The Yoga of Devotion Needs for Four Basic Principles to Be True

For those who hold that the universe is some mechanism without a creator, or a machinery that does not have any direct relationship with the creator who “abandoned” it after creation, there can be no justification for a Yoga based on devotion. For those who believe the only reality is the Absolute, unmoving, silent and uninvolved in the play of the outer life, which they term illusion or Maya, again, there can be no Yoga of devotion.

In order to have a Yoga of devotion that can actually achieve a true realization of the Divine, Sri Aurobindo has identified four basic principles: “Therefore, that there may be at all any possibility of a Yoga of devotion, we must admit first that the supreme Existence is not an abstraction or a state of existence, but a conscious Being; secondly, that he meets us in the universe and is in some way immanent in it as well as its source,–otherwise, we should have to go out of cosmic life to meet him; thirdly, that he is capable of personal relations with us and must therefore not be incapable of personality; finally, that when we approach him by our human emotions, we receive a response in kind.”

Sri Aurobindo goes on to clarify these points: “This does not mean that the nature of the Divine is precisely the same as our human nature though upon a larger scale, or that it is that nature pure of certain perversions and God a magnified or else an ideal Man. God is not and cannot be an ego limited by his qualities as we are in our normal consciousness.”

There must be a correspondence between the human and the divine consciousness, or else they could not communicate with one another. To be sure, the human consciousness may be limited in its range and capacities, but it still must adhere to essential principles that bring it into contact with and able to interact with the divine consciousness. “…still our human emotions and impulses must have behind them a Truth in him of which they are the limited and very often, therefore, the perverse or even the degraded forms. By approaching him through our emotional being we approach that Truth, it comes down to us to meet our emotions and lift them towards it; through it our emotional being is united with him.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 2, The Motives of Devotion, pp. 533-534