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Read more about Devotion/Bhakti from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is Bhakti?

Bhakti is an adoration and aspiration towards that which is greater than imperishable self or changing Nature. [1]

Selflessness, self-giving, entire faith and confidence, absence of demand and desire, surrender to the Divine Will, love concentrated on the Divine—are some of the main signs of true love and bhakti. [2]

Bhakti in Different Parts of Being

Psychic Bhakti, unlike the mental and vital Bhakti which are full of demands, [3] because it is in communication with the Divinity behind, it is capable of true Bhakti. It does not make any demand, it makes no reservations. It is satisfied with its own existence. The psychic being knows how to obey the Truth in the right way. It gives itself up truly to God or the Guru, and because it can give itself up truly, therefore it can also receive truly. [4]

Bhakti and the Psychic Opening

The realisation of the psychic being, its awakening and the bringing of it in front depend mainly on the extent to which one can develop a personal relation with the Divine, a relation of bhakti, love, reliance, self-giving, rejection of the insistences of the separating and self asserting mental, vital and physical ego. [5]

Why is Bhakti Important?

The Power of Bhakti

Bhakti is the master-claim of one’s nature: for that matter, it is the strongest motive force that sadhana can have and the best means for all else that has to come. [6] The deeper the emotion, the more intense the Bhakti, the greater is the force for realisation and transformation. It is oftenest through intensity of emotion that the psychic being awakes and there is an opening of the inner doors to the Divine. [7]

Love is the Crown of all Being

Love is the crown of all being and its way of fulfilment, that by which it rises to all intensity and all fullness and the ecstasy of utter self-finding. Love leads us from the suffering of division into the bliss of perfect union, but without losing that joy of the act of union which is the soul’s greatest discovery and for which the life of the cosmos is a long preparation. Therefore to approach God by love is to prepare oneself for the greatest possible spiritual fulfilment [8]

How to Walk on the Path of Bhakti Yoga?

Turning Emotions Godward

In the Yoga of Bhakti it is the emotional nature that is made the instrument. Its main principle is to adopt some human relation between man and the Divine Being by which through the ever intenser flowing of the heart’s emotions towards him the human soul may at last be wedded to and grow one with him in a passion of divine Love. It is not ultimately the pure peace of oneness or the power and desireless will of oneness, but the ecstatic joy of union which the devotee seeks by his Yoga. Every feeling that can make the heart ready for this ecstasy the Yoga admits; everything that detracts from it must increasingly drop away as the strong union of love becomes closer and more perfect. [9]

Elements of an Integral Bhakti Yoga

Complete Consecration and Inner Communion

The way of the integral Yoga of bhakti will be to universalize one’s conception of the Deity, to personalise him intimately by a multiple and an all-embracing relation, to make him constantly present to all the being and to devote, give up, surrender the whole being to him, so that he shall dwell near to us and in us and we with him and in him. [10] We begin to make ourselves a temple of the Divine, our thoughts and feelings a constant prayer of aspiration and seeking, our whole life an external service and worship. [11]

An All Embracing Devotion

An integral bhakti is all embracing. It goes behind all distinctions and appearances and makes no calculations of more or less in his being, but embraces him wherever he is and therefore everywhere, embraces him utterly in the seeming less as in the seeming more, in the apparent limitation as in the revelation of the illimitable; it has the intuition and the experience of his oneness and completeness everywhere. [12]

The Divine Personality

For there to be any possibility of a Yoga of devotion, we must assume first that the supreme Existence is not an abstraction or a state of existence, but a conscious Being; secondly, that he meets us in the universe and is in some way immanent in it as well as its source,—otherwise, we should have to go out of cosmic life to meet him; thirdly, that he is capable of personal relations with us and must therefore be not incapable of personality; finally, that when we approach him by our human emotions, we receive a response in kind. [13]

Integral Way of Bhakti Yoga

An integral love leads to perfect knowledge and brings the infinite and absolute union. Such love is not inconsistent with, but rather throws itself with joy into divine works; for it loves God and is one with him in all his being, and therefore in all beings, and to work for the world is then to feel and fulfil multitudinously one’s love for God. [14] It is in this triple path that we come most readily to the absolute knowledge, love and service of the One in all beings and in the entire cosmic manifestation.[15]

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Read more about Devotion/Bhakti from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.