The Paths of Knowledge and of Devotion Are Equally Capable of Leading to Realisation

It is a somewhat natural tendency in the human mind to treat one’s own chosen practice, belief, faith, or mode of development as being superior and other ways as being inferior in nature. The devotee will, in such cases, believe that those who follow the path of Knowledge have simply not understood the direct and fast path to God-realization. Similarly, those who practice the Yoga of Knowledge will frequently look down upon the devotee as representing a simpler, and even imperfect, mode of development. Each path, however, starts from some leading principle within the human instrument, and thus, each one has the power to bring about realization and, in that realization, there is a reconciliation between their differences. No matter what the starting point, and what the mode of development, true spiritual effort will lead to realization.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Since then in the union of these three powers lies our base of perfection, the seeker of an integral self-fulfilment in the Divine must avoid or throw away, if he has them at all, the misunderstanding and mutual depreciation which we often find existent between the followers of the three paths.”

“When the devotee has grasped the power that shall raise him, has really laid hold on love, that in the end purifies and enlarges him as effectively as knowledge can; they are equal powers, though their methods of arriving at the same goal are different.”

“The intellect is not in every way superior to the heart; if it opens more readily doors at which the heart is apt to fumble in vain, it is, itself, apt to miss truths which to the heart are very near and easy to hold. And if when the way of thought deepens into spiritual experience, it arrives readily at the ethereal heights, pinnacles, skyey widenesses, it cannot without the aid of the heart fathom the intense and rich abysses and oceanic depths of the divine being and the divine Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 1, Love and the Triple Path, pp. 523-524

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