On Bhakti Yoga
1. The Himâlayâs said :– “O Mother! Now describe your Bhaki Yoga, by which ordinary men who have no dispassion get the knowledge of Brahma easily.
2-10. The Devî said:–“O Chief of Mountains! There are three paths, widely known, leading to the final liberation (Moksa). These are Karma Yoga, Jñâna Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Of these three, Bhakti Yoga is the easiest in all respects; people can do it very well without incurring any suffering to the body, and bringing the mind to a perfect concentration. This Bhakti (devotion) again is of three kinds as the Gunas are three. His Bhakti is Tâmasî who worships Me, to pain others, being filled with vanity and jealousy and anger. That Bhakti is Râjâsic, when one worships Me for one’s own welfare and does not intend to do harm to others. He has got some desire or end in view, some fame or to attain some objects of enjoyments and ignorantly, and thinking himself different from Me, worships Me with greatest devotion. Again that Bhakti is Sâttvikî when anybody worships Me to purify his sins, and offers to Me the result of all his Karmas, thinking that Jîva and Îs’vara are separate and knowing that this action of his is authorized in the Vedas and therefore must be observed. This Sâttvikî Bhakti is different from the Supreme Bhakti as the worshippers think Me separate; but it leads to the Supreme Bhakti. The other two Bhaktis do not lead to Parâ Bhakti (the Supreme Bhakti or the Highest unselfish Love.)
11-20. Now hear attentively about the Parâ Bhakti that I am now describing to you. He who hears always My Glories and recites My Name and whose mind dwells always, like the incessant flow of oil, in Me Who is the receptacle of all auspicious qualities and Gunas. But he has not the least trace of any desire to get the fruits of his Karma; yea he does not want Sâmîpya, Sârsti, Sâyujya, and Sâlokya and other forms of liberations! He becomes filled with devotion for Me alone, worships Me only; knows nothing higher than to serve Me and he does not want final liberation even. He does not like to forsake this idea of Sevya (to he served) and Sevaka (servant who serves). He always meditates on Me with constant vigilance and actuated by a feeling of Supreme Devotion; he does not think himself separate from Me but rather thinks himself “that I am the Bhagavatî.” He considers all the Jîvas as Myself and loves Me as he loves himself. He does not make any difference between the Jîvas and myself as he finds the same Chaitanya everywhere and mainfested in all. He does not quarrel with anybody as he has abandoned all ideas about separateness; he bows down, and worships the Chândâlas and all the Jîvas. He who becomes filled with devotion to Me whenever he sees My place, My devotees, and hears the Sâstras, describing My deeds, and whenever he meditates on My Mantras, he becomes filled with the highest love and his hairs stand on their ends out of love to Me and tears of love flow incessantly from both his eyes; he recites My name and My deeds in a voice, choked with feelings of love for Me. [N. B.– The Parâ Prema Bhakti is like the maddening rush of a river to the Ocean; thence in the shape of vapour to the highest; Himâlayân Mountain peaks to be congealed into snow where various plays of bright colours take place.
21-30. O Lord of the mountains! He worships Me with intense feeling as the Mother of this Universe and the Cause of all causes. He performs the daily and occasional duties and all My vows and sacrifices without showing any miserly feeling in his expenditure of money. He naturally longs to perform My festivities and to visit places where My Utsabs are held. He sings My name loudly and dances, being intoxicated with My love, and has no idea of egoism and is devoid of his body-idea, thinking that the body is not his. He thinks that whatever is Prârabdha (done in his previoas lives) must come to pass and therefore does not become agitated as to the preservation of his body and soul. This sort of Bhakti is called the Parâ Bhakti or the Highest Devotion. Here the predominent idea is the idea of the Devî and no other idea takes its place. O Mountain! He gets immediately dissolved in My Nature of Consciousness whose heart is really filled with such Parâ Bhakti or All Love. The sages call the limiting stage of this devotion and dispassion as Jñâna (knowledge). When this Jñâna arises, Bhakti and dispassion get their ends satisfied. Yea! He goes then to the Mani Dvîpa, when his Ahamkâra does not crop up by his Prârabdba Karma, though he did not fail to give up his life in devotion. O Mountain! That man enjoys there all the objects of enjoyments, though unwilling and at the end of the period, gets the knowledge of My Consciousness. By that he attains the Final Liberation for ever. Without this Jñâna, the Final Liberation is impossible.
31-33. He realises Para Brahma who gets in this body of his the above Jñâna of the Pratyak Âtmâ in his heart; when his Prâna leaves his body, he does not get re-birth. The S’ruti says :– “He, who knows Brahma, becomes Brahma.” In the logic of Kantha, Châmîkara, (gold on the neck) the ignorance vanishes. When this ignorance is destroyed by knowledge, he attains all his knowledge the object to be attained, when he recoginises the gold on his neck.
34-37. O Best of Mountains! This My consciousness is different from the perceived pots, etc., and unperceived Mâyâ. The image of this Paramâtmâ is seen in bodies other than the Âtmâ as the image falls in a mirror; as the image falls in water, so this Paramâtmâ is seen in the Pitrilokas. As the shadow and light are quite distinct, so in My Manidvîpa, the knowledge of oneness without a second arises. That man resides in the Brahma Loka for the period of a Kalpa who leaves his body without attaining Jñâna, though he had his Vaîrâgyam. Then he takes his birth in the family of a pure prosperous family and practising again his Yoga habits, gets My Consciousness.
38-45. O King of Mountains! This Jñâna arises after many births it does not come in one birth; so one should try one’s best to get this Jñâna. If, attaining this rare human birth, one does not attain this Jñâna, know that a great calamity has befallen to him. For this human birth is very hard to attain; and then the birth in a Brâhmin family is rarer; moreover amongst the Brâhmins, the knowledge of the Veda (the Consciousness is exceedingly rare.) The attaining of the six qualities (which are considered as six wealth), restraint of passions, etc.; the success in Yoga and the acquisition of a pure real Guru, all these are very hard to be attained in this life. O Mountain! The maturity and the activities of the organs of the senses, and the purification of the body according to the Vedic rites are all very difficult to attain. Know this again that to get a desire for final liberation is acquired by the merits acquired in many births. That man’s birth is entirely futile, who attaining all the above qualifications does not try his best to attain this Jñâna, So one should try one’s best to acquire the Jñâna. Then, at every moment, he gets the fruits of the As’vamedha sacrifice. There is no doubt in this. As ghee (clarified butter) resides potentially in milk, so the Vijñâna Brahma resides in every body. So make the mind the churning rod and always churn with it. Then, by slow degrees, the knowledge of Brahma will be attained. Man attains blessedness when he gets this Jñâna; so the Vedânta says: Thus I have described to you in brief, O King of Mountains! all that you wanted to hear. Now what more do you want?
Here ends the Thirty-seventh Chapter of the Seventh Book on the glories of Bhakti in the Mahâ Purânam, S’ri Mad Devî Bhâgavatam, of 18,000 Verses, by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.