Definition - What does Para Bhakti mean?
Para bhakti is a Sanskrit term referring to devotion that transcends all worldly concerns and is pure, transparent and simple. It generally refers to devotion to the Divine, or God, and is a supreme state of love and respect. Para bhakti is considered pure, selfless and humble.
Para bhakti is particularly important in Bhakti yoga, the yoga that emphasizes love and devotion to God. Through their practices of love and devotion, bhakti yogis seek unity with the Divine within themselves, which is the goal of all yoga.
Yogapedia explains Para Bhakti
The Bhagavad Gita explains that bhakti can be classified into two types:
- Apara bhakti - The lower bhakti, where the yogi may focus on an object or image as a focal point for their worship. They may also observe rituals and ceremonies with a focus on God as supreme.
- Para bhakti - The higher bhakti, where the yogi sees and worships God everywhere and experiences the Divine as manifested in the whole universe. They are able to express their love and devotion through every action and encounter in their lives.
Para bhakti is considered the more advanced practice as it is more subtle and abstract to comprehend. As such, many yogis may begin with apara bhakti and then gradually progress to para bhakti. There may be a transitional period of several years where apara and para bhakti are both practiced, before the yogi moves fully into para bhakti.