Bhakti or devotional practice is the foundation of Sanatan dharma. Dharma, living in harmony with the whole. Om Purnamadah Purnamidam.
Bhakti is a deeply personal practice not an intellectual philosophy. It is not a magic pill or a fast track to enlightenment. It is a slow and subtle transformation of the body, mind and consciousness to live in a state of Divine consciousness. It melts the heart.
Melting the heart is the first step on the path of spirituality.
That’s why in hinduism simple external puja is taught as a way to start melting the heart. Now days, because of the prolonged decimation and distortion of Hindu culture and history, many people, even many Hindu’s think it is uncool and superstitious to believe in simple puja or bhakti tools or even call themselves Hindu.
One can waste years practicing all types of yoga and meditation techniques. These tools only focus the energy. What gets focused is what type of energy you have to begin with. If the type of energy has not been purified to become more sattvic, then various combinations of tamasic and rajasic energies will amplify. This can cause a lot of troubles for the practitioner. We can see this in the behavior of many modern day popular teachers. One would not expect such megalomaniac behavior from any ordinary human being let alone a so called self-realized one. A teacher is an Acharya, one whose acharan or behavior shows the way.
A true guru first teaches bhakti to his disciples to cultivate a strong foundation of sattvic energies. All the subsequent stages of subheccha, vicharana, tanumanasi, sattvapatti, asamsakti, padarthabhavana and turiya, can only come afterwards. And only bhakti helps when all falls away.