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Bhakti in Daily Life

mangalavara

सो ऽहम्
Premium Member
To those of you who practice Bhakti, or might know some details, how do you practice Bhakti in your daily life outside of pūjā and japa sessions?

When it comes to my daily life, there are just a few things that I do as a new Bhakta. My svadharma as a teacher is done as service to Durgā, relinquishing all results and merits to her. Some things that are sāmānya dharma; such as śaucha, dāna, and dayā; are performed for her. Seeing her presence everywhere and especially in other beings is another practice. Seeing girls and women as reflections of her is an easy one. Sometimes, when I have my YouTube app open, I listen to Durgā's 108 names, her ārtī ('Om Jaya Ambe Gaurī'), and bhajans. I often look at her pictures in my phone's photo album. There are moments when I just keep quiet and 'rest' in her presence while sitting or standing. Recalling what I read about her in śāstras really makes me feel connected to her. When I go to bed, I have a body pillow that I cuddle up with as I imagine that I am holding onto Durgā while in her arms.

Other than these things, I have my daily nāma japa sessions, and there are days when I fast for Durgā, chant her 108 names, and read from one of her śāstras. Where I currently live, there are no temples in my city or region other than Buddhist ones. There is an ISKCON temple in the north, but maybe I'll visit them someday.

(By the way, when it comes to my devotion to Durgā, this is not in a Śākta context but in a Smārta context. Since adopting Hinduism, I've worshiped all other major deities—Śiva, Gaṇapati, Sūrya, Nārāyaṇa, and Kārttikeya—and my experience tells me that they are equally Īśvara. Being the person that I am, Durgā is my Iṣṭā.)
 
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JustGeorge

Not As Much Fun As I Look
Staff member
Premium Member
To those of you who practice Bhakti, or might know some details, how do you practice Bhakti in your daily life outside of pūjā and japa sessions?

When it comes to my daily life, there are just a few things that I do as a new Bhakta. My svadharma as a teacher is done as service to Durgā, relinquishing all results and merits to her. Some things that are sāmānya dharma; such as śaucha, dāna, and dayā; are performed for her. Seeing her presence everywhere and especially in other beings is another practice. Seeing girls and women as reflections of her is an easy one. Sometimes, when I have my YouTube app open, I listen to Durgā's 108 names, her ārtī ('Om Jaya Ambe Gaurī'), and bhajans. I often look at her pictures in my phone's photo album. There are moments when I just keep quiet and 'rest' in her presence while sitting or standing. Recalling what I read about her in śāstras really makes me feel connected to her. When I go to bed, I have a body pillow that I cuddle up with as I imagine that I am holding onto Durgā while in her arms.

Other than these things, I have my daily nāma japa sessions, and there are days when I fast for Durgā, chant her 108 names, and read from one of her śāstras. Where I currently live, there are no temples in my city or region other than Buddhist ones. There is an ISKCON temple in the north, but maybe I'll visit them someday.

(By the way, when it comes to my devotion to Durgā, this is not in a Śākta context but in a Smārta context. Since adopting Hinduism, I've worshiped all other major deities—Śiva, Gaṇapati, Sūrya, Nārāyaṇa, and Kārttikeya—and my experience tells me that they are equally Īśvara. Being the person that I am, Durgā is my Iṣṭā.)
We do many things similar, I think. :)
 

Vinidra

Jai Mata Di!
I like to listen to bhajans and do nama japa. I don't do mantra japa because a.) I haven't been initiated, and b.) I find it kind of tedious. Nama japa is way easier for me to do. I try (and usually fail) to meditate on her form(s). I would like to do some sort of seva, but I haven't made up my mind what I'm going to do yet.
 

SalixIncendium

अग्निविलोवनन्दः
Staff member
Premium Member
Sorry. I'm not a Bhakti. The only thing I have to offer is that I'm impressed by what you do.

I'll just offer this... Do what you feel is right...what you're comfortable doing. Walk your path. Don't overreach. You'll adjust (or not) as the need arises. Don't overthink it. It's for you. It's not for everyone else.
 

mangalavara

सो ऽहम्
Premium Member
Do what you feel is right...what you're comfortable doing.

This sounds sensible.

Don't overreach. You'll adjust (or not) as the need arises.

This is something that I’ve learned on my own. Attempting to keep up with a lofty sādhanā at the beginning results in burnout rather quickly. Besides, from what I’ve learned from different śāstras, there isn’t much that has to be done in order to attain the supreme goal.

Don't overthink it.

This is advice that I should really heed.

It's for you. It's not for everyone else.

That’s something I love about Hinduism.
 

mangalavara

सो ऽहम्
Premium Member
I like to listen to bhajans and do nama japa. I don't do mantra japa because a.) I haven't been initiated, and b.) I find it kind of tedious. Nama japa is way easier for me to do.

Like you, I don’t do mantra japa for those same reasons. Nāma japa, as we know, does not require initiation. Another wonderful thing about it is that the names bestow liberation according to different śāstras. This example passage is from Śiva Purāṇa 2.1.16.43-45:

O lordly sage, she came to be called by various names such as Kālī, Caṇḍikā, Cāmuṇḍā, Vijayā, Jayā, Jayantī, Bhadrakālī, Durgā, Bhagavatī, Kāmākhyā, Kāmadā, Ambā, Mṛḍānī and Sarvamaṅgalā. These various names confer worldly pleasures and salvation according to qualities and action. The name Pārvatī is very common.

Her names are so powerful that they bestow both bhukti (enjoyment) and mukti (liberation). As for the phrase ‘according to qualities and action,’ I’m not sure what that means.

Presently, I just chant the name Durgā in the vocative case.
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
.. there isn’t much that has to be done in order to attain the supreme goal.
I like that, Mangalavara. Actually, there is nothing to be done other than following one's 'dharma'. Since I am an atheist, there is no requirement of belief in deities, or japas. They are my cultural heritage. I only have to touch my forehead on the step leading to their enclosure when I visit a temple or do that virtually in my thought. They are always with me.
Salix said: "It's for you. It's not for everyone else."
 

mangalavara

सो ऽहम्
Premium Member
Actually, there is nothing to be done other than following one's 'dharma'.

If there were no moksha (in the theistic sense) and no svargaloka, I would follow dharma nevertheless. :)

Since I am an atheist, there is no requirement of belief in deities, or japas. They are my cultural heritage.

In my opinion, you have one of the greatest cultural heritages in the world. Iranian, Hellenic, and Egyptian cultural heritages are also ‘up there’ on my list.
 

Jainarayan

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
Staff member
Premium Member
To those of you who practice Bhakti, or might know some details, how do you practice Bhakti in your daily life outside of pūjā and japa sessions?
I don't do japa, and I haven't been to temple in months, maybe since the beginning of the year. I do puja almost every day. 90% of the time it's a pancopacara (5 offerings... akshata, achamaniya, gandha, pushpa, deepa, dhoopa, naivedya) puja with some embellishments (mahanirajana, mantrapushpanjali, water on the tiny lingam, greeting deities). Sometimes due to time (starting work at 6 am, for example) I have to do a bargain basement puja of just waving the light, incense, offering some akshata and a flower.

Anyway, I feel like a phony because I have so much stress in my life. I try to remember BG 12.13-15 Those devotees are very dear to Me who are free from malice toward all living beings, who are friendly, and compassionate. They are free from attachment to possessions and egotism, equipoised in happiness and distress, and ever-forgiving. They are ever-content, steadily united with Me in devotion, self-controlled, of firm resolve, and dedicated to Me in mind and intellect. Those who are not a source of annoyance to anyone and who in turn are not agitated by anyone, who are equal in pleasure and pain, and free from fear and anxiety, such devotees of Mine are very dear to Me.

I'm easily agitated ... 4-6 hours a day of old people complaining about how their cheese and ham is sliced and that my beard net is slipping. :rolleyes: If I could get to temple I might feel energized and inspired. Anyway, I feel like I have the worst bhakti on record. :cry:
 

mangalavara

सो ऽहम्
Premium Member
Sometimes due to time (starting work at 6 am, for example) I have to do a bargain basement puja of just waving the light, incense, offering some akshata and a flower.

That’s much more than I do pūjā wise. I have yet to make time for pūjā because I haven’t gotten into a regular routine yet. When I get into one, my pūjās will very likely be like your bargain basement pūjās.

Anyway, I feel like a phony because I have so much stress in my life.

You would only be a phony if you claimed to be a mukta yet affected by opposites like somebody who is not a mukta.

I'm easily agitated ... 4-6 hours a day of old people complaining about how their cheese and ham is sliced and that my beard net is slipping.

I’d be agitated by that too.

If I could get to temple I might feel energized and inspired. Anyway, I feel like I have the worst bhakti on record. :cry:

Narayana feels deeply for the mental pain of his bhaktas. :)
 

Viraja

Jaya Jagannatha!
Namaskar,

I took the time to post in this thread because it is a tough question. The question asks for other means of honoring godliness, apart from pujas or japas. And I realized I am not doing anything specific to address this question.

But so many replies in this thread makes me want to think deeply.

So what I do, other than pujas or japas?

1. I offer bhoga (naivedyam/daily food offering to the deities) and I try to consume only those offered as bhoga. This is supposed to bring forth sattwa guna.

2. Well, I am on the lookout for jobs........... my son is 27 yrs old and employed, living in a different state. My daughter who was fulltime with us, is going to move in to college soon (She made it into Harvard), making me an empty nester. Therefore I am super-bored and want a job and secondly, we have pushing necessity for me to earn. I have made it a vow to tell *minimal* lies in my resume as I lookout for jobs.

3. If and when I land a job, I will make it a point to do a good job, as Sri Krishna emphasizes that any work when done justifiably good, is propitiating him in the end!

4. My sister lives in poor conditions in India. I have made it a point to help her out routinely all these years, and have vouched to help her more in upcoming years, what with my employment too!

And that ends the list of my contribution to humanity and godliness. :)
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
Nice Viraja and congrats for your daughter's admission into Harvard. What would she be studying?
Hope you get a job to your liking. Inform us of the good news when that happens.
 

Viraja

Jaya Jagannatha!
Nice Viraja and congrats for your daughter's admission into Harvard. What would she be studying?
Hope you get a job to your liking. Inform us of the good news when that happens.
Namaste Aup ji,

My daughter wants to pursue CS along with BioChem. Kinda like a dual-major.............. if that is allowed. Wants to be in research.

I will definitely post when I land a job, I'm looking for a 6-month timeframe from now to be able to land a job, as I am into certifications (IT) right now. Thanks Aup ji.
 
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