Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Importance of Navavidha Bhakti

With the Navarathri fast approaching what better topic to write on than the ‘Nava’s, be it the Navarasa, the Navadhanya, the Navarathri itself or the Navavidha Bhakti.

Bhakti or devotion towards God can be expressed in nine different ways. God is set to be the omnipresent – He is present everywhere, the omnipotent – He has unlimited power and the omniscient – He has total knowledge of everything.

Therefore, it is easy to please Him. He may test us sometimes, but the test itself is to make us realise how strong we are!It does not matter how we pray Him or express our Bhakti towards Him, what matters is that we must seek Him to know ourselves.The nine ways of showing our Bhakti towards Him helps in the process of strengthening our inner self and realising our powers.

The first way to express our devotion is by way of satsang or company. In the company of other devotees we constantly are thinking about God and talking about Him. The second method is to hear the stories of His mighty deeds that reiterate the belief that we have in Him. The third way of showing our Bhakti is through Guru Bhakti or service to one’s Guru.

The fourth way is to sing kirtans in praise of the God. Repeating or chanting the name of God is the fifth way and this is known as Japa. The fifth way of worshipping God is by singing bhajans.

The sixth mode of bhakti is by controlling the senses and practising selfless service, while maintain a high moral character.

The seventh mode of bhakti is by serving the saints who serve God. According to Tamil literature there was an azhwar by the name ‘thondaradipodi'. Thondar means the one who serves God. Adi means the feet. Podi means the dust from the feet of the saints. He would take the dust from the feet of all the devotees of God and put it on his head. This, in itself, is an expression of Bhakti.

The eight, and by far the most difficult to practise is to find no fault in anyone or anything, as everything is created by God. Being contented with what you have and not desire for more is the true form of expression of Bhakti.

The ninth way of bhakti is the total surrender to God. The phrase ‘chummairuppade shivam’ which when translated means, not getting involved in anything is God. Just being one with God, in thoughts is the toughest state to be in. 

This Navavidha bhakti is explained by God, in his Ram avatar to Shabari.
For each of the nine fold manifestation of Bhakti there is a supporting story, which will follow this introduction.
Lord Rama explains the nine ways of expressing devotion to Shabari...