Dr. Avtar Singh is writing a series of articles titled “Are Science & Spirituality Two Mutually Exclusive Pursuits?” In the second part he wrote:
Their experiments showed that the blind following of religious rituals/beliefs, memorized information and knowledge of scriptures, and physical/worldly (penances, fasting, yoga postures etc.) pursuits were ineffective in realization of the wholesome universal reality (God).
To this Naj wrote:
So what is Bhakta Yoga? Are Bhakta Yogees concerned about this holistic relativity ? If they are not, will they not be able to realize the wholesome universal reality, as you call it ?
If I understood Naj correctly, then he seemed to imply that the Bhakti Yogis were “followers” – since had “Love”.. and so there should be an object of love by logical reasoning.
This is the problem with the understanding of “Love” itself as it is understood in the materialistic framework while interpreting the spiritual Love. That is why I believe “love” has NOT been used in the – at least – the Vedantic texts. The closest word to Bhakti is Devotion. Bhakti is non-judgmental and self-less.
Another important point, none of the Bhakti Yogis that you mentioned – Nanak, Buddha or Jesus – had a known “Human guru”. They achieved their enlightenment off of their OWN effort… “Purushaarth” – as Yoga Vasistha calls it. So, in absence of a “specific” object of love or devotion, their Love took a boundless form.
Now, the question on following. Ram – as an incarnation – was supposed to be the one who was functioning within the bounds of Maryaada (or principles) [which is strange since he was the first hand recipient of the knowledge from Vasistha himself!]. That is why he is always considered less than perfect. The ONLY perfect incarnation or soul in the Vedantic literature is Krishna. Krishna, because, was unbound.
And also because Krishna transended all the “schools” of Yoga. Jesus could be a Bhakti Yogi. He could not leave his path and perfect Jnana Yoga or Karma Yoga… and then relate all to his followers to let them “choose” any and feel content.
It looks so simple about what has been said in Gita, but no one before or since has had the vision to go BEYOND any ONE school and describe all to perfection to create a buffet of enlightenment paths, if you will. Lifetimes went in achieving enlightenment from just ONE school / path, and that was enough to make these masters ecstatic enough to start preaching.. without having the realization of any other way!
THAT is why there is an “I” in preaching “a” path. For it is the ONLY way that resonated with YOUR soul… which may not work for the other!
Following any one never gets one anywhere. Every “soul” is unique. Its resonating frequency is its own. The way to subside its vibrations is also unique.