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Article LXXXV: The Path of Bhakti (Devotion)

"Arjuna said: [Bhaktas] those ever-steadfast devotees who thus worship You [Iswara], and [jnanis] those who worship the eternal unmanifest Brahman, which of these has the best knowledge of yoga?"
"The Supreme Lord said: [Bhaktas] those ever-steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on Me, as personal God, I consider them to be the best yogis."
Bhagavad Gita (XII:1-2)

Bhakti, or devotion, is an essential concept in Vedanta and Hinduism. In the verses above, Krishna describes bhakti as the best way to enlightenment. Bhakti is generally the most widely practiced form of Hinduism because of its power and simplicity. In all major religions of the world, worship and devotion are the aspects of religion which are most common. Bhakti fosters nonattachment to the transience of the world. Dissolution of the ego and nonattachment can occur by offering the fruits of one's actions to Iswara. Iswara refers to a personal God, or deity, which may take the form of Krishna, Shiva, Ganesha, Saraswati, Agni, Indra, or Kali, among numerous others.

Even material and egoistic prayer causes one to have thoughts of Iswara, which are ultimately beneficial. Initially, the intent of prayer may lead to greater attachment to material objects and inflation of the ego. However, as one prays to Iswara for material gain, one is forced to think more of Iswara, and slowly, one begins to attain the divine qualities of Iswara. As bhakti develops and becomes more pure, attachment fades and the ego dissolves as one ascends toward enlightenment. Various stages of prayer and worship will allow for different levels of peace.

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