Bhakti is a quality or attitude of the mind:
Bhakti is a quality or attitude of the mind in the same way as Lobha, greed, Asakti, attachment; Krodha, anger are attitudes of the mind.
Normally, our mental energies, attention, inner wisdom and knowledge are directed to those things which help give a boost to our personality, life style, image and nature.
When we think of a person who disturbed our harmony, we experience anger. When we think of sensual enjoyment, we experience passion.
When we think of our lover, we experience love. Depending on where our mind is attached, a corresponding feeling arises.
The process of channelling these energies toward the experience of transcendental reality via a medium, form or symbol, is known as bhakti.
How can we practise bhakti yoga?
When we add the word ‘yoga’ to the word bhakti it implies that each and every aspect of our personality: the body, including the goose pimples, the mind, the feelings and emotions, must all vibrate at one frequency.
In order to nurture, develop and perfect bhakti different methods have been described: kitan and bhajan being one of them, the repetition of mantra being another.
In the Vaishnava tradition:
Nine forms of bhakti have been defined. Three of these are thinking about God, chanting the name of God and listening to stories about God. Each of these emphasizes the merger between the physical, mental and spiritual feelings.
In order to train the physical body along with senses, it is important to sing kirtan and bhajans.
Whether you do it individually or as a group makes no difference. Individual singing is good only when you are a perfect master of it. Until then, group singing is the prescribed way.
Group kirtan develops the experience of that one vibration because kirtan implies that the body is in tune with the song, whereas bhajan implies that the mind is in tune with the song.
The actual meaning behind the word Bhajan is that the mind is perfectly in tune with the song.
Your emotions, thoughts, feelings and whole expression, which are mental in nature, are vibrating in harmony with what is being sung. Kirtan is the attunement of the body.
Raising their own energies
Some people are qualified and capable of raising their own energies and do not need to be part of a group.
Others may not be capable or qualified, due to a lack of training, to experience that awakening of energy privately or individually.
Kirtan leads to bhajan, and bhajan, when the mind is in tune, leads to Manana, continuous awareness. Ultimately, manana leads to the merger of the individual energy with cosmic energy, individual vibration with cosmic vibration.