The evolutionary unfolding of consciousness in Nature develops from a state of unconsciousness to an ever-increasing focus and attempt to achieve union with the Divine. At the stage of development represented by humanity, this seeking can become conscious, as the individual begins to understand the drive towards unity, and from that point forward, focused efforts can be made to turn the being more and more towards the Divine through worship, adoration, devotion and love. The development of religion is an early attempt to harness this drive and focus it.
The Yoga of devotion begins when the seeker goes beyond the limitations that tie themselves to specific forms, rituals or methodologies, and begins to grasp the larger goal. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “But it does not become what we specifically call Yoga until the motive becomes in a certain degree clairvoyant, until it sees that union is its object and that love is the principle of union, and until therefore it tries to realise love and lose its separative character in love.”
“Thus the motives of devotion have first to direct themselves engrossingly and predominantly towards the Divine, then to transform themselves so that they are rid of their more earthy elements and finally to take their stand in pure and perfect love. All those that cannot coexist with the perfect union of love, must eventually fall away, while only those that can form themselves into expressions of divine love and into means of enjoying divine love, can remain. For love is the one emotion in us which can be entirely motiveless and self-existent; love need have no other motive than love. For all our emotions arise either from the seeking after delight and the possession of it, or from the baffling of the search, or from the failure of the delight we have possessed or had thought to grasp; but love is that by which we can enter directly into possession of the self-existent delight of the divine Being. Divine love is indeed itself that possession and, as it were, the body of the Ananda.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 2, The Motives of Devotion, pp. 534-535