Bhakti yoga means devotional yoga. The word ‘bhakti’ means ‘devotion’. This is the highest level of yoga. In the Vedas it is described as the topmost yoga system. And it is the only system where there are actual love and devotion. And this, of course, will bring us into the most intimate relationship with Bhagavan. And this is the perfection of life. So we do what we do throughout our day, throughout our life for the pleasure of Bhagavan.
It is just like in this world. We will use an example. It is hard to find such a case but, let’s say there is a husband who is really lovingly devoted to his wife and family. His pleasure in life is seeing them happy. So really everything he does is connected with their pleasure. And he is always thinking of them. Maybe he is at his job working very hard, maybe he has to work late. But he knows why he is working late, “Now I can provide them with food, shelter,” whatever he does, “I can take care of them, I can protect them.” This is his happiness. That is bhakti.
But really, bhakti is reserved for Bhagavan. So when the soul reaches that level of yogi perfection, they experience the highest pleasure. And this also takes us to the spiritual world but to the part of the spiritual world where there is a direct eternal relationship with Bhagavan. And this is the perfection of life. This is what we are all missing.
So all the yoga systems are designed to bring us back to the spiritual realm, they are not designed to keep us here. But as now has been explained, there are different places in the spiritual realm where we can go. Now, I mentioned that bhakti yoga is the topmost yoga system according to Bhagavan Himself, I mean this is what He said. Certainly He knows. They are all His systems.
So what happens to the gyana yogi? Does he miss out Bhagavan? Is he going to be on this other level and can never reach the perfection? Or the ashtanga yogi? Or the karma yogi? No, they all have a chance. And that chance comes to them when they meet a pure bhakti yogi, one who has reached that perfection. And he introduces them to Bhakti yoga.
So the gyana yogi realizes he is spirit. He realizes, “This world is not my home.” Many, many things he has realized. So he meets the bhakti yogi master and this master enlightens him about Bhakti yoga and how this will take him to the highest perfection. And immediately he can begin to engage in Bhakti yoga.
The same with ashtanga yogi. When ashtanga yogi meets the bhakti yogi, he can learn about where the Paramatma came from. He is absorbed in trans on the Paramatma. But he can learn that the Paramatma is just an expansion of Bhagavan and he can go and engage in eternal activities with Bhagavan. So naturally he is going to want to do that, “Oh, yes!”
And then the karma yogi, the same. He will meet the bhakti yogi who enlightens him into the devotional aspect of relationship and he reaches Bhakti yoga.
But one doesn’t have to go through all these other steps. One can begin with Bhakti yoga. You don’t have to go from Gyana yoga to Ashtanga yoga, to Karma yoga and finally to Bhakti yoga. One may do this but it is not necessary. One can start from the very beginning engaging in Bhakti yoga, living a life that is filled with activities that bring about devotion to Bhagavan. So the Bhakti yoga system is for everybody.
The example that is given. There is an ocean and the ocean is bhakti, devotional love for God, and the other yoga systems are like rivers running into the ocean. You can start, appear somewhere in the river and finally get to the ocean. Or you can go directly to the ocean and begin to swim in the ocean of Bhakti.
So we practice Bhakti yoga. We teach Bhakti yoga. It is a very simple process, it is not something that requires some great expertise. It is perfectly suitable for very young, very old and everybody in between, educated, not educated. It doesn’t matter because this is the yoga of the soul, yoga of the heart.
So one of the main activities is meditation, using the mantras. We did it earlier. This is one of the activities. This is the practice of Bhakti yoga. You have already practiced Bhakti yoga unknowingly. It was quite easy, wasn’t it? So, you can take advantage of this great opportunity. Tomorrow night, as I said, we are going to have a presentation focusing on the meditations. Once you learn them, you have got them, you can use them. You can do it at home, wherever you like.
That was a quick tour of yoga. You can see it is more than standing on the head. Yoga is the eternal science of the soul, and that is the science that we all need to study.