Bhakti Yoga, the Path of Devotion

“…this truth about the Atman (Soul) never dawns on the minds of those who are without devotion to Me.” – Sri Ramachandra, Adhyatma Ramayana

“Worship is for the purpose of cultivating Devotion. From Devotion comes Atmajnana, knowledge of the Self.”
– Swami Aseshananda

How do we put the non-dual teachings into practice? Sri Ramachandra teaches that without devotion for the Lord one will be incapable of assimilating spiritual knowledge. Worship is the practice of uniting thought, word and action in an atmosphere of divine love. When practiced from the standpoint of ultimate unity, the aspirant is led from external worship to ananya bhakti, the devotion of nonseparation. During ceremonial worship, we sacrifice our limited individuality and learn to feel the Blessed Lord and the Divine Mother abiding within us. After acknowledging and worshiping Divinity at the altar in the shrine room, we learn to perceive this Sacred Presence everywhere. This is a process that ultimately unites the individual soul with the Supreme Being. Weekly and daily worship services are offered at the SRV centers, which include traditional Puja (worship with offerings of light, incense and flowers), chanting of the Divine Names, and devotional singing. Additionally, each center celebrates special holy days in honor of specific Divine Aspects (Mother Kali, Sri Durga, Sri Krishna and Lord Shiva) and the manifestations of Avatar (such as Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi, Lord Jesus, Lord Buddha and others).

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