Love Is the Ultimate Motive of Devotion

The mind of man looks at the devotional nature and is able to raise numerous questions which are unable to be precisely answered to the satisfaction of the intellect. The Yoga of love and devotion is a matter for the heart, not the mind, and the truth that is understood by the seeker in this path is one that satisfies the deeper sense that transcends the mental formulations. The mind is necessarily limited by its framework based in division, separation and exclusion, and its need to analyze; while the heart is able to heal division, breach separation, include all and join things together. It is this difference in capacity and way of knowledge that precludes the intellect standing in judgment over the heart’s seeking and finding.

This implies, as Sri Aurobindo relates: “The truth of the motives of the heart’s devotion and their final arrival and in some sort their disappearance into the supreme and unique self-existent motive of love is therefore all that initially and essentially concerns us.” He indicates that all the questions about specific forms that the Divine may take, and specific ways that the individual can interface and relate to the Divine are not essential for the heart that takes up this path and devotes itself to the way of love.

“…all we need at present say is that the Divine does at least accept the various forms which the devotee gives to him and through them meets him in love, while the mixing of our spirits with his spirit is essential to the fruition of Bhakti.”

There are those who argue that there must be an eternal difference between God and the devotee for devotion to be able to take place; while there are those who argue that all such differences are part of the illusion presented by the lesser reality of the outer world. Neither of these positions need interfere with the truth experienced by the devotee through the heart’s devotion. “We may hold, however, the truth of the one existence in this sense that all in Nature is the Divine even though God may be more than all in Nature, and love becomes then a movement by which the Divine in Nature and man takes possession of and enjoys the delight of the universal and the supreme Divine. In any case, love has necessarily a twofold fulfilment by its very nature, that by which the lover and the beloved enjoy their union in difference and all too that enhances the joy of various union, and that by which they throw themselves into each other and become one Self. That truth is quite sufficient to start with, for it is the very nature of love, and since love is the essential motive of this Yoga, as is the whole nature of love, so will be too the crown and fulfilment of the movement of the Yoga.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 2, The Motives of Devotion, pp. 535-536

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