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Bhagavata Dharma in Hinduism – The Path Of Devotion

Bhagavata Dharma is a code of conduct or lifestyle in Hinduism. This is prescribed for the devotees who choose only devotion as the means of moksha (liberation from here and now). Bhagavata Dharma acknowledges Krishna not merely as an incarnation of Vishnu but as the Supreme Godhead himself, of whom Vishnu is only a partial emanation.

Bhakti (devotion) is exalted to the highest position in Bhagavata Dharma. One can reach perfection simply by devotional service by accepting Krishna as the Supreme Reality.

Severe penance and austerity are irrelevant in this form of spirituality.

It not only protests against ceremonialism and priesthood but also reconciles the worship of the deity with the transcendence of the Absolute.

Supreme Reality imposes human limitations upon itself and exists with man as his own companion.

As man becomes aware of Brahman dwelling inside him, his devotion and inner joy blossom.

Krishna in his own words asserts that neither Yoga, nor Samkhya, nor righteousness, nor study of the Vedas captivates him, as does intense devotion.

The right to bhakti is achieved by surrendering to Krishna. One should do everything that is liked by Krishna, avoid all those that are disliked by him, have faith in his protecting ability, believing him as the only shelter, place one’s self at his mercy, and realize one’s helplessness.

In this spiritual tradition, certain outward expressions of inner feeling are common, such as speaking in a voice choked with emotion, weeping at the thought of being separated from Krishna, singing with fervor and dancing with joy, etc.
Bhagavata Dharma enumerates the duties pertaining to the four varnas and four ashramas., duties of a recluse, and yogic disciplines in the form of five yama and five niyamas.

Bhagavata Dharma prescribes nine types of devotion:
  1. Sravanam
  2. Keertanam
  3. Smaranam
  4. Archanam
  5. Vandanam
  6. Dasyam
  7. Sakhyam
  8. Pada Sevanam
  9. Atma nivedanam
Almost all the Vaishnava thinkers like Madhava, Nimbarka, Vallabha and Chaitanya were influenced by the philosophy.

In South India, the fervent bhakti of the Alwars is similar to the saints of the other Vaishnava schools.