The Union of Divine Love With Knowledge and Will

There is something of a misconception that the path of devotion does not require nor develop the powers of Knowledge or Will. The devotional merging of the personality brings the ecstasy of union and it is easy to overlook the deeper spiritual significance that brings everything else with it when the devotion becomes complete.

In the Taittiriya Upanishad, as the seeker evolves in his understanding about the cause and foundation of the universe, eventually he understands that it is Ananda, bliss, that is the secret behind and through all existence. The Yoga of devotion focuses directly on the Ananda of union, and thus, can lead the seeker to a status of union at the highest levels. Sri Aurobindo notes: “…yet is delight the nature of consciousness and of the acme of delight love is the key and the secret.”

As with Knowledge, so also the Will expressed in works. “And if will is the power of conscious being by which it fulfils itself and by union in will we become one with the Being in its characteristic infinite power, yet all the works of that power start from delight, live in the delight, have delight for their aim and end; love of the Being in itself and in all of itself that its power of consciousness manifests, is the way to the perfect wideness of the Ananda. Love is the power and passion of the divine self-delight and without love we may get the rapt peace of its infinity, the absorbed silence of the Ananda, but not its absolute depth of richness and fullness. Love leads us from the suffering of division into the bliss of perfect union, but without losing that joy of the act of union which is the soul’s greatest discovery and for which the life of the cosmos is a long preparation. Therefore to approach God by love is to prepare oneself for the greatest possible spiritual fulfilment.”

“Love fulfilled does not exclude knowledge, but itself brings knowledge; and the completer the knowledge, the richer the possibility of love.” There is a danger in raising up the passion inherent in love, without bringing the knowledge to play as well. This can lead to fanaticism or narrow formulations of expression. It can be coloured by vital desires and emotions if knowledge is not brought to play in the devotional life. “…but love leading to perfect knowledge brings the infinite and absolute union. Such love is not inconsistent with, but rather throws itself with joy into divine works; for it loves God and is one with him in all his being, and therefore in all beings, and to work for the world is then to feel and fulfil multitudinously one’s love for God. This is the trinity of our powers, the union of all three in God to which we arrive when we start on our journey by the path of devotion, with Love for the Angel of the Way to find in the ecstasy of the divine delight of the All-Lover’s being the fulfilment of ours, its secure home and blissful abiding-place and the centre of its universal radiation.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 1, Love and the Triple Path, pp. 522-523