The practice of Bhakti, an essential element in Hindu spirituality, is steeped in a rich tradition of devotion and reverence towards a divine power. The term ‘Bhakti’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘bhaj’, meaning ‘to be attached to God.’ This multifaceted concept is encapsulated in the 9 forms of Bhakti, known as ‘Navadha Bhakti’, and it offers a nuanced approach to spiritual engagement.
Each form provides unique ways of incorporating spirituality into one’s daily life, helping individuals connect to a higher power and nurture their internal well-being. In this blog post, we’ll delve into each of these nine forms and explore how they can be incorporated into everyday routines.
What are the 9 forms of Bhakti?
1. Shravana (Listening)
Shravana refers to the practice of listening to divine glories, stories, and virtues of the deity. In our daily lives, this could translate to spending time each day listening to spiritual discourses, hymns, or holy scriptures. Podcasts, audio books, or music platforms can be an excellent source of spiritual knowledge for this purpose.
2. Kirtana (Singing)
Kirtana involves praising the divine through songs or hymns. One doesn’t necessarily need to have a musical background to practice Kirtana. Singing devotional songs or chanting mantras, no matter how simple, can be a powerful way of expressing love and devotion. You could dedicate a few minutes every morning or evening for this practice.
3. Smarana (Remembrance)
Smarana denotes the remembrance of God’s name and presence. This could be practiced by setting reminders throughout the day to pause, reflect, and remember the divine. Even in the middle of a busy schedule, taking a few moments to remember a divine power can provide a sense of peace and clarity.
4. Pada-Sevana (Service at the Feet)
Traditionally, Pada-Sevana represents serving at the deity’s feet. In a practical sense, this could be interpreted as serving humanity, given the belief that God resides in all beings. Performing acts of kindness, volunteering, or helping those in need can be a way of practicing Pada-Sevana in daily life.
5. Archana (Worship)
Archana is the act of worshipping the divine through rituals. Setting up a small altar at home and spending a few minutes each day in prayer, meditation, or performing a simple ritual can be a part of your daily routine.
6. Vandana (Salutation)
Vandana involves offering salutations to the divine. It can be incorporated into daily life by cultivating the habit of gratitude. Each day, take a moment to appreciate the good in your life and offer a mental salutation to the divine force behind it.
7. Dasya (Servitude)
Dasya involves accepting oneself as a servant of the divine. This can be practiced by dedicating your actions to a higher power. Whatever work you do, do it with the thought that you’re serving the divine. This attitude can help to instil humility and purpose in your daily activities.
8. Sakhya (Friendship)
Sakhya is about fostering a sense of friendship with the divine. You can cultivate this feeling by talking to the divine as you would to a close friend — sharing your joys, sorrows, hopes, and fears. This intimate form of communication can provide a sense of comfort and companionship.