The Integration of the Yoga of Knowledge and the Yoga of Love

The yoga of love and devotion, as a major path of spiritual development, has many potential avenues of approach and methods of implementation. We see this in different traditions that emphasize different ways to show one’s dedication and love for the Divine. Some of these arise from a feeling of disappointment in the affairs of the world, some focus on the sense of surrender to a higher Being, some as a means of fulfillment of the goals and wishes that arise in life. Each of these has its value in beginning to turn the consciousness towards a recognition of the divine Being and an expression of gratitude, adoration, good will and love towards that being.

Sri Aurobindo describes this: “There is a devotion which seeks God in suffering for consolation and succour and deliverance: there is a devotion which seeks him for his gifts, for divine aid and protection and as a fountain of the satisfaction of desire: there is a devotion that, still ignorant, turns to him for light and knowledge.”

Each of these forms remains subject to the operation of the Gunas of Nature and still therefore remain bound in some way to the ego-personality and the limitations of the human mentality.

The Gita acknowledges the yoga of love as a legitimate path of spiritual practice, but does not accept these limitations; rather, it seeks an integration such that the devotion and love are carried out by the God-knower, thus bringing together the fruits of the yoga of knowledge and the yoga of love.

The result of this is: “Develop in yourself this God-engrossed love; the heart spiritualised and lifted beyond the limitations of its lower nature will reveal to you most intimately the secrets of God’s immeasurable being, bring into you the whole touch and influx and glory of his divine Power and open to you the mysteries of an eternal rapture. It is perfect love that is the key to a perfect knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pp. 569-570

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