There are three paths in Hinduism - the path of knowledge, the path of devotion and the path of action. The topic to be discussed in this paper is the path of devotion, or 'bhakti' in Sanskrit. Devotion is defined as, "love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause" (Google Definitions). In the case of any religion, specifically Hinduism, this devotion is towards a God or number of gods and realizing that they are not just there to be worshipped but will also protect you and help you when you need them, creating a more personal relationship. I chose this topic because I think it is important, regardless of what religion you are, to have an utmost devotion toward whatever God or deity you are worshipping. God is the center of most religions, and without a devotion and love towards God we cannot bear the fruits of the religion, which are the qualities which that God possesses. Bhakti is a predominate theme seen in Hinduism (mostly after the Vedic times) especially in the Epics (Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, etc.). We will discuss the path of devotion and how it is defined, practiced and brought out in Hinduism.
In Vedic times, although there were many gods, the religion was very sacrificial and ritualistic, emphasizing more on the ritualistic aspect of giving and not on a personal, loving relationship with the gods. The relationship was more a business type - I will give you what you need and in return please give me with what I need. We can say that there was a bit of devotion here, because the people relied on the gods for whatever needs they had, but it had to be accompanied with a ritualistic sacrifice or the gods wouldn't help them. The idea of a personal, saving, loving God is not seen in this era. In the Upanishads, which is the end of the Vedas, but considered as a major scriptural text in Hinduism, we can see the ideas of Brahman and Atman. Now, the Upanishads tell us that we need to understand Brahman and Atman in order to attain liberation....
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