The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion: A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras

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9780892816644: The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion: A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras

· The first translation of this great but little-known path of spiritual devotion written for the modern Western audience.

· An insightful commentary aimed at making the path of love immediately accessible to Westerners.

· A life-affirming and relationship-positive path of yoga.

· Written in the spirit of the kirtans (ecstatic songs and dances) of Narada, sensitively translated by Prem Prakash.

Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion, is considered one of the primary paths for spiritual realization in yogic tradition. Its representative, Narada, is the embodiment of the enlightened sage who travels the universe spreading his sacred teachings. Unlike Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Wisdom, the bhakti acolyte does not discriminate against material phenomena--for him, all phenomena are aspects of God. Within the context of Ananda, blissful love, the temporal is realized as the reflection of the eternal, and the soul is realized as the expression of God.

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Review:

Bhakti yoga is often demeaned as a gross simplification of Hindu spiritualism, and sometimes for good reason. It needn't be, though, because bhakti devotionalism can also offer a rich fullness that permeates daily life. In this commentary on the Narada Bhakti Sutras, American yogi Prem Prakash explains that unlike other yogas, bhakti yoga does not involve special activities or heavy thinking. In appearance, bhakti comes off like the 20 minute workout of religions--easy, quick, and guaranteed to give results. But as its name suggests, more than anything bhakti requires devotion. In a page or two of comments on each of the 84 verses of the Narada Bhakti Sutras, Prakash examines the straightforward doctrines of devotionalism and the calm joy that results. For example, he outlines the four methods for developing devotion, which entail relinquishing all attachment to the external world, unceasing worship ("orienting our minds away from selfish preoccupations and toward unselfish, unceasing love), engaging the world with love and joy, and accepting the grace of God through the teachings of a loving guru. If bhakti doesn't appear so simple after all, just remember that the devotional practitioner "is the most simple of men, finding his natural place in the rhythm of life and gaily dancing." --Brian Bruya

From the Back Cover:

YOGA / EASTERN PHILOSOPHY

Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion and love, is little known and little appreciated in the West. Yet it is one of India’s great spiritual legacies. Prem Prakash’s book offers a sensitive introduction to the devotional path by a Western practitioner. He makes the ancient Bhakti Sutras of Narada come alive for all of us who wish to cultivate the beauty and power of the heart. Narada’s aphorisms should be studied with the same earnestness as the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. I highly recommend the present book and hope it will widely influence the Western yoga movement.”
--Georg Feuerstein, author of Lucid Waking, The Philosophy of Classical Yoga, and The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga

Bhakti yoga, the path of devotion, is considered one of the primary paths for spiritual realization in yogic tradition. Its representative, Narada, is the embodiment of the enlightened sage who travels the universe spreading his sacred teachings and participating in kirtans--ecstatic songs and dances. Unlike acolytes of more world-negating types of yoga, the bhakti yogi does not discriminate against material phenomena, instead experiencing all phenomena as aspects of God. Within the context of ananda, blissful love, the temporal is realized as the reflection of the eternal, and the soul is realized as the expression of God.

Prem Prakash’s sensitive translation and insightful commentary, aimed at making the path of love immediately accessible to Westerners, at last allows students of yoga to understand why many consider devotional yoga to be the most promising means by which one can transcend the limits and boundaries of the contemporary world and achieve direct experience of the divine.

PREM PRAKASH has been a practicing yogi since 1979 and in 1990 received permission from Baba Hari Dass to teach traditional ashtanga yoga. He is the director of the Green Mountain School of Yoga in Vermont.

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