Bhav

Definition - What does Bhav mean?

Bhav is a Sanskrit word that refers to emotions. It can be translated as sentiment, feelings, attitude, affinity or absorption, but bhav also has religious significance. In the context of Hindu and yogic philosophy, bhav is the spiritual attitude of immersing in thoughts of the Divine or higher Self.

It can be described as an intense awareness of the presence God or the guru during one's everyday activities. It's natural to think bhav is generated by sadhana (spiritual practice), but that practice must dovetail with intense yearning for God- and Self-realization.

Yogapedia explains Bhav

Swami Kriyananda (1932-2013), a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, described the multiple levels of the meaning of bhav. He said it is:

  • The way you view God
  • How you see yourself in relation to God
  • Your view of God as a particular deity or as love and wisdom

Bhav can also be broken down into different types, depending on the tradition and philosophy. Types of bhav include:

  • Sant bhav (peaceful, pure)
  • Dasya bhav (master-servant relationship)
  • Sakhya bhav (divine friendship)
  • Vatsalya bhav (awareness of God as a child in need of love and care)
  • Madhurya bhav (deep, passionate love)
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