There are four sorts of devotees, according to the Bhagavad Gita: The name Artha (the distressed) Arthritis (the seeker of material wealth) Jijnasu's (the inquisitive) and Vijnanasu's (the knower).
The four kinds of bhakti mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita are: Tat Tvam Asi Bhedabheda (You Are That), Jarat Jarate Jayate (Thus Do You Hear!), I Am That and Chit Chait Anand (Being Consciousness-Knowledge-Bliss).
These four types of bhakti are discussed at length in the fourth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. They represent different approaches to realize God. One must choose among them depending on one's inclination and capacity.
Tat Tvam Asi means "You Are That". It describes someone who has realized the identity of Atman (self, soul) and Brahman (God). This type of person does not love anything in the world; rather, he or she is indifferent to all worldly affairs.
Tat tvam asi bheda means "You have become that". It describes a person who has realized God's oneness but has not yet found liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth.
There are nine types. The Navaratnamalika (garland with nine gems) lists nine types of bhakti: (6) namaskar or vandana (divine obeisance), (7) dasya (...servant), (8) upachaya (reproach), (9) sakhya (friendship), (10) asmita (self-identity), (11) mada (love), (12) prema (love), and (13) anugraha (gratitude).
The Anubhava Sindhu tells us that there are also (14) dasa (slave) bhakti, (15) prapatti (trust) bhakti, (16) jnana (knowledge) bhakti, and (17) kirti (martyrdom) bhakti.
These are only some of the many lists of bhakti found in the literature. What all these lists have in common is that they include various forms of devotion to a deity or deities.
"Nine Stages of Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti Rasamrit Sindhu," by Shri Roop Goswami.
In temple sculpture, the 108 karanas of traditional temple dance are shown; they feature Devadasi temple dancers who used yoga asanas in their dancing. Bharatanatyam is often regarded as a kind of Bhakti Yoga. It is said that during medieval times, when merchants from Europe visited India, they were amazed by the beautiful dances of the Devadasis and asked their priests about them. The priests then learned Bharatanatyam from the girls themselves.
Today, there are only a few living artists who can be considered true masters of the art. The number of active dancers is even smaller - perhaps just three or four. They are respected members of their community who maintain a rigorous daily practice.
Bharatanatyam is based on a series of poses that are used to express emotions through body language. The movements should be easy to do and remember, but also tell a story. So although it's a dance style that is uniquely Indian, it is not exclusive to India. The same thing can be said of most classical dance styles - ballet, tap, jazz...they are all based on common principles derived from gymnastics and acrobatics.
The beginning student may find it difficult to understand why certain moves are necessary for a good performance. The expert will know exactly what needs to be done with his or her body in any given situation.
The core of bhakti yoga, as described in the Gita, is an unhindered flow of bhakti and mindfulness towards the Lord. When one surrenders to God with complete confidence and devotion, karma and bhakti are harmoniously mixed for the development of bhakti. The mind then becomes free from attachment, anger, greed, intolerance, and delusion.
Bhakti yoga is very important in Hinduism because without it, even after following all the other guidelines of a good life, one's efforts are still not enough to reach salvation. Only through love and devotion to a particular form of God can one achieve moksha or liberation from death over ageementy.
In simple terms, bhakti yoga is about loving God completely and expressing that love through prayer and action. When you pray to God with full faith and expectation of receiving an answer, that is called "surrendering to Him." When you use your actions to benefit others, you are being faithful to God's commandment in the Bible to "love one another". This type of active love is what Christianity and Islam also call "faithful prayer" and "zeal for God", respectively.
Bhakti yoga is not just a way to reach heaven after you die. It's a process that takes place throughout your life - especially while you're alive - so that you can escape from hell later.