Before we look at the 5 Bhavas, we first need to understand Bhakti Yoga. It is a term rooted in ancient Indian philosophy, represents the spiritual path of love and devotion towards the Divine. This enchanting dance of the soul with the cosmos is not only an attempt to seek unity with the divine consciousness, but also an exploration of one’s innermost feelings, emotions, and senses.

The 5 Bhavas – A breakdown.

In the grand tapestry of Bhakti Yoga, ‘Bhavas’ are the spiritual sentiments or emotions that individuals experience while practising devotional yoga. There are five essential bhavas that bhaktas (devotees) cultivate and express on their spiritual journey. In this blog post, we will delve into these captivating bhavas, immersing ourselves in the profound depth of this spiritual pursuit.

1. Shanta Bhava – Serenity and Peace

The Shanta Bhava is the spiritual sentiment of peace, tranquillity, and serenity. This bhava is the manifestation of a calm and composed mind, unperturbed by worldly distractions. Practitioners of Bhakti Yoga aspire to reach this state of eternal peace, viewing the Divine as the ultimate embodiment of peace and tranquillity. They cultivate an unwavering equanimity, irrespective of the circumstances, embodying a serene lake that remains still despite the stormy winds of life.

2. Dasya Bhava – Devotion in Servitude

Dasya Bhava embodies the sentiment of servitude towards the Divine. Here, the practitioner visualises themselves as the humble servant of the Divine, carrying out their earthly duties as a service to the divine consciousness. This spiritual sentiment fosters humility, reverence, and a sense of duty, helping devotees transcend their egoistic tendencies.

3. Sakhya Bhava – Friendship with the Divine

In Sakhya Bhava, the devotee perceives the Divine as their dearest friend. This sentiment fosters a deep sense of intimacy and camaraderie with the Divine. It enables practitioners to converse, share, and be at ease with the Divine, just like they would be with a close friend. In the safe haven of this friendship, devotees find comfort, empathy, and an unconditional love that transcends human limitations.

4. Vatsalya Bhava – Parental Love for the Divine

Vatsalya Bhava signifies the divine sentiment of viewing and loving the Divine as a child. This bhava gives rise to a nurturing, protective, and selfless form of love that is found in a parent-child relationship. The devotee, in this scenario, behaves like a loving parent, taking care of the Divine as a cherished child, thereby experiencing immense joy and a profound sense of fulfilment.

5. Madhurya Bhava – Divine Love as a Lover

Madhurya Bhava is the sentiment of intense romantic love for the Divine. This bhava involves viewing the Divine as the beloved, the object of all love and affection. It is the most intimate of the bhavas, brimming with passion, longing, and the sweet pain of separation. Madhurya Bhava represents the culmination of spiritual love, where the distinction between the lover and the beloved vanishes, resulting in complete union with the Divine.

These five bhavas of Bhakti Yoga paint a vivid picture of the profound intimacy, love, and reverence that a devotee can foster towards the Divine. Each of these bhavas represents a different facet of the rich tapestry of emotions that one can experience on the spiritual path. By cultivating these bhavas, devotees deepen their relationship with the Divine, paving the way for their ultimate union with the eternal cosmic consciousness.

The 5 Bhavas – In summary

The journey of Bhakti Yoga is a fascinating exploration of the self and the cosmos, stitched together by the threads of love and devotion. The five bhavas serve as guiding lights on this path, enabling each practitioner to experience their unique spiritual dance with the Divine.