Devotion or Bhakti the Easiest Way to Self Realization - Swami Sivananda

Bhakti can be practiced under all conditions and by all alike.

Learning, austere penance, study of the Vedas, and brilliant intellect are not needed for the attainment of Bhakti or devotion. What is wanted is constant and living remembrance of God, coupled with faith. That is the reason why the path of Bhakti is available for everyone.

Nishada was born in a low caste; Sabari was a rustic woman; Dhruva was an uneducated boy; Vidura and Sudama were very poor; Vibhishana was an ugly Rakshasa; Hanuman was a monkey; Jatayu was a bird; Gajendra was an elephant; the Gopis of Brindavan were not initiated into Vedic rites; but all these attained God- realisation on account of their devotion and self-surrender.

Bhakti is intense devotion towards God. It is Prema of Prabhu. Sraddha and Visvas are the incipient stages of devotion. They develop into Bhakti. Later on faith is the most important thing in the path of devotion.

The qualifications for the attainment of Bhakti are a pure loving heart, faith, innocence, simplicity, truthfulness, Arjava, Vairagya and Brahmacharya.

God looks upon all with an equal eye. We all know how Sri Ramachandra ate the fruits already tasted by the Bhilini Sabari. Sudama’s grains are more welcome to Lord Krishna than the most sumptuous feast that can be offered by a mighty potentate on this earth. What He wants is your loving heart. He neither wants a big temple nor rich presents from you.

Bhakti can be acquired and cultivated. Constant Satsanga with devotees and holy people, repetition of His Name, Sri Ram, Sita Ram, Hari Om, etc., constant remembrance of the Lord, prayer, study of religious books such as the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, Hari Kirtan, service of Bhaktas, etc., can in fuse Bhakti in your heart.

Lust, anger, greed, Moha, pride, jealousy, hatred, egoism, desire for power, name and fame, hypocrisy are all obstacles in the way of Bhakti Yoga.

Swami Sivananda