The Bhakti-yoga Handbook

A Guide for Beginning the Essentials of Devotional Yoga

By Stephen Knapp

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        This book is a guide for anyone who wants to begin the practice of bhakti-yoga in a practical and effective way. This supplies the information, the principles, the regular activities or sadhana, and how to have the right attitude in applying ourselves to attain success on the path of bhakti-yoga, which is uniting with God through love and devotion.

        This outlines a general schedule for our daily spiritual activities and a typical morning program as found in most Krishna temples that are centered around devotional yoga. In this way, you will find the explanations on how to begin our day and set our mind, what meditations to do, which spiritual texts are best to study, and how we can make most everything we do as part of bhakti-yoga. All of these can be adjusted in a way that can be practiced and applied by anyone regardless of whether you are in a temple ashrama or in your own home or apartment.

        Such topics include:

The secret of bhakti-yoga and its potency in this day and age,

The essential morning practice, the best time for meditation,

The standard songs and mantras that we can use, as applied in most Krishna temples,

Understanding the basics of the Vedic spiritual philosophy, such as karma, reincarnation, the Vedic description of the soul, etc.,

How Vedic culture is still as relevant today as ever,

Who is Sri Krishna,

How to chant the Hare Krishna mantra,

Standards for temple etiquette,

The nine processes of bhakti-yoga, a variety of activities from which anyone can utilize,

How to make our career a part of the yoga process,

How to turn our cooking into bhakti-yoga,

How to set up a home altar or temple room, depending on what standard you wish to establish,

How to take care of deities in our home, if we have Them,

How to perform the basic ceremonies like arati,

How to take care of the Tulasi plant if you have one,

And the spiritual results you can expect to attain through this yoga.

All of the basics and effective applications to get started and continue with your practice of bhakti-yoga are supplied so you can progress in a steady way, from beginner to advanced.

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Contents

INTRODUCTION

The Purpose of this Book

 

PART ONE: GETTING STARTED ON THE PATH OF BHAKTI-YOGA

 

CHAPTER ONE: THE SECRET OF BHAKTI-YOGA

 

CHAPTER TWO: UNDERSTANDING THE ESSENTIALS

At the Temple or at Home * The Basic Process * The Regulative Principles

 

CHAPTER THREE: STARTING OUR DAY

The Sacred Brahma-muhurta Hour * Offering Obeisances * Bathing * Putting on Tilaka * Going to the Temple Program or Starting our Program at Home * Hatha-yoga and Pranayama

 

CHAPTER FOUR: STANDARD SONGS USED IN THE KRISHNA TEMPLES

Sri Sri Gurvashtaka * Additional Songs Sung During Mangala Arati * The Pancha-Tattva Maha Mantra * The Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra * Prema-Dhvani or Pranam Prayers * Shri Nrisimha Pranam * Tulasi-Arati Kirtana * The Ten Offenses in Chanting the Holy Names * Shri Vaishnava Pranam * Sri Sri Shikshashtaka * Jaya Radha-Madhava * Mantras Chanted Before Class * Mantras Chanted Before Class Commentary * Additional Pranam Mantras * From the Brahma-Samhita * Sri Guru-Vandana * Sri Nama-Kirtana * Other Nice Songs * Prasada-Sevaya * Additional Kirtanas * Shri Shri Shad-Goswamy-Ashtaka * Nama-Sankirtana * Gaura-Arati * Shri Damodarashtaka * Saparshada-Bhagavad-Viraha-Janita-Vilapa * Shri Jagannathashtaka * Gurudeva * Savarna-Sri-Gaura-Pada-Padme Prarthana

 

PART TWO: A DEEPER LOOK INTO THE BASICS

 

CHAPTER FIVE: ON CHANTING HARE KRISHNA

How to Chant Hare Krishna

 

CHAPTER SIX: THE PANCHA-TATTVA MANTRA

Who is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: GREETING THE DEITIES IN THE TEMPLE

The Significance of Deities and Deity Worship

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: IMPORTANCE OF READING DEVOTIONAL TEXTS

As You Read and Study with Your Spiritual Practice

 

CHAPTER NINE: TULASI DEVI–THE SACRED TREE

How to Offer Tulasi Devi Worship (Puja) * The Importance of the Tulasi Plant

 

CHAPTER TEN: PRASADAM–THE POWER OF SACRED FOOD

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN: RULES FOR TEMPLE ETIQUETTE

Dancing in the Temple * Learning the Instruments

 

CHAPTER TWELVE: EKADASI–THE APPEARANCE AND PURPOSE OF THIS SPECIAL DAY

Additional Information * Other Special Days and Festivals we Observe * Chaturmasya

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: THE NINE PROCESSES OF BHAKTI-YOGA

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: A FEW ADDITIONAL POINTS TO UNDERSTAND

The Purpose of Having a Guru * What is "Namaste" * Why Red Dots are Worn on the Forehead * What is Tilaka or Forehead Marks * Why ring Bells in the Temple * The Significance of the Arati Ceremony * The Reason Lamps are Used * Why a Conch Shell is Blown * Why Coconuts are Offered * The Purpose of Circumambulating Temples or Deities * Why the Lotus is Sacred * The Purpose of Fasting * Who May Practice Sanatana-dharma * What is a Sari * What is a Dhoti * Why Many Devotees Wear White * Why Many Swamis Wear Saffron Colored Cloth * The Significance of the Shikha (Tuft of Hair) * The Meaning of the Sutra or Sacred Thread * The Purpose of Touching our Head to the Floor * What are the Vedic Texts

 

PART THREE: UNDERSTANDING A FEW BASICS OF THE PHILOSOPHY

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: WHO AM I? THE VEDIC DESCRIPTION OF THE SOUL

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: WHAT IS REINCARNATION

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: WHAT IS KARMA

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: WHO IS KRISHNA

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN: WHY BE VEGETARIAN

Beyond Vegetarianism

 

CHAPTER TWENTY: VEDIC CULTURE–AS RELEVANT TODAY AS EVER

 

PART FOUR: PRACTICING BHAKTI-YOGA AT HOME

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: ESTABLISHING AN ALTAR AT HOME

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: THE BASIC ARATI CEREMONY

Consecrating Water for Purification (Samanya-Arghya) * Establishing General Arghya Water (Samanya-Arghya-Sthapana) * Doing the Achamana Procedure * Doing the Arati Ceremony * Mantras for Obtaining Forgiveness for One’s Offenses

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: MAKING OUR COOKING PART OF OUR YOGA

Shopping * Cleanliness * Cooking * Offering

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: CARING FOR TULASI DEVI IN YOUR HOME

Techniques for Caring for Tulasi Devi * Important Points * Potting * Light * Temperature * Controlling the Enemies of Tulasi Devi * Planting * Additional Points * Prayers

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: ADDITIONAL STEPS FOR HOME DEITY WORSHIP

Bringing the Deities to Our Home * Qualifications for Doing Deity Worship * Our Deity Program * Waking the Deities * Bathing and Dressing the Deities * Putting the Deities to Rest * If You Must Leave the Deities at Home

 

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR PRACTICE

 

REFERENCES / GLOSSARY / INDEX / ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ordering Information

        This book is 278 pages, 6" x 9" trim size, $14.95, ISBN-13: 978-1490302287,  ISBN-10: 149030228X.

        AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON.COM at: http://www.amazon.com/Bhakti-yoga-Handbook-Beginning-Essentials-Devotional/dp/149030228X/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371696227&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Bhakti-yoga+handbook

 

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