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Bhakti & Karma Yoga - The Science of Devotion and Liberation Through Action: (AYP Enlightenment Series) Paperback – August 13, 2012
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About the Author
Yogani is the author of the Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) system, including more than a dozen Instructional Titles available in Paperback, Kindle eBook and AudioBook editions, covering all aspects of Full-Scope Yoga Practice. Since 1970, he has crossed the lines between many traditions, developing an effective integration of methods including Deep Meditation, Spinal Breathing Pranayama, Hatha, Kundalini, Tantra, Self-Inquiry, and more. It is a flexible, scientific approach rather than a rigid, arbitrary one, and open to public scrutiny, as all spiritual knowledge should be nowadays. He has no desire for guru status - only to have the joy of making a small contribution to helping the disciplines of spiritual practice become open to everyone. He wishes to remain anonymous, preserving a quiet life in practices. AYP is not about the author. It is about all who long for knowledge.
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If you are feeling overwhelmed because you have strong bhakti (spiritual desire), or if you are feeling frustrated because you seem to have no bhakti at all, he explains how to learn to transform emotions (positive or negative) to bhakti toward our chosen ideal (ishta) rather than getting frustrated. This can be done while still being completely engaged in this world. He emphasizes the need to self pace bhakti so that our journey is as smooth as possible. He talks about karma and explains how it is cause and effect and how the effects can be altered by changing the underlying causes. Hence we don't have to leave our lives in the hands of fate and can bring about positive consequences to ourselves and all around us. This, he says, is karma yoga.
We may feel guilty or shame due to our conditioning or the judgment of others on certain actions we may take that are labeled as "sin" by our society. Sin is considered an offense against religion, moral laws and/or God. This too can be let go of by surrendering this guilt to our chosen ideal. Meditation helps in loosening the grip that the label of sin has on us. In AYP, deep meditation is used to cultivate inner silence which penetrates every aspect of our lives. This silence helps us transcend karma. Karma does not go away, but our relationship with our karma changes and we become the master of our karma, rather than a servant of it. He explains how karma yoga is fulfilled when we have become "stillness in action." Then we do without doing, and this is the best place to serve from and then we can serve without attachment to the fruits of our actions. There is a difference between service and servitude. Service is done freely, while servitude is imposed on us by our own minds. When service is done as a rule of conduct and not from the heart, it can be counterproductive.
Also, balance is important. He talks about how to deal with the confusion that may arise when there is bhakti rising and at the same time money and praise for "being spiritual" may be coming. It is better to go with the inner calling for service while cultivating inner silence in deep meditation. He says "move as stillness moves, not as fear would have you move". Also, service does not have to be done in a big scale, service can be done from where we are in family and among people we know.
There is a misconception that enlightenment is impractical and after enlightenment we stop thinking, desiring, doing. Enlightenment without action is not enlightenment. One of the paradoxes of enlightenment is that the one who is enlightened is more active than ever before, because they are engaged on many levels, the visible and invisible. And yet, they will be doing nothing at all.
The science of devotion or bhakti is constant love for god, through which one reaches enlightenment. The path of liberation through one's actions is the path of karma yoga.
Yogani explains very well the differences and similarties between these two paths and how they relate to AYP system of practices.
I also highly recommend to everyone another book written by Yogani which explains all the spiritual practices of ancient times which were hidden to the modern world till now. This book is considered and rated by many as "The BIBLE of Spirituality" and I highly recommend this to every spiritual aspirant who wants to make progress on the path. Here is the link...
Advanced Yoga Practices: Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living
Bhakti and Karma yoga are roughly the 'yogas' of DEVOTION and ACTION. However, no yoga approach is fundamentally isolated, rather, they all belong to a bigger unified system whose common purpose is human spiritual development -- Yoga. Yoga is in a sense a system of tools for spiritual development. ( I mean 'tool' very broadly -- even a way of looking at things can count as a tool. ) The mind likes to usefully put these tools into boxes, and two of these boxes are called Bhakti and Karma yoga. Sometimes a tool fits in either box, and that is fine and to be expected. In fact, all the tools are related and have a common purpose -- spiritual carpentry.
You'll get one of the best explanations of Bhakti and Karma Yoga (and any of the types of Yoga) from Yogani, simply because yoga can only be properly explained by someone who really understands it intimately, as a master practitioner --- and he does. If you read the book, you'll understand the carpentry, and once the carpentry makes sense, the tools make sense, and once the tools make sense, the way all the tools fit together make sense.
Like all of Yogani's books on yoga, the book is aimed towards helping people practically on their spiritual journey. They keep to the essentials, emphasize the fundamentals, and clear away a lot of clutter, and in some cases, clear away a lot of confusion. But even though they are aimed for use in personal practice, they'd be great reading too for anyone who wants to really understand yoga from a Religious Studies perspective.
Pssst: I hear Yogani is publishing 'Eight Limbs of Yoga' soon (or some similar title) soon which will surely be another 'must have' for the shopping cart!
I've never found any other books by anyone else who lays out a more clear, effective and easy to follow path to self realization or enlightenment than Yogani. Many like to talk about what self-realization is like but few understand and effectively communicate the practical and easy to apply methods that will take you there as fast as possible. This little book is easy to understand, well-written and contains lot's of new material by Yogani.
I highly recommend Bhakti and Karma Yoga and will only add to your understanding of what is required on the path to self-realization.
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Our actions and their consequences are themselves devine teachers. This is what life is!Read more