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From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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The term bhāva (Skt. भाव, status of being, a subjective becoming, states of Mind, from भू bhū, to become) is often translated as Feeling, emotion, mood, devotional state of Mind. Bhava: Existence

Bhava: Becoming.

States of being that develop first in the Mind and can then be experienced as internal worlds and/or as worlds on an external level. There are three levels of becoming: on the sensual level, the level of Form, and the level of formlessness. In Buddhist Thought, bhāva denotes the continuity of Life and Death, including Reincarnation, and the maturation arising therefrom. In the Bhakti traditions, bhāva denotes the mood of ecstasy, self-surrender, and channeling of emotional energies that is induced by the maturation of devotion to one's ishtadeva (object of devotion).


In Buddhism

In Buddhism, bhāva is the continuity of Life and Death, conditioned upon "grasping" (Upādāna), the desire for further Life and sensation. This bhāva is the condition for the arising of living beings in particular forms, through the process of birth (Jāti).

Bhāva is listed as the tenth of the Twelve Nidānas, the links in the cycle of Pratītyasamutpāda or Dependent origination.

In the Jātakas, in which The Buddha didactically reminds various followers of experiences they shared with him in a past Life, the hearers are said not to remember them due to bhāva, i.e. to having been reborn.

In Bhakti traditions

Swami Sivananda stated that bhava means Mental attitude or Mental disposition. He explains bhava as an "internal Feeling". For the bhakta (भक्त, devotee), bhāva is the fruit of devotion to one's ishtadeva, which culminates in bhāvasamādhi In bhaktiyoga (work of devotion), "bhāva is neither controlled nor suppressed, but is transformed into devotion and channelled to the Lord." This channeling may be pursued by means of devotional practices found to evoke and develop bhāva. Such devotional practices are not themselves essential: how and whether to practice them is Thought to depend on the temperament of the bhakta.

Swami Sivananda identified three kinds of bhava - sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. Which predominates in a person depends on their own nature, but sattvic bhava is "Divine bhava" or pure bhava (Suddha bhava). This bhava can be developed by proper practice just like any other faculty of the Mind like will Power or memory.

Shiva Rudra Balayogi explains that there are three stages of bhava. Where there is violent movement or a state of Mind lacking peace generally it is to be considered the lowest Form of bhava - bhava udreka. Higher than that is bhava unmathatta which is like the "intoxication or ecstasy" but does not involve any violent movements. Bhava Samadhi is the highest Form when the Mind recedes and one becomes totally non-violent and quiet. In bhava Samadhi the Mind recedes and becomes purified. He explains that it is transformational causing a change in attitude as one gains greater consideration for others and become more broad-minded.

Shivabalayogi described bhāva as follows:

"Everyone is in some sort of bhāva of the Guru because of their Attachment to the Guru. The Mind's Attachment and devotion is the true bhāva."

Once the bhāva of the devotee fully matures, the Mind's emotional energies converge into bhāvasamādhi, a state of Consciousness in which the Mind becomes still in single-pointed Concentration upon the object of devotion.

One may speak of bhāvas plural, often glossed as devotional attitudes. A traditional reckoning of ideal bhāvas, as exemplified in the Hindu scriptures, is as follows:

Ramakrishna Paramahansa stated that real bhava means establishing a relationship with the Divine and maintaining it brightly in our Consciousness at all times, "whether eating, drinking, sitting or sleeping."