Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 7 Chapter 37



On Bhakti Yoga

1. The Himalayas said "O Mother! Now describe your Bhakti Yoga, by which ordinary men who have no dispassion get the knowledge of Brahmā easily.

2-10. The Devī said:-

"O Chief of Mountains! There are three paths, widely known, leading to the final liberation (Mokṣa). These are Karma Yoga, Jñāna Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

Of these three, Bhakti Yoga is the easiest in all respects; people can do it very well without incurring any suffering to the body, and bringing the mind to a perfect concentration.

This Bhakti (devotion) again is of three kinds as the Guṇas are three:

His Bhakti is Tāmasī who worships Me, to pain others, being filled with vanity and jealousy and anger.

That Bhakti is Rājasic, when one worships Me for one's own welfare and does not intend to do harm to others. He has got some desire or end in view, some fame or to attain some objects of enjoyments and ignorantly, and thinking himself different from Me, worships Me with greatest devotion.

Again that Bhakti is Sāttvic when anybody worships Me to purify his sins, and offers to Me the result of all his Karmas, thinking that Jīva and Iśvara are separate and knowing that this action of his is authorized in the Vedas and therefore must be observed.

This Sāttvic Bhakti is different from the Supreme Bhakti as the worshippers think Me separate; but it leads to the Supreme Bhakti. The other two Bhaktis do not lead to Parā Bhakti (the Supreme Bhakti or the Highest unselfish Love.)

11-20. Now hear attentively about the Parā Bhakti that I am now describing to you.

He who hears always My Glories and recites My Name and whose mind dwells always, like the incessant flow of oil, in Me Who is the receptacle of all auspicious qualities and Guṇas.

But he has not the least trace of any desire to get the fruits of his Karma; yea he does not want Sāmīpya, Sārṣṭi, Sāyujya, and Sālokya and other forms of liberations!

He becomes filled with devotion for Me alone, worships Me only; knows nothing higher than to serve Me and he does not want final liberation even.

He does not like to forsake this idea of Sevya (to he served) and Sevaka (servant who serves). He always meditates on Me with constant vigilance and actuated by a feeling of Supreme Devotion;

he does not think himself separate from Me but rather thinks himself "that I am the Bhagavatī." He considers all the Jīvas as Myself and loves Me as he loves himself.

He does not make any difference between the Jīvas and myself as he finds the same Chaitanya everywhere and manifested in all.

He does not quarrel with anybody as he has abandoned all ideas about separateness; he bows down, and worships the Chāṇḍālas and all the Jīvas.

He who becomes filled with devotion to Me whenever he sees My place, My devotees, and hears the Śāstras, describing My deeds, and whenever he meditates on My Mantras, he becomes filled with the highest love and his hairs stand on their ends out of love to Me and tears of love flow incessantly from both his eyes; he recites My name and My deeds in a voice, choked with feelings of love for Me.

21-30. O Lord of the mountains! He worships Me with intense feeling as the Mother of this Universe and the Cause of all causes. He performs the daily and occasional duties and all My vows and sacrifices without showing any miserly feeling in his expenditure of money.

He naturally longs to perform My festivities and to visit places where My Utsabs are held. He sings My name loudly and dances, being intoxicated with My love, and has no idea of egoism and is devoid of his body-idea, thinking that the body is not his.

He thinks that whatever is Prārabdha (done in his previous lives) must come to pass and therefore does not become agitated as to the preservation of his body and soul.

This sort of Bhakti is called the Parā Bhakti or the Highest Devotion. Here the predominant idea is the idea of the Devī and no other idea takes its place.

O Mountain! He gets immediately dissolved in My Nature of Consciousness whose heart is really filled with such Parā Bhakti or All Love.

The sages call the limiting stage of this devotion and dispassion as Jñāna (knowledge).

When this Jñāna arises, Bhakti and dispassion get their ends satisfied. Yea! He goes then to the Mani Dvīpa, when his Ahaṁkāra does not crop up by his Prārabdha Karma, though he did not fail to give up his life in devotion.

O Mountain! That man enjoys there all the objects of enjoyments, though unwilling and at the end of the period, gets the knowledge of My Consciousness. By that he attains the Final Liberation forever. Without this Jñāna, the Final Liberation is impossible.

31-33. He realises Parā Brahmā who gets in this body of his the above Jñāna of the Pratyak Ātma in his heart; when his Prāṇa leaves his body, he does not get re-birth.

The śruti says:

"He, who knows Brahmā, becomes Brahmā."

 In the logic of Kanṭha, Chāmīkara, (gold on the neck) the ignorance vanishes. When this ignorance is destroyed by knowledge, he attains all his knowledge the object to be attained, when he recognises the gold on his neck.

34-37. O Best of Mountains! This My consciousness is different from the perceived pots, etc., and unperceived Māyā.

The image of this Paramātmā is seen in bodies other than the Ātma as the image falls in a mirror; as the image falls in water, so this Paramātmā is seen in the Pitrilokas.

As the shadow and light are quite distinct, so in My Manidvīpa, the knowledge of oneness without a second arises.

That man resides in the Brahmā Loka for the period of a Kalpa who leaves his body without attaining Jñāna, though he had his Vairāgyam. Then he takes his birth in the family of a pure prosperous family and practising again his Yoga habits, gets My Consciousness.

38-45. O King of Mountains! This Jñāna arises after many births it does not come in one birth; so one should try one's best to get this Jñāna.

If, attaining this rare human birth, one does not attain this Jñāna, know that a great calamity has befallen to him. For this human birth is very hard to attain; and then the birth in a Brāhmin family is rarer; moreover amongst the Brāhmins, the knowledge of the Veda (the Consciousness is exceedingly rare.)

The attaining of the six qualities (which are considered as six wealth), restraint of passions, etc.; the success in Yoga and the acquisition of a pure real Guru, all these are very hard to be attained in this life.

O Mountain! The maturity and the activities of the organs of the senses, and the purification of the body according to the Vedic rites are all very difficult to attain.

Know this again that to get a desire for final liberation is acquired by the merits acquired in many births.

That man's birth is entirely futile, who attaining all the above qualifications does not try his best to attain this Jñāna, so one should try one's best to acquire the Jñāna. Then, at every moment, he gets the fruits of the Aśva Medhā sacrifice. There is no doubt in this.

As ghee (clarified butter) resides potentially in milk, so the Vijñāna Brahmā resides in every body. So make the mind the churning rod and always churn with it. Then gradually the knowledge of Brahmā will be attained.

Man attains blessedness when he gets this Jñāna; so the Vedānta says.

Thus I have described to you in brief, O King of Mountains, all that you wanted to hear. Now what more do you want?

Here ends the Thirty-seventh Chapter of the Seventh Book on the glories of Bhakti in the Mahā Purāṇam, Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.