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Bhakti Yoga

Because I have been writing so much about the nutritional aspects of cognitive enhancement, many people are bookmaking this site, in the social networks, under the calssification, 'Nutrition.' This has not been my intent. My intent, starting at the beginning of the year was to teach yogic methods of slimming the waistline and enhancing cognitive function. Nutrition, pharmaceuticals and tonics are tools available and needed to be described. Tomorrow, I will post a more advanced kriya, which is very effective in enhancing cognitive function. Today's post may seem like a diversion to some but, in an other view, it may be getting closer to my core. By the end of this discourse, you will know why I choose to diverge.

In yoga, the tradition or method in which I am most comfortable, there are many paths leading to the union of body, mind and spirit, with the organizing force of the universe. These numerous paths allow each one of us to choose the route most suitable to us, as individuals.

One such path is called bhakti yoga. Bhakti is a word of Sanskrit origin meaning devotion. As with everything yogic, there are many sub-categories. In this case, nine main categories but I'll not go into the subtlties here.

The scriptural source of these nine primary forms of bhakti is a verse in the Bhagavata Purana, spoken by Prahlada:
"Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) — these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."

The Bhagavata Purana describes three different levels of Brahman realization. The first is an impersonal state of blissful consciousness, similar to nirvana where one is aware of the great universal Brahman effulgence permeating everything; the second is classified as Paramatma realization, wherein one is actually able to see the Form of Godhead alongside one's own soul (atma); the third and ultimate realization is described as Bhagavan, in this state one has a direct loving relationship with The Supreme Personality of Godhead himself, in one or more of His transcendental forms.

The main difference between bhakti philosophy and all others is that the goal is also the means of attaining the goal. In other words, bhakti, devotional service to the Supreme, is attained by engaging in devotional service to the Supreme. The difference between the starting and concluding stages is that in the beginning the activity of bhakti is a forced engagement, whereas in the conclusion it is a spontaneous, loving reciprocation.

Those of you, who are familiar with my personal yoga practice, are very aware that bhakti yoga is not on my path. I have studied it; I have a certain understanding of it, but it is not "me". My personal path is inward and, to me, bhakti practice is too outward and its primary outward expression is through devotional singing and chanting.

I am writing about this today, for two reasons. Firstly, I have been able to allocate time to continue my translation attempt of Patanlali's yoga sutras from Sanskrit, to English, French, and German. Join me atra for a more technical introduction, or at here, for a less technical introduction. A translation effort like this always puts my mind in a different place.

Secondly, a bhakti yogini (yogin - masculine, yogini - feminine) made herself known, after visiting this site. I am quite sure she has never thought of herself in such terms. Her self-description is "I am drawn to explore the theories and techniques of gospel music as a path to ecstatic altered-state experience. I am also researching towards a book I am writing on the biophysics of ecstatic altered-state experience" and "The great irony for me has been getting crystal-clear about my path as I slide into the second half of my life, and discovering that of all things, it involves gospel music and ecstatic states. Now imagine a Jewish American woman, in Basel, trying to teach generically the theories and techniques of gospel music as an ecstatic path. Imagine trying to help SWISS in general to reach ecstatic states!?! I wake up every morning asking myself what brought me to Basel and simply trusting that the answer will, eventually come."

Her website is For you European subscribers, I suggest you experience her seminars. They look like they'd be great fun. For you Amerikans, who are always writing me about your dreams of escaping the fear filled fascist states, she is a great example. The lesson is do what you love and be your Self. Everything falls into place, when you do.


Any questions??