Bhakti is putting our “emotional energy squarely behind our quest for freedom.” Ramji -James Swartz.
Another Perspective: A Five Stage Model of Bhakti by Ramji (James Swartz).
In Stage One, there is a devotion for objects. This is the realm of materialism, atheism, attachment, and chasing objects and experience. Another name for this stage is samsara, the wheel of suffering. Most of the western world is in stage one and two.
Stage Two: Devotion becomes more developed though it is still informal. There is a love of religion (my God), dharma (right action), listening and learning but likes and dislikes and attachment still have their hold. The guns rajas (projection) and tamas (concealing) are predominant.
In Stage Three, formal devotion begins with the practice of Karma Yoga. Knowledge of Isvara the creator and the creation grows. An attitude of gratitude arises. Actions are dharmic, out come is surrendered, vasanas (karma) are neutralized and sattva guna becomes predominate. The jiva is paving the way for the self knowledge of stage four.
With Stage Four, there is a love of the truth (knowledge). The jiva is ready to practice jnana (knowledge) yoga and meditation. Acting with dharma is natural as there is nothing to gain by breaking dharma. Self inquiry becomes the primary practice, honing the swords of discrimination and dispassion. The jiva is transitioning from indirect to direct knowledge of the self.
Stage Five is Moksha, freedom. Devotion is life and life is devotion. The self is loved as self. There is complete fullness and total satisfaction. This is the stage of non-dual love.
This five stage perspective is explored with great detail by Ramji (James Swartz) in his book, “the Yoga of Love,” a commentary on Narada’s Bhakti Sutras.
To purchase the full Book of 10 Charts, exploring the timeless teachings of traditional Vedanta, created by Ramji, visit www.shiningworld.com.