For the practitioner of Bhakti Yoga, adoration and worship are only the first stage of turning the heart and mind toward the Divine. The Yogin then begins a process of transforming his inner life to become a fit vessel of the Divine Presence. This is a process of consecration of the being, which starts by preparing the being to hold the higher energy of the Divine without “spilling” it in an unprepared system. This involves purification of the physical, vital, nervous, emotional and mental levels of the being.
When people consider purification, they generally associate it with outer cleansing, and some kind of ethical or moral code that is to be practiced. These are basic elements, but the true purification is one that is neither bound nor limited by externally developed moral or ethical codes; rather it involves a systematic and comprehensive approach toward aligning all the thoughts, emotions, energies and physical actions of the being towards the Divine and releasing all other motives and energies so that they no longer can disrupt or trouble the being.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “And one element of this consecration must be a self-purifying so as to become fit for the divine contact, or for the entrance of the Divine into the temple of our inner being, or for his self-revelation in the shrine of the heart. This purifying may be ethical in its character, but it will not be merely the moralist’s seeking for the right and blameless action or even, when once we reach the stage of Yoga, an obedience to the law of God as revealed in formal religion; but it will be a throwing away, katharsis, of all that conflicts whether with the idea of the Divine in himself or of the Divine in ourselves. In the former case it becomes in habit of feeling and outer act an imitation of the Divine, in the latter a growing into his likeness in our nature. What inner adoration is to ceremonial worship, this growing into the divine likeness is to the outward ethical life. It culminates in a sort of liberation by likeness to the Divine, a liberation from our lower nature and a change into the divine nature.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 4, The Way of Devotion, pp. 547-548