The Underlying Basis for the Yoga Of Devotion

For most people the idea of worship is associated with a religious tradition which treats the individual as separate and the object of worship (some form of Divinity) as superior, distant and nevertheless “relateable”. The idea is that worship establishes a communication link between the human being and the Divine, and, on the one side, the human being undertakes to worship, and on the other, God rains down his blessings and takes personal interest in the welfare of the worshipping individuals.

For the practitioner of the Yoga of devotion, worship may start out as something akin to the religious concept, but as the practice deepens, the individual finds that the merging of consciousness into Oneness with the original object of devotion begins to occur, and at some point, the separation and difference actually disappears.

Sri Aurobindo clarifies this: “Yoga in its culmination abolishes the gulf; for Yoga is union. We arrive at union with it through knowledge; for as our first obscure conceptions of it clarify, enlarge, deepen, we come to recognise it as our own highest self, the origin and sustainer of our being and that towards which it tends. We arrive at union with it through works; for from simply obeying we come to identify our will with its Will, since only in proportion as it is identified with this Power that is its source and ideal, can our will become perfect and divine. We arrive at union with it also by worship; for the thought and act of a distant worship develops into the necessity of close adoration and this into the intimacy of love, and the consummation of love is union with the Beloved. it is from this development of worship that the Yoga of devotion starts and it is by this union with the Beloved that it finds its highest point and consummation.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 2, The Motives of Devotion, pg. 528

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