The Divine Accepts Devotion In Whatever Form Offered

As noted, there are various impulsions and forms of devotion possible, most of which are based in the consciousness of the ego and its own limited view of self-interest, whether to avoid or escape suffering, or to obtain the fruits of enjoyment and pleasure. The Gita makes it clear that even these very limited forms are accepted and responded to according to the measure of the devotion and the focus of its seeking.

From the human perspective we like to make distinctions of this sort, and then judge based on them; yet, from a different standpoint, it is clear that the immensity, complexity and variety of forms of the Divine Being necessitate that seekers start where they are, take their first steps, and grow into a wider understanding along the way. Even if the first steps are entirely ego-based, they nevertheless point the seeker in the right direction, provide some measure of relationship to the higher Being, and provide a platform or foundation for further steps.

Sri Aurobindo explains: “These forms are after all a certain kind of manifestation through which the imperfect human intelligence can touch him, these desires are the first means by which our souls turn towards him: nor is any devotion worthless or ineffective, whatever its limitations. It has the one grand necessity, faith. ‘Whatever form of Me any devotee with faith desires to worship, I make that faith of his firm and undeviating.’ By the force of that faith in his cult and worship he gets his desire and the spiritual realisation for which he is at the moment fitted. By seeking all his good from the Divine, he shall come in the end to seek in the Divine all his good. By depending for his joys on the Divine, he shall learn to fix in the Divine all his joy. By knowing the Divine in his forms and qualities, he shall come to know him as the All and the Transcendent who is the source of all things. (There is a place also for the three lesser seekings even after the highest attainment, but transformed, not narrowly personal,–for there can still be a passion for the removal of sorrow and evil and ignorance and for the increasing evolution and integral manifestation of the supreme good, power, joy and knowledge in this phenomenal Nature.)”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 2, The Synthesis of Devotion and Knowledge, pp. 273-274