What is Bhakti (Devotion)?

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Guru / Relationships / Wisdom For Seekers


Bhakti, often understood as unconditional love, can be a double-edged sword. Why direct this deep emotion towards God and not the person beside you? Dive into the nuances of Bhakti Yoga, the tangled webs of human connection, and discover the intriguing role a guru plays, oscillating between a mortal and the divine. Navigate love's complexities; where intensity defines love more than its object. Curious? Let's delve deeper into this mystic realm.


Duration: 4 min


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3 min read

What is Bhakti (Devotion)?

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

See, bhakti, what bhakti means is simply an unconditional love is bhakti. Why we are fixing God as object is so that you don’t get entangled in the process of loving. It is not that loving the person next to you is any less than loving God. But your problem is if you start loving the person next to you, you start getting into all kinds of entanglements with that person.

Simply an unconditional love is bhakti

So, Bhakti Yoga shifted the focus of your bhakti to something far away, so that you don’t get entangled. So whether the bhakti is for people around you, world around you, or for a single person around you or for your Guru or for your God, that is not the point. The object of bhakti is not important. The intensity of your feeling is what’s important. It’s how much intensity can you feel.

Bhakti means devotion which means to dissolve. So, the path of devotion is the path of dissolution. Whatever you feel you can dissolve in, it is towards that you must have bhakti. Now suppose you have deep love for the person next to you, very few people are capable of giving themselves up for somebody else. They find somebody else because they want to have a life of their own. Yes. So, this kind of love affair will not lead to too much well-being, it will only lead to entanglement.

Bhakti means devotion which means to dissolve

So, you choose a Guru or a God because even if you want to get entangled, he is not willing to get entangled with you. It is a safe love affair because even if you make attempts to get entangled, he will not get entangled with you. So, shifting our focus to Guru or God is just this, that it is a very safe love affair. You can feel with all your intensity, but still he will not allow it to be entangled. Okay.

Otherwise, whether you love your dog or your God, it is not different. It is the intensity of your feeling which is important. What you love is not the point at all. Now, for you to bring great intensity in your feeling, you need an object that you look up to, something that you look up to as higher than yourself, only then you can bring that kind of intensity in you. At the same time if it becomes too high, then there will be no love, only reverence.

What you love is not the point at all; It is the intensity of your feeling which is important

So generally a guru plays a role where at one time he’s high up there, another time he’s just like you. So you’re always confused with him. You don’t know whether to make a man out of him or a God out of him, you know. So this is a good combination, because now you can love him as a man, at the same time you can look up to him. So there is really no struggle in this. It’s good if that’s how you feel.


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