in various regions of the nation.

Origin of Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti yoga has Hindu roots and is cited in the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas, two early Hindu texts. The Hindu epic Mahabharata's Bhagavad Gita describes Bhakti yoga as a way to attain spiritual enlightenment via devotion to God. The Bhakti movement, which began in South India in the seventh century and extended across all of India in the following centuries, is likewise centered on the practice of Bhakti yoga. The Bhakti movement strongly emphasized the value of devotion to God and the heart's vital place on the spiritual journey. Hindus all across the world continue to practice bhakti yoga, which is an essential component of Hinduism.


The path of Bhakti Yoga includes chanting. Chanting is a technique for centering attention on a single idea through intensely felt and resolutely motivated devotional singing. Chanting is the simplest and most effective method of harmonizing and fortifying the mind. Chanting is largely an emotional healing treatment. As a "yogic tranquilizer," it is regarded as a particularly beneficial treatment for people who have experienced psychological trauma. When you chant, your brain shifts from faster beta waves, connected to anxiety states, to slower alpha waves, connected to extremely relaxed states. Because of the similarities between music and emotions, kirtan is thought to have a potent impact on emotional states.

Benefits of Chanting

  • The thymus gland is activated by holding sound vibrations in the chest; the pituitary gland is stimulated by holding the sound at the soft palate.

  • We can get over our self-consciousness by chanting.

  • Singing is a natural way to communicate happiness; it happens when one's inner spirit is lifted. (Those who experience little joy may initially find this exercise quite challenging.)

  • The voice cords vibrate when they are struck together. These vibrations cause the ear to vibrate, which causes the eardrum and its fluids to vibrate.

  • The brain receives vibrations and noises, acknowledges them, and compares them to memories of earlier sounds and mental images. Different brain areas are stimulated by hearing new sounds, such as Sanskrit.

  • Chanting eases tension in various bodily areas (both organs and glands). Observe how the throat and abdomen need to be strong in different places to produce different sounds.

Spiritual Realisation: The Aim of Bhakti-Yoga

These dry particulars serve no use but to bolster the Bhakta's will; they are of no further value to him. He is walking down a route that will soon take him past the murky and chaotic areas of reason and into the domain of realization. Through the kindness of the Lord, he quickly ascends to a level where petty and helpless reason is left far behind, and the direct awareness of dawn replaces the intellectual equivalent of stumbling through the dark. He almost perceives; he no longer thinks and believes. He notices that he is not arguing anymore.

Moreover, is not this — experiencing, feeling, and enjoying God — more important than everything else? No, Bhaktas who have insisted that it is superior to even Moksha—liberation—have not been lacking. It also has the most usefulness, right? There are people—quite a few of them who believe that only things that provide man creature comforts are useful or important. None of these—including religion—is useful to them since they do not provide them with material goods or bodily comfort. For them, anything that does not satisfy their senses and state their desires is useless. However, each mind's specific demands condition utility in that particular mind.

Therefore, to men who never do anything more than eat and drink. They only receive sense-enjoyments from bearing children and dying; they must wait and experience several other births and rebirths before they can recognize even the slightest need for anything else. However, for those for whom the satisfaction of the senses is only like the mindless play of a newborn and for whom the eternal interests of the soul are of incomparably more worth than the transient interests of this life, God and the love of God constitute the highest and the sole usefulness of human existence. Thank God, there are still some of them in this age of excessive materialism.

Bhakti Yoga and Psychology

Emotional intelligence (EI) skills and innate emotional behaviors perfectly complement bhakti yoga. The word "Bhakti" can be approximately translated into "Emotional Excellence" in English. In Bhakti Yoga, the aspirant's or seeker's emotional life gradually changes, and (s)he starts to dwell more and more in a state of the unadulterated, unconditional love of and for the Divine. It was said in ancient India that love is when one's happiness merges with that of others. As it is known in yogic terminology, Bhakti is an emotional condition that develops into emotional excellence and leads to excellence. Many psychiatric problems, including sadness, stress, and anxiety, may be brought on by our tendency to contain our feelings. Sixty-nine senior depression patients in a residential home underwent comparison trials between yoga, ayurveda, and waitlist control by Telles S. and Krishnamurthy. Researchers noted the response from the yoga patients following the practice of Bhakti and discovered a substantial decline in depression levels. Bhakti yoga improves mental and spiritual well-being, lessens negative thinking, and gives the willpower to confront challenges.

The Need of a Guru

Every soul is meant to achieve perfection. Moreover, every living thing will eventually reach perfection. Whatever we are now is the consequence of our previous actions and ideas, and whatever we will be tomorrow is the result of what we are thinking and doing right now. We still seek outside assistance; in most situations, such assistance is very required. When it arrives, the soul's greater capabilities and potential are accelerated. The man eventually becomes pure and perfect when spiritual life is reawakened and progress is enlivened.

This frantic urge cannot be obtained from reading. The only source of impulses for a soul is another soul; nothing else. We may spend our entire lives reading and have incredibly sharp minds. However, in the end, we discover that our spiritual growth was little. It is untrue that a high level of intellectual growth always coincides with a commensurate level of spiritual development in a person. Sometimes we believe that studying books enhances our spiritual lives. However, if we examine how studying books affect us, we will discover that, at the very least, our intellect benefits from such studies, not our inner soul.

Although practically all of us can speak beautifully about spiritual topics, we find ourselves so terribly lacking in action and leading a spiritual life because texts need to be revised to promote spiritual growth. The impetus that quickens the spirit must originate from another soul. The person whose soul the impulse originates from is known as the Guru, also known as the teacher, and the person whose soul the impulse is transmitted to is known as the Shishya, also known as the pupil.


It is critical to approach Bhakti yoga with the proper mindset and intentions, just as you should with any spiritual practice. Bhakti yoga aims to develop love and devotion to a higher power; hence, it is crucial to watch out that this attention stays healthy and manageable. Additionally, it is critical to remember that Bhakti yoga is one of many routes to enlightenment, and what works for one person might not work for another. As with any spiritual practice, Bhakti yoga should be approached with an open mind and respect for other people's traditions and beliefs.

Updated on: 03-Feb-2023


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