The path of devotion relies on the heart, not the mind. The seeker who is rooted in his mental process undergoes substantial efforts to achieve spiritual realisation, but may find that the ego-consciousness asserts itself as an arrogant pride of accomplishment, knowledge or understanding. As long as the ego-consciousness remains central to the being and its outlook, the spiritual consciousness of universal Oneness eludes the seeker. The practitioners of the yoga of devotion, bhakti yoga, have a different approach to the spiritual development. They focus their attention on the object of their seeking, the Personal aspect of the Divine and offer themselves and all they are with an overflowing heart to that Presence. Love and devotion are the sole considerations. They may express themselves in song or dance or poetry, pursuits which the intellectual seeker may find distracting or of lesser value, yet truly pursued, this can be, and is, a path of liberation through dissolution of the central sense of the ego in the immersion in the Divine.

To do this truly, eventually all of the deformations of love need to be addressed and resolved, including the forms that it takes in egoistic attachment, as well as the aspects experienced in human love interactions, which include jealousy, possessiveness, and all of the concomitant emotions that are both limiting and distorting to the true nature of love. Similarly forms of devotion that enhance the ego through attempts to force others to accept a particular deity or religious dogma, represent limitations and weaknesses that must eventually be cast aside in the path of devotion.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The nature of Bhakti is adoration, worship, self-offering to what is greater than oneself; the nature of love is a feeling or a seeking for closeness and union. Self-giving is the character of both; both are necessary in the yoga and each gets its full force when supported by the other.”

“Bhakti is not an experience, it is a state of the heart and soul. It is a state which comes when the psychic being is awake and prominent.”

“The ordinary Bhakta is not a lion heart. The lion hearts get experiences comparatively soon but the ordinary Bhakta has often to feed on his own love or yearning for years and years — and he does it.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Love and Devotion, Divine Love, Bhakti, pp. 158-162

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and a daily podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.