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55

 

But worship from the heart presupposes great efforts. It cannot be evoked with a mere wish. If one decides upon practicing true Bhakti yoga, one has to make heroic efforts in order to achieve fixity of mind, for contrary thoughts are very likely to disturb one's mind. It is because an average person's frame of mind is averse to remaining unchanged for any considerable period of time that the repeated efforts to evoke deep devotion are essential.

 

In the beginning of the second stage, one has to make vigorous efforts in thinking about the Almighty as much and as often as possible. The ef­forts must be continued until one becomes above efforts, and one becomes above efforts only when worship from the heart becomes second nature. He who can, rally worship from the heart without finding it necessary to make artificial efforts, may justly be said to have attained the higher Bhakti .This second stage concerns itself with the constant remembrance of God, and through the constant mental or physical repetitions of any one Name of God, achieves fixity of thought, without the medium of any ceremony. This kind of constant remembrance of God must not be confused with meditation, wherein one makes an attempt to achieve fixity of thought; but here in the second stage of Bhakti yoga, one already possesses sole and single thought for God, and therefore has no more need for organized thinking.

 

It is not necessary for a person to stop carrying on one's worldly duties and obligations, to achieve or to practice this higher Bhakti. One may conduct one's business or follow one's profession, one may lead the family life and look after all the necessary external requirements; but amidst all the worldly engagements one should ever be alert to the Lord. The more a person can remember the object of the heart-worship along with the routine work of everyday life, the better for him.

 

The third stage concerns itself with Divine Love and longing of a high order. The higher Bhakti of the second stage ultimately leads the aspirant to this third or highest stage of worship and to true love.

 

Meditation or organized thinking also serve the excellent purpose of counteracting the might of Maya—the phenomenon that presents Illusion as real. One who meditates with sincerity may sooner or later become free from the clutches of Maya and be drawn to the Truth or God. If along with sincerity, meditation is practiced with regularity and for a sufficiently long time, it is capable of making one's mind pure and permanently inclined to the Divine Path.

 

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