The Yoga of Devotion
Out of a number of practices that lead to the ultimate goal of humanity, God Realisation, Bhakti Yoga is one of the most important. Bhakti Yoga means the art of worship. The profound worship based on the ideals of philosophy and spirituality, prompted by divine love, doubtless forms true Bhakti Yoga.
Although Bhakti Yoga cannot be divided into separate watertight compartments, it may be said to have three principal stages. The first stage, which is elementary, concerns itself with ritualistic worship. The second stage, which is intermediate, concerns itself with the constant remembrance of God.
The third stage, which is advanced, concerns itself with divine love and longing of a high order. The one in third stage is beyond thought, for his thoughts have been consumed in the blazing and all-consuming fire of an intense longing for God. When worship from the heart is offered for the sake of worship only, and without any thoughts of reward, it is called Nishkama Bhakti and is concerned with the second and third stages of Bhakti Yoga.
True, the aspiration to see and be one with God is the chief motive of the highest worship, but this aspiration is such that even when one comes face to face with God, it remains in full blaze until the Union is effected — as evident from what Hafiz exclaimed when he came face to face with God, “I always desired to see different things, but since I have seen You, I desire to see nothing but You.”
Today is the 123rd birth anniversary of Avatar Meher Baba