The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 6/Notes Of Class Talks And Lectures/On Bhakti-Yoga
Bhakti-Yoga is the path of systematised devotion for the attainment of union with the Absolute. It is the easiest and surest path to religion or realisation.
Love to God is the one essential to be perfect in this path.
There are five stages of love.
First, man wants help and has a little fear.
Second, when God is seen as Father.
Third, when God is seen as Mother. Then all women are looked upon as reflections of the Mother-god. With the idea of Mother-god real love begins.
Fourth, love for love's sake. Love for love's sake transcends all qualities.
Fifth, love in Divine-union. It leads to oneness or superconsciousness.
God is both Personal and Impersonal as we are personal and impersonal.
Prayer and praise are the first means of growth. Repeating the names of God has wonderful power.
Mantra is a special word, or sacred text, or name of God choosen by the Guru for repetition and reflection by the disciple. The disciple must concentrate on a personality for prayer and praise, and that is his Ishta.
These words (Mantras) are not sounds of words but God Himself, and we have them within us. Think of Him, speak of Him. No desire for the world! Buddhas's Sermon on the Mount was, "As thou thinkest, so art thou."
After attaining superconsiousness the Bhakta descends again to love and worship.
Pure love has no motive. It has nothing to gain.
After prayer and praise comes meditation. Then comes reflection on the name and on the Ishta of the individual.
Pray that that manifestation which is our Father, our Mother, may cut our bonds.
Pray, "Take us by the hand as a father takes his son, and leave us not."
Pray, "I do not want wealth or beauty, this world or another, but Thee, O God! Lord! I have become weary. Oh, take me by the hand, Lord, I take shelter with Thee. Make me Thy servant. Be Thou my refuge."
Pray, "Thou our Father, our Mother, our dearest Friend! Thou who bearest this universe, help us to bear the little burden of this our life. Leave us not. Let us never be separated from Thee. Let us always dwell in Thee."
When love to God is revealed and is all, this world appears like a drop.
Pass from non-existence to existence, from darkness to light.