The Gita’s view of devotion is neither identical with the normal sense we find in religious devotion to a chosen deity, nor is it limited by the philosophical abstract sense that treats devotion as a secondary and lesser movement of spiritual development. Devotion occupies a central place in the Gita’s Yoga, because the Gita itself works to unify the abstract with the manifest in a way that accepts both as real, necessary and important aspects of the larger truth which it has described as the Divine Person that manifests all that exists while not being bound or limited by those manifested forms. This Divine Person holds within its being both the unmanifest and the manifest, the silent Immutable and the sounds of the universal life. The Gita’s devotion goes to this highest Being with an absolute and complete force of adoration and surrender to His Will.
Sri Aurobindo takes up the subject: “The phrases used and the spiritual emotion with which they vibrate seem to give the most intense prominence possible and an utmost importance to the personal truth and presence of the Godhead. It is no abstract Absolute of the philosopher, no indifferent impersonal Presence or ineffable Silence intolerant of all relations to whom this complete surrender of all our works can be made and this closeness and intimacy of oneness with him in all the parts of our conscious existence imposed as the condition and law of our perfection or of whom this divine intervention and protection and deliverance are the promise. It is a Master of our works, a Friend and Lover of our soul, an intimate Spirit of our life, an indwelling and overdwelling Lord of all our personal and impersonal self and nature who alone can utter to us this near and moving message.”
“It is something deeper than the mind that offers and something greater than the Ishta-deva that receies the surrender.”
Devotion in the sense presented by the Gita is not a matter of ritual offerings, or a formulaic method of specific prayers or songs. The experience must seize the entire being and become the central reality and truth of the soul’s existence. The experience comes with a sense that all that we see and experience is this Divine Lord, and that He is transcendent, universal and ultimately also individual, and the experience of our devotion leads us to a feeling of unity, love and identity with all that is.
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pp. 522-523