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The Secret of Bhakti Yoga
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There are various kinds of yoga; such as karma-yoga, based on purifying our activities; Jnana-yoga, based on acquiring spiritual knowledge and insight; Raja-yoga, the mystical yoga system; and Bhakti-yoga, attaining union with God through love and devotion. From these yoga systems, additional systems have also developed. But these four basic forms of yoga are all discussed in the primary and essential Vedic text of the Bhagavad-gita. But out of all of them, Lord Krishna specifically directs us toward engaging in Bhakti-yoga, love and devotion toward Him. So why is this so special?

Bhakti-yoga is the devotional service performed for Lord Krishna, or one of His avataras, such as Lord Vishnu, Lord Ramachandra, etc. Lord Krishna explains that, Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti [Arjuna], perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free frombondage.28 This means free from karma, which is an important point in our spiritual progress.

Sri Krishna goes on to relate that Those who know Me as the Supreme Lord understand and know Me even at the time of death.29 And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.30 As Lord Krishna further relates, The form which you are seeing with your transcendental eyes cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am. My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding. One who is engaged in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of previous activities and from mental speculation, who is friendly to every living entity, certainly comes to Me.31

Lord Krishna also explains in the Bhagavata Purana that the residents of both heaven and hell want to take a human birth on earth since such a human life provides the best facility to achieve transcendental knowledge and love of God. Neither heavenly nor hellish bodies provide the efficient means for such opportunity.33 This is the fortunate nature of life on this earth planet and in these humans bodies, which we often take so much for granted.

Therefore, as Lord Krishna goes on to explain in the Bhagavata Purana: Abandon the Vedic mantras as well as the procedures in the supplementary Vedic literature and all their injunctions. Simply take shelter of Me alone, for I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead situated within the heart of all conditioned souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, and by My grace be free from fear in all circumstances.53

Krishna further clarifies in the Bhagavata Purana that whatever mystic perfections can be achieved by good birth, herbs, austerities and mantras can all be achieved by devotional service to Him; indeed one cannot achieve the actual perfection of yoga by any other means.57Everything that can be attained through fruitive or karmic activities, penance, knowledge, detachment, mystic yoga, charity, religious duties, or any other means of perfecting life can be easily achieved by His devotee simply through loving service to Him. If for some reason His devotee desires to be promoted to heaven or attain liberation, or a residence in His abode, such benedictions are easily achieved

A similar point is reiterated by the Lord in His form as Kapiladeva when He explains that because His devotee is completely absorbed in thought of Him, he does not desire such benedictions as going to the higher planetary systems, like Satyaloka, nor any of the eight mystic powers obtained from yoga, nor does he desire to be liberated into the kingdom of God. However, the devotee nonetheless enjoys all offered benedictions even in this life, even without asking for them.59

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