Love Is Fulfilled and Perfected by Knowledge of the Divine

The devotee is not satisfied with the austere and dry path of Knowledge. For a considerable time, the path of Knowledge relies on the processes of the human intellect and there can be a tendency towards intellectualism and philosophy that does not bring with it the spiritual fulfilment. Only when the mental process is overpassed can the path of Knowledge bring the fullness of realization. For the devotee, this is a hard and bitter way. The devotee wants to move directly to the experience of the Divine through the seeking of the heart and the rapture of the union.

Yet, devotion also has its limitations. Sri Aurobindo observes: “On the other hand, love itself is not complete without knowledge. The Gita distinguishes between three initial kinds of Bhakti, that which seeks refuge in the Divine from the sorrows of the world…, that which, desiring, approaches the Divine as the giver of its good,…, and that which attracted by what it already loves , but does not yet know, yearns to know this divine Unknown…; but it gives the palm to the Bhakti that knows. Evidently the intensity of passion which says, ‘I do not understand, I love’ and, loving, cares not to understand, is not love’s last self-expression, but its first, nor is it its highest intensity. Rather as knowledge of the Divine grows, delight in the Divine and love of it must increase. Nor can mere rapture be secure without the foundation of knowledge; to live in what we love, gives that security, and to live in it means to be one with it in consciousness, and oneness of consciousness is the perfect condition of knowledge. Knowledge of the Divine gives to love of the Divine its firmest security, opens to it its own widest joy of experience, raises it to its highest pinnacles of outlook.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 1, Love and the Triple Path, pg. 526

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