[QUOTE=Aksara;75285]It seems that bhakti-yoga is something like a hidden diamond. It could enrich so many people’s lives, but unfortunately it is either misrepresented or presented in a way that makes it difficult for most of us to relate to.
Here is a 5 min video with someone explaining the basics of bhakti so much better than I can. If you look around a little bit on the site you will also find descriptions of basic practices.
When I was young I was always thinking there must be something wrong in this world, especially the way we deal with each other. So much coldness and ignorance in relationships, so much competition and fight, even murder and even war. People hurt each other, harm each other, or at least are careless about the suffering of others. And ? how strange - my feeling was, that in most cases we don’t really want to be like that. We want to be in harmony with each other and the world. We want loving relationships, we want people to be happy.
Later I came across a passage in the bible called 1 Corinthians 13. I realized that what I had found there was what I was always looking for. Here it was ? something like pure unconditional unselfish love existed. Its characteristics are described in that passage. But when I told my friends about it they didn’t agree. They told me no, no, no…this is unreal, love is not like that. This is idealistic, you have to be realistic otherwise you will be disappointed. But I thought what the bible says is the definition of love. What we commonly call love in our life experiences is actually a completely different thing, it should not be called love at all, it should be given another name.
Later I got into contact with the wisdom from India, the difference between the eternal soul and the temporary body, different processes for realizing that difference, and ultimately bhakti-yoga.
The two most basic practices of bhakti-yoga are sravanam (hearing) and kirtanam (chanting). Hearing devotional stories about experiences of great souls and exchanges between them softens and soothes our hearts. Genuine bhakti stories remind us of our internal identity. As the soul is eternal its identity is also unchanging. In material life we take on so many different identities, but they are just superficial designations. Identification with our bodies and minds makes us forgetful about the person we really are, the pure soul. Hearing bhakti stories helps us regain our memories. No one will have to prove to us what our internal identity is, we will find it naturally, and we will feel at home again, and find peace and happiness just being what we are. Sravanam can also mean hearing the philosophy recorded in the scriptures in order to clear up the many misconceptions about life that bewilder us.
Kirtanam is about to become very famous. Yoga schools integrate it into their practices and there are kirtan festivals and celebrations springing up everywhere around the world. Spiritual songs and mantras sung together with like-minded people accompanied by musical instruments have such an incredible spiritual power that they can immediately give you realizations about your nature as a pure soul. In one of my first kirtan experiences I attained such an elevated and blissful state of consciousness that I almost became unaware of my body. I only noticed that fact in a break between two sessions when I suddenly again felt the strain of a backache that had already troubled me for a few days. Now it was difficult to sit on the floor and be relaxed. The next kirtan session started and I was soon lifted up again to the same state of blissfulness and completely forgot about my bodily pains. For me it was the proof that I am not my body, and that I can disconnect from it when I am completely absorbed in pure spiritual activities on the level of the soul.
Kirtanam can also refer to the individual chanting of mantras, which is also called japa meditation. I do this as my daily practice, and I am singing with others whenever I can.[/QUOTE]
So many unhappy people, angry, bitter at their own state of affairs channel thier anger and hate into others.
If there is anything we need a little more of its love.
Sometimes, when I think of the most high
I start to cry.