Devotion is a path to the infinite. But it is also, in the Yogic teachings—when combined with Jnana and Karma, with knowledge and good action, right action—devotion, Bhakti, can be a very powerful aspect of one’s spiritual journey. Without the engagement of the heart, without the engagement of love, spiritual practice is dry, and the true nature of the infinite cannot be known.
With the intellect alone, the infinite cannot be known. Because that which is the subterranean base of all existence is not simply a belief or an idea. It is a reality that exists beyond the concepts within the mind. And the one way in which human beings can know that subterranean reality, the primal base of all existence, is through the opening of the heart.
It is in the sentiment of love, in care of the heart—when the heart becomes engaged, when the passion is awakened—that the feelings begin to arise. And when your feelings are directed towards the infinite, cosmic love, the subterranean love, which is the essence which holds all things of this universe together, which is the nature of all that is, then through the feeling, the heart, that experience can be known.
That experience can be touched in a way that ideas and beliefs cannot, because they are merely concepts in the mind. That which is the essential nature of all that is, is beyond the mind, beyond beliefs, beyond concepts. It can only be known through the heart, through one’s feeling being.
When you let go of all the beliefs you have had about yourself, when you let go of who you think you are, then comes the capacity to know who you really are. Then comes the capacity to know the Self of your self, the infinite Self which is united with all beings, which lives in a deep, undying, immortal love.
This love has no beginning, no end. It is not qualified by any ideas. It is not a love that says, “You love me, therefore I love you.”
No, this is a love that is unconditional; like a gently falling rain, it always is a grace that falls upon you. But it is kept away by the umbrella of ego, by the ideas and beliefs you have of who you are, by the definitions in the mind. When you begin to let go of these beliefs, these definitions, then the reality of your deeper existence rises to the surface. And you become able to connect through your heart, through your feelings, with the love that is great and profound, beyond all beliefs and thoughts.
This is the true Yoga. The word Yoga means to yoke, to unite, the little and the great. When you meet the Guru within, when you meet the great within you, and you let go and you allow that to be and you to be melted into that greatness, then knowledge of the infinite comes through direct experience, through feeling, through love. And the deep peace that is in the heart of all things becomes accessible.