Sutra 98

98 Bhakti Udrekat


bhaktyudrekād viraktasya yādṛśī jāyate matiḥ |
sā śaktiḥ śāṅkarī nityam bhavayet tāṃ tataḥ śivaḥ || 121 ||


bhakti-udrekaat virak-tasya yaadrishee jayaate matih
saa shakti shaankaree nityam bhaavayet taam tatah shivah 121



Be wildly devoted to someone or something.
Cherish every perception.
At the same time, forget about control.
Allow the Beloved to be itself and to change.

Passion and compassion, holding and letting go,
This ache in your heart is holy.
Accept it as the rise of intimacy
With life’s secret ways.

Devotion is the Divine streaming through you
From that place in you before time.
Love’s energy flows through your body,
Toward a body, and into eternity again.
Surrender to this current of devotion
And become one with the Body of Love.









Bhakti udrekaat viraktasya. Can you hear the way the sutra just rolls in and lays down the beat like a rock ‘n roll song? Bhakti, Shakti and nitya are chord sequences unto themselves, multidimensional, with layer upon layer of resonance. In a chanted tradition you are to say the words, whisper them, savor them; be carried away by their power. Sensing the words with full awareness is supposed to blow your mind and leave you speechless, in awe.

bhakti – attachment, devotion, fondness for, trust, homage, distribution, separation, that which belongs to or is contained in anything else, faith or love or devotion as a religious principle or means of salvation.
udreka – abundance, excess.
virakta – changed in color or disposition, indifferent, freedom from worldly attachment, impassioned, feeling excessive passion.
yadrishe – just as, that which, the way by which.
jayate – to take birth, emerge, arise.
matih – devotion, prayer, worship, hymn, sacred utterance, thought, intention, wish, desire, to set the heart on, intuition.
sa shakti – that shakti, divine energy, strength.
shakti – power, ability, strength, might, effort, energy, capability, exerting all one’s strength, faculty, skill, the energy or active power of a deity personified as his wife and worshipped by the Shakta.
shankara – fortunate, blessing-bestower (sam, blessing, auspiciousness, good fortune, happiness + kara, making, bestower), a name of Shiva.
nityam – innate, native, one’s own, continual, perpetual, eternal, constantly dwelling or engaged in, intent upon, devoted to, used to, the sea, the ocean.
bhavayet – become that, meditate on and realize your identity with That.
tam tatah – there.
shiva – “in whom all things lie,” auspicious, propitious, gracious, favorable, kind, benevolent, friendly, tenderly, happy, fortunate, liberation, final emancipation, the “disintegrating or destroying and reproducing deity.” The Lord of Yogis. A symbol of cosmic consciousness, the experience of being at one with the universe.




Love has many splendors and each one is a lot of trouble. Our English word love is related to the Sanskrit lubh, – “perplexed, disturbed, to desire greatly, to long for.” Whether we are loving a woman, man, wave, song, guru, baby, cat or soccer team, we are in for a ride. There are going to be ups and downs. The ride is worth it because each joy and sorrow stretches our hearts open. Love is a way of connecting to the deep forces of life, a yoga. Each of the loves in our life is a different asana flow that asks for our full attention and breath.

Love is daring. When we love someone or something, we risk everything by being in the flow of passion, with mysterious and divine energy gushing through our bodies toward another body. Passionate love is a divine madness, really. We need Yoga, we need meditation, we need continual prayer, we need all the serenity we can muster, to handle the wildness. A function of Yoga is to give us a time, place and skill set to witness the energies of love flowing through our bodies as shakti, divine energy.

Love’s energies are juicy. This juicy quality is called rasa, a word with a wonderful range of meaning: “the sap or juice of plants or fruit, an elixir or potion or liquor, also the best or finest part of anything.” More subtly, rasa is “the taste or character of a work of art.” When we savor life as art, this is rasa, aesthetic rapture.

The nectar of love has many flavors. The erotic flavor of love is called shringara rasa. Sakhya rasa is friendship, an intimate relationship among equals. Vatsalya rasa is parental love. Dasya rasa is slavery in the positive sense, being a servant to the Beloved. Shanta rasa is the sense of peace we experience in the flow of love, in being attached to someone, belonging to the Beloved. Within these broad categories, each rasa is a universe of ever-changing flavors.

When you love someone, you carry them inside you and will think of them during pranayama, savasana and meditation, even if you try not to. You can’t help but be bothered by your love. Your awareness is sneaking off to practice Bhakti Yoga, and will do so no matter what style of class you are in, no matter what you call your meditation system. In the Bhakti Yoga stories, otherwise honorable and diligent women (the Gopis) are always getting up in the middle of the night and slipping away to worship Krishna down by the river. In daily life, attention steals moments of Bhakti here and there to muse about the lover, baby, cat, dog or creative project. Loving any one being is devotion to your local part of the infinite universe. This is a tangible thing you can do, an act of power and creativity.

Every form of love is love of God, every relationship, temporary as it may be, teaches us about eternity. Bhakti Yoga says that you can be in an erotic, passionate relationship with God, you can be friends and equals with God; you can even feel parental and protective of God. All rivers flow to the ocean.