You are on page 1of 51

Devotion

Bhakti

Devotion is the key which opens the door to liberation. The Mother

What is the Divine? The Divine is what you adore in Sri Aurobindo. TheMother 28 March 1932

How beautiful is the day when one can offer ones devotion to Sri Aurobindo. The Mother

... ...bhakti in its fullness is nothing but an entire self-giving.


Sri Aurobindo

The Nature of Bhakti

The nature of Bhakti is adoration, worship, self-offering to what is greater than oneself; the nature of love is a feeling or a seeking for closeness and union. Self-giving is the character of both; both are necessary in the yoga and each gets its full force when supported by the other.

Devotion is a state of Heart

Bhakti is not an experience, it is a state of the heart and soul. It is a state which comes when the psychic being is awake and prominent. Sri Aurobindo

REAL BHAKTI HAS A PLACE IN YOGA

Q: Is there no place for mental and vital devotion in this Yoga ? A: Who says there is not ? So long as it is real devotion, all bhakti has a place. Sri Aurobindo 28-4-1933

A veil behind the heart, a lid over the mind divide us from the Divine. Love and Devotion rend the veil, in the quietude of the mind the lid thins and vanishes. September 9, 1936 Sri Aurobindo On Himself

Worship

Worship: the form or outer expression of your devotion. The Mother

True worship: total and constant without demand or exigence. The Mother

External Worship

What is meant by bahyapuja [external worship]? If it is purely external, then of course it is the lowest form; but if done with the true consciousness, it can bring the greatest possible completeness to the adoration by allowing the body and the most external consciousness to share in the spirit and act of worship. Sri Aurobindo

The external Bhakti has its place and use

These are the exaggerations made by the mind taking one side of Truth and ignoring the other sides. The inner bhakti is the main thing and without it the external becomes a form and mere ritual, but the external has its place and use when it is straightforward and sincere. Sri Aurobindo

The photograph is a vehicle only but if you have the right consciousness, then you can bring something of the living being into it or become aware of the being for which it stands and can make it a means of contact. It is like the pranapratistha in the image in the temple. Sri Aurobindo

My child I am there in the photos. Exactly what you see here now: the whole, like this, I am there in the photos. What I am, it is there in the photos. Only, in each photo a different aspect of myself reveals itself. All the same it is I who am there. The Mother

Devotion is Offering

Offering: the placing of your entire being, with all its movements true and false, good and bad, right and wrong, before the Divine for transformation.
The Mother

Devotion is self-giving

Three typical modes of total self-giving to the Divine: (1) To prostrate oneself at His feet, giving up all pride in perfect humility. (2) To unfold ones being before Him, open ones whole body from head to foot, as one opens a book, exposing ones centres so as to make all their movements visible in a complete sincerity that allows nothing to remain hidden. (3) To nestle in His arms, to merge in Him in a loving and absolute trust. The Mother

Three Formulas
These movements may be accompanied by three formulas or any one of them according to the case: (1) Let Thy Will be done and not mine. (2) As Thou willest, as Thou willest. (3) I am Thine for eternity. Generally, when these movements are done in the true way, they are followed by a perfect identification, a dissolution of the ego, giving rise to a sublime felicity. The Mother

Devotion is a state of the heart and soul

Bhakti is not an experience, it is a state of the heart and soul. It is a state which comes when the psychic being is awake and prominent. Sri Aurobindo

Everything can be a means for Bhakti

In the way of ahaituki bhakti, everything can be made a means poetry and music, for instance, become not merely poetry and music and not merely even an expression of Bhakti, but themselves a means of bringing the experience of love and Bhakti. Meditation itself becomes not an effort of mental concentration, but a flow of love and adoration and worship. Sri Aurobindo

The Fruit of Devotion : Seeing the Divine

Seeing is of many kinds. There is the superficial seeing which only erects or receives momentarily or for some time an image of the Being seen; that brings no change unless the inner bhakti makes it a means for change. There is also the reception of the living image in one of its forms into oneself let us say, in the heart; that can have an immediate effect or initiate a period of spiritual growth. There is also the seeing outside oneself in a more or less objective and subtle-physical or physical way. Sri Aurobindo

The Fruit of Devotion : Milana (the union)


As for the milana, the abiding union is within and that can be there at all times; the outer milana or contact is not usually abiding. There are some who often or almost invariably have the contact whenever they worship, the Deity may become living to them in the picture or other image they worship, may move and act through it; others may feel him always present, outwardly, subtlephysically, abiding with them where they live or in the very room, but sometimes this is only for a period. Or they may feel the Presence with them, see it frequently in a body (but not materially except sometimes), feel its touch or embrace, converse with it constantly that is also a kind of milana.

Sri Aurobindo

The Greatest Milana

The greatest milana is one in which one is constantly aware of the Deity abiding in oneself, in everything in the world, holding all the world in him, identical with existence and yet supremely beyond the world but in the world too one sees, hears, feels nothing but him, so that the very senses bear witness to him alone and this does not exclude such special personal manifestations as those vouchsafed to X and his guru. The more ways there are of the union, the better. Sri Aurobindo

The Fruit of Devotion : Feeling Her Presence

I meant that one can feel the divine consciousness as an impersonal spiritual state, a state of peace, light, joy, wideness without feeling in it the Divine Presence. The Divine Presence is felt as that of one who is the living source and essence of that light etc., a Being therefore, not merely a spiritual state. The Mothers Presence is still more concrete, definite, personal it is not that of Someone unknown, of a Power or Being, but of one who is known, intimate, loved, to whom one can offer all the being in a living concrete way. The image is not indispensable, though it helps the presence can be inwardly felt without it. Sri Aurobindo

Religion is always a limitation for the spirit. If a man has a spiritual life independently of his mental formations and the set limits in which he lives, then this spiritual life makes him, so to say, cross the religious principles and enter something higher. But his consecration must come from within and not be formal. If it comes exclusively from the form, then the limitation is so great that he cannot go farther. There are people who have necessarily to come out of their religion if they do not want to be halted in their progress. But those who have practically no mental activity, who do not ask themselves any questions, who have only an intense devotion in their heart and an urge to give themselves to something that is infinitely greater, for these it does not matter whether they have a religion or not. It is all the same. But if one is attached to forms, one can never go any farther. The Mother

Vital Devotion
But this vital is a strange creature. It is a being of passion, enthusiasm and naturally of desire; but, for example, it is quite capable of getting enthusiastic over something beautiful, of admiring, sensing anything greater and nobler than itself. And if really anything very beautiful occurs in the being, if there is a movement having an exceptional value, well, it may get enthusiastic and it is capable of giving itself with complete devotion with a generosity that is not found, for example, in the mental domain nor in the physical. It has that fullness in action that comes precisely from its capacity to get enthused and throw itself wholly without reserve into what it does. Heroes are always people who have a strong vital, and when the vital becomes passionate about something, it is no longer a reasonable being but a warrior; it is wholly involved in its action and can perform exceptional things because it does not calculate, does not reason, does not say One must take precautions, one must not do this, must not do that. It becomes reckless, it gets carried away, as people say, it gives itself totally. Therefore, it can do magnificent things if it is guided in the right way. The Mother 9 September 1953

Vital Devotion
The Divine always brings with it perfect calm and peace. A certain class of Bhaktas, it is true, present generally a very different picture; they jump about and cry and laugh and sing, in a fit of devotion, as they say. But in reality such people do not live in the Divine. They live largely in the vital world. You say that even Ramakrishna had periods of emotional excitement and would go about with hands uplifted, singing and dancing? The truth of the matter is this. The movement in the inner being may be perfect; but it puts you in a certain condition of receptivity to forces that fill you with intense emotional excitement, if your external being is weak or untransformed. Where the external being offers resistance to the inner being or cannot hold the entirety of the Ananda, there is this confusion and anarchy in expression. You must have a strong body and strong nerves. You must have a strong basis of equanimity in your external being. If you have this basis, you can contain a world of emotion and yet not have to scream it out. This does not mean that you cannot express your emotion, but you can express it in a beautiful harmonious way. To weep or scream or dance about is always a proof of weakness, either of the vital or the mental or the physical nature; for on all these levels the activity is for selfsatisfaction.

One who dances and jumps and screams has the feeling that he is somehow very unusual in his excitement; and his vital nature takes great pleasure in that. If you have to bear the pressure of the Divine Descent, you must be very strong and powerful, otherwise you would be shaken to pieces. Some persons ask, Why has not the Divine come yet? Because you are not ready. If a little drop makes you sing and dance and scream, what would happen if the whole thing came down? The Mother
14 April 1929

The Emotional / The Psychic Devotion


The emotional [devotion] is more outward than the psychic it tends towards outward expression. The psychic is inwards and gives the direction to the whole inner and outer life. The emotional can be intense, but is neither so sure in its basis nor powerful enough to change the whole direction of the life. Sri Aurobindo

Do not allow anything to shake your Devotion

Remember what I wrote to you when you went to Calcutta to fetch your family: do not let any influence come in between you and the Divine. You did not pay sufficient attention to this warning: you have allowed an influence to interfere strongly between you and your spiritual life; your devotion and your faith have been seriously shaken by this. As a consequence, you became afraid and you did not find the same joy in your offering to the Divine Cause; and also, quite naturally, you fell back into your ordinary consciousness and your old life. The Mother

A wolfs devotion
A wolf had his den in the rocks on the bank of the river Ganges. When the snows melted, the water began to rise. It rose so high that it surrounded the wolfs rock on every side. So one day he was unable to go out in search of food. Oh well! he said when he saw that he had nothing left to eat, today shall be a holy day, in honour of which I proclaim a fast. He sat on the edge of the rock and put on a very solemn air to celebrate the holy day and the fast. But no sooner had he done this than a wild goat came bounding across the water, from rock to rock, and reached the place where the wolf was sitting full of devotion. Oho! he exclaimed when he saw it. Here is something to eat. He pounced on the goat and missed it, he pounced once more and missed it again. Finally the goat escaped by leaping across the stream. Oh well! said the wolf, resuming his saintly pose, I shall not be so impious as to eat goats flesh on a holy day. No, no no meat for me on a fast day!

What do you think of the wolf, his devotion and his respect for the holy day? You laugh at his roguery. But how many people there are whose sincerity is like this, who adorn themselves with fine sentiments because it suits their interests, and pose as little saints because they are unable to give free rein to their vices. But in spite of all their cunning, do you think that these tricksters can prevail for very long against one who is right and just? The Mother Words of Long Ago

Devotion is not bargaining


Mother, there are people who come here, who have money and are very devoted, who show their devotion, but when the question of money comes up, they bargain.... Then how shall we remain on friendly terms with them? What? They are devoted, they show devotion... In what way? By taking from Him all they can? ...but when the question of money comes up, they bargain, they calculate. I tell you, I have already answered, thats how it is. They come with the idea of taking from the Divine all they can: all the qualities, all the capacities, all the conveniences also, all the comforts, everything, and sometimes even powers, and all the rest. They come to take, they dont come to give. And their show of devotion is simply a cloak they have thrown over their wish to take, to receive. That covers a wide field: from saving ones soul, having spiritual experiences, obtaining powers, to leading a petty quiet life, comfortable more or less comfortable, at least with a minimum of comfortwithout cares, without botheration, far from the worries of life. Thats how it is. That covers a wide range. But when they give, it is a kind of bargaining; they know that to

obtain these things, it would be well to give a little something, otherwise they wont get them, so they make a show of being very devoted. But it is only a pretence, for it is not sincere. Unfortunately for them, it deceives no one. It may be tolerated; but that doesnt mean that anybody is deceived. The bargaining is everywhere, in all the parts of the being. It is always give and take, from the highest spiritual experiences to the tiniest little material needs. There is not one in a thousand who gives without bargaining. And the beauty of the story I told youmoreover, there are many others like it hereis just this, that when the old woman gave, she didnt know that it was Shiva. She gave to the passing beggar, for the joy of doing good, of giving, not because he was a god and she hoped to have salvation or some knowledge in exchange. The Mother 11 January 1956

Devotion without gratitude is incomplete


Now, we have put devotion in this series. Yes, devotion is all very well, but unless it is accompanied by many other things it too may make many mistakes. It may meet with great difficulties. You have devotion, and you keep your ego. And then your ego makes you do all sorts of things out of devotion, things which are terribly egoistic. That is to say, you think only of yourself, not of others, nor of the world, nor of the work, nor of what ought to be doneyou think only of your devotion. And you become tremendously egoistic. And so, when you find out that the Divine, for some reason, does not answer to your devotion with the enthusiasm you expected of Him, you despair and fall back into the same three difficulties I was just speaking about: either the Divine is cruelwe have read that, there are many such stories, of enthusiastic devotees who abuse the Divine because He is no longer as gentle and near to them as before, He has withdrawn, Why hast Thou deserted me? Thou hast abandoned me, O monster!... They dont dare to say this, but think it, or else they say, Oh! I must have made such a serious mistake that I am thrown out, and they fall into despair.

But there is another movement which should constantly accompany devotion.... That kind of sense of gratitude that the Divine exists; that feeling of a marvelling thankfulness which truly fills you with a sublime joy at the fact that the Divine exists, that there is something in the universe which is the Divine, that it is not just the monstrosity we see, that there is the Divine, the Divine exists. And each time that the least thing puts you either directly or indirectly in contactwith this sublime Reality of divine existence, the heart is filled with so intense, so marvellous a joy, such a gratitude as of all things has the most delightful taste. There is nothing which gives you a joy equal to that of gratitude. One hears a bird sing, sees a lovely flower, looks at a little child, observes an act of generosity, reads a beautiful sentence, looks at the setting sun, no matter what, suddenly this comes upon you, this kind of emotionindeed so deep, so intensethat the world manifests the Divine, that there is something behind the world which is the Divine. So I find that devotion without gratitude is quite incomplete, gratitude must come with devotion. The Mother 25 January 1956

Krishna Bhakti
If Krishna was always and by nature cold and distant (Lord, what a discovery Krishna of all people!), how could human devotion and aspiration come near him he and it would soon be like the North and South Pole, growing icier and icier, always facing each other but never seeing because of the earths bulge. Also, if Krishna did not want the human Bhakta as well as the Bhakta wanting him, who could get at him? he would be always sitting on the snows of the Himalayas like Shiva. History describes him otherwise and He is usually charged with being too warm and sportive. Sri Aurobindo

Certainly, Krishna is credited with much caprice, difficult dealings and a playfulness (Lila!) which the played-with do not always immediately appreciate. But there is a reasoning as well as a hidden method in his caprices, and when he does come out of it and takes a fancy to be nice to you, he has a supreme attractiveness, charm and allurement which compensates and more than compensates for all you have suffered. Sri Aurobindo

Bhakti for Sri Krishna and The Mother

This struggle in you [between bhakti for Sri Krishna and the sense of the divinity of the Mother] is quite unnecessary; for the two things are one and go perfectly together. It is he who has brought you to the Mother and it is by adoration of her that you will realise him. He is here in the Ashram and it is his work that is being done here. Sri Aurobindo

If you persevere, you cannot fail to get the permanent bhakti


I have no objection at all to the worship of Krishna or the Vaishnava form of devotion, nor is there any incompatibility between Vaishnava Bhakti and my supramental yoga. There is in fact no special and exclusive form of supramental yoga: all ways can lead to the supermind, just as all ways can lead to the Divine. If you persevere, you cannot fail to get the permanent bhakti you want and the realisation you want, but you should learn to put an entire reliance on Krishna to give it when he finds all ready and the time come. If he wants you to clear out imperfections and impurities first, that is, after all, understandable. I dont see why you should not succeed in doing it, now that your attention is being so constantly turned on it. To see them clearly and acknowledge them is the first step, to have the firm will to reject them is the next, to separate yourself from them entirely so that if they enter at all it will be as foreign elements, no longer parts of your normal nature but suggestions from outside, brings their last state; even, once seen and rejected, they may automatically fall away and disappear; but for most the process takes time. These things are not peculiar to you; they are parts of universal human nature; but they can, do and will disappear.

Sri Aurobindo

The Gopis are not ordinary people

The Gopis are not ordinary people in the proper sense of the word: they are embodiments of a spiritual passion, extraordinary by their extremeness of love, personal devotion, unreserved self-giving. Whoever has that, however humble his or her position in other respects (learning, power of presentation, scholarship, external sanctity, etc.) can easily follow after Krishna and reach him: that seems to me the sense of the symbol of the Gopis. There are many other significances, of course that is only one among the many. Sri Aurobindo Aur urobindo

Q:What is the right attitude to stick on to this path till the Supramental Truth is realised? A: There is the psychic condition and sincerity and devotion to the Mother. Sri Aurobindo Elements of Yoga

Q: Two days back I saw in a dream that the Mother was standing on a high place and before her there was a pillar with the Tulsi plant on it. What does it signify ? A: That she has brought down and planted Bhakti, I suppose. Sri Aurobindo 5-6-1933

A strong bhakti for the Mother leads to direct opening of the Psychic Centre

The direct opening of the psychic centre is easy only when the ego-centricity is greatly diminished and also if there is a strong bhakti for the Mother. A spiritual humility and sense of submission and dependence is necessary Sri Aurobindo 16-7-1936

Q: It was 1 a.m. at night when my brother in excruciating pain called me and asked if Sri Aurobindo could heal him. I took out some Prasad flowers that were with me and touched the affected part with them. And lo ! the pain vanished and he began to recover. I want to know if you were aware of this and heard my prayer. A: What happens in such cases is that when someone is accepted, the Mother sends out something of herself to him and this is with him wherever he goes and is always in connection with her bring here. So when he does anything like what you did in this case with faith and bhakti, it reaches, through that emanation of herself which is with him, the Mothers consciousness inner or outer and the Force goes in return for the result.

Serving with Devotion is Sadhana

Mother, when someone asks me what I have done during all the years I have been here, I say that I have served with devotion, and that is my sadhana. I do not understand anything else. It is true that it has taken me a long time to understand this, and that I have sometimes been anxious. By Mothers Grace I understand a little about Her service, and in it I feel Her Force and Her Love, and I find that it is quite sufficient for me. Isnt it so,Mother? Certainly you understand and you act better and better, with a consciousness that is progressing towards a total light. The Mother

To work, to act with Devotion... ...


But is not sitting down to meditation an indispensable discipline, and does it not give a more intense and concentrated union with the Divine? That may be. But a discipline in itself is not what we are seeking. What we are seeking is to be concentrated on the Divine in all that we do, at all times, in all our acts and in every movement. There are some here who have been told to meditate; but also there are others who have not been asked to do any meditation at all. But it must not be thought that they are not progressing. They too follow a discipline, but it is of another nature. To work, to act with devotion and an inner consecration is also a spiritual discipline. The final aim is to be in constant union with the Divine, not only in meditation but in all circumstances and in all the active life. The Mother

Her Voice awakes the Sentiment of Devotion


My voice is enveloped with an atmosphere which awakes in us an intense aspiration which strengthens the will to strive till the goal, and the sentiment of devotion and divine love. It penetrates into the hearts and awakes the central being, removes the screen which covers the psychic flame to lead the consciousness towards the Lord of our existence. My voice has an extraordinary power, it spreads a harmony, a peace, a light and an amplitude that resounds and shines brightly in each cell with a joy that exults to know Him. It gives an amplitude and travels in waves which ring through the atmosphere in the occult worlds. The Mother The Supreme by Mona Sarkar

The more intense the Bhakti, the greater is the force for transformation
It is a misunderstanding to suppose that I am against Bhakti or against emotional Bhakti which comes to the same thing, since without emotion there can be no Bhakti. It is rather the fact that in my writings on yoga I have given Bhakti the highest place. All that I have said at any time which could account for this misunderstanding was against an unpurified emotionalism which, according to my experience, leads to want of balance, agitated and disharmonious expression or even contrary reactions and, at its extreme, nervous disorder. But the insistence on purification does not mean that I condemn true feeling and emotion any more than the insistence on a purified mind or will means that I condemn thought and will. On the contrary, the deeper the emotion, the more intense the Bhakti, the greater is the force for realisation and transformation. It is oftenest through intensity of emotion that the psychic being awakes and there is an opening of the inner doors to the Divine. Sri Aurobindo

No opposition between The Psychic &The Higher-plane knowledge


It is because it is the analysing mind that is active that always brings a certain dryness; the higher mind or the intuition bring a much more spontaneous and complete knowledge the beginning of the real Jnana without this effort. The bhakti which you feel is psychic, but with a strong vital tinge; and it is the mind and the vital between them that bring in the opposition between the bhakti and the Jnana. The vital concerned only with emotion finds the mental knowledge dry and without rasa, the mind finds the bhakti to be a blind emotion, fully interesting only when its character has been analysed and understood. There is no such opposition when the psychic and the higherplane knowledge act together predominantly the psychic welcomes knowledge that supports its emotion, the higher thought consciousness rejoices in the bhakti. Sri Aurobindo

Grace is Spontaneous
The true movement is a pure aspiration and surrender. After all, one has not a right to call on the Divine to manifest himself; it can come only as a response to a spiritual or psychic state of consciousness or to a long course of sadhana rightly done; or, if it comes before that or without any apparent reason, it is a Grace; but one cannot demand or compel Grace. Grace is something spontaneous which wells out from the Divine Consciousness as a free flow of its being. The bhakta looks for it, but he is ready to wait in perfect reliance even if need be, all his life knowing that it will come, never varying in his love and surrender because it does not come now or soon. That is the spirit of so many songs of devotees which you have sung yourself; I heard one such song from you in a record sometime ago and very beautiful it was and beautifully sung Even if I have not won Thee, O Lord, still I adore. Sri Aurobindo

Adoration to The Divine Mother


At the head she stands of birth and toil and fate, In their slow round the cycles turn to her call; Alone her hands can change Times dragon base. Hers is the mystery the Night conceals; The spirits alchemist energy is hers; She is the golden bridge, the wonderful fire. The luminous heart of the Unknown is she, A power of silence in the depths of God; She is the Force, the inevitable Word, The magnet of our difficult ascent, The Sun from which we kindle all our suns, The Light that leans from the unrealised Vasts, The joy that beckons from the impossible, The Might of all that never yet came down. All Nature dumbly calls to her alone To heal with her feet the aching throb of life And break the seals on the dim soul of man And kindle her fire in the closed heart of things. Sri Aurobindo