Article by Kundali Dasa
Is Bhakti a Science?
Are the Laws of the Science of Bhakti Certain?
With respect to the second question, “Are the laws of the science of bhakti certain?”, it is not within the scope of this presentation to explain the laws of bhakti at length, (the curious reader will have to examine the matter further). However, the principles and procedures embodied in these laws come under the term sadhana bhakti. The fundamental principle is that there are a number of exercises, chief of which is mantra meditation, chanting the Holy Names of God, which all work together to purify the senses, and bit by bit, roll away the layers of the construct reality, giving us direct experience of ultimate reality. This method culminates in a purified state of existence such that, once sadhana is perfected, in a manner of speaking, one has achieved one’s degree in the subject.
Sadhana: “The method one adopts in order to obtain a specific goal is called sadhana. Without sadhana, one cannot obtain the goal of one’s practice. The sadhana of bhakti refers to spiritual practices, such as hearing, chanting, and so on. Sadhana-bhakti – the practicing stage of devotion; a stage of bhakti in which the various spiritual disciplines performed for the satisfaction of Sri Krishna are undertaken through the medium of the senses for the purpose of bringing about the manifestation of bhava, (emotions), or spiritual prema (Love of God).”
Briefly, the overall process of bhakti can be broken into three sections—sambandha, abhideya, and prayojana.
Sambandha— literally, knowledge of one’s original relationship with the Lord, can be described as the theoretical basis for the science of bhakti.
Abhideya —the regulated activities of the soul for reviving his relationship with the Lord; devotional service, the methodology of bhakti; also called sadhana, it is the practical or applied aspect of bhakti.
Prayojana—the ultimate goal of life, to develop love of God; is the goal one achieves if one has performed the sadhana procedure properly.
As with science, where precision is very important, because a slight deviation can alter the expected result, so too in bhakti sadhana, precision is extremely important; outcomes are not arbitrary. Slight, even imperceptible deviation from the prescribed method and motivation will produce errant results. Being thus provable by experimentation, (sadhana), and observation, (pratyaksha), we conclude that bhakti is a valid science.