:: Bhakti and Bhakti Marg ::

Kinds of Bhakti

Bhakti is divided into two parts :
1. Para Bhakti - Mukhya Bhakti - Prema Lakshana Bhakti or Pusti Bhakti
2. Gauni Bhakti - Maryada Bhakti

We have observed that the character of a person is influenced by the combination of three qualities called "Gunas" 1. Satvic Guna. 2. Rajas Guna and 3. Tamas Guna. When these Gunas intermingle they become nine gunas. 1. Satvic - Satvic, 2. Satvic - Rajas, 3. Satvic Tamas, 4. Rajas - Rajas, 5. Rajas - Satvic, 6. Rajas - Tamas, 7. Tamas - Tamas, 8. Tamas - Satvic and 9. Tamas - Rajas. Over and above there is one more element called "Nirguna" i.e., without any attributes. It is the 10th Guna. in the system of Maryada Bhakti a Bhakta is guided by these nine kinds of causes and as such follows "nine kinds of Maryada Bhakti" called "Navadha Bhakti". These methods are narrated in sastras.

But Pusti Bhakti is special. It adopts "Nirguna Bhakti". In this way we also observe that there are two more kinds of Bhakti called Saguna Bhakti and Nirguna Bhakti.

The learned scholars catagorise Maryada Bhakti as a system laid down by sastras. Since it strictly observes the norms of sastras it remains under certain vedic order and is called Maryada Bhakti (Maryada itself suggests certain limitations laid down under sastras)

A maryada Bhakti does upasna ( a mode of worship ) and other procedures as have been mentioned in sastras. Under Maryada Bhakti, a Bhakta (devotee) can worship any celestial (Dev or Devi). Keeping one of them as their Ista (chosen) deity. The final result of this kind of Bhakti is - if it comes to the utmost obtaining Moksha or emancipation.

Again Maryada Bhakti is divided into Sakama Bhakti (i.e., doing Niskama Bhakti (i.e., Bhakti without any anticipation of results). If some one conducts Bhakti with an intention of obtaining materialistic results or achieving other world results, then it is called "Sakama Bhakti". This kind of worshipping an "Ista Deva" has selfish motives behind their action. Such a sakama Bhakta must be doing Maryada Bhakti with an intention to an end to the affliction of the world, or to gaining worldly pleasures, or to obtain Moksha after death or to obtain heavenly benefits. There may be some Maryada Bhaktas who do not wish to gain any of this and other worldly achievements and may do the upasana and puja of his "Ista Deva". Then it is called Niskama Bhakti". The result of this kind of Bhakti is Moksha.

We have read some famous Maryada kind of Bhaktas like Narasimha Mehta and Mirabai whose Ista Deva is Sri Krishna. They have been great devotees of Sri Krishna. But even then they had entertained the thought that their worldly affliction be mitigated by HIM. Hence whenever Narshimha Mehta passed through any material afflictions he used to call for the assistance of divine being. Any slight inconvenience in life would make him shout for divine help, thus causing exertion toSri Krishna when her brother-in-law Rana had sent poison to drink, Mirabai, instead of simply swallowing it, offered to her Ista Deva Sri Krishna, thus putting HIM into inconvenience that is why Maryada Bhakti is not pure and complete Prema Lakshana Bhakti.