The Yoga of
Devotion : Bhakti Yoga
Love is the basis of all life.
Without it we cannot live. God is often defined as love. Most of our
lives are spent seeking love. But what is love, do we really know?
Is our seeking based on truth or illusion? Will it bring us to true
love or some form of disappointment or dissipation?
Love, like knowledge, can be
distinguished as higher and lower. The lower form of love is sexual
passion or any need to attach ourselves to external things. It is
the need to be loved. The higher form of love is devotion, love of
God, love of Truth, love of Life. It is the willingness to give
love. In the lower form of love we seek love from the outside, from
someone or some body. In the higher form of love we go to the source
of love within and are willing to be a source of that love for all.
We must seek love as love is our nature but it is up to us whether
it is the higher or lower form we align ourselves with.
Devotion or Divine love is the second
major path of Yoga. It consists of the worship of the Divine
Beloved. This can be through various chosen deities (Ishta devatas)
or incarnations of God (Avatars). Sometimes the teacher or guru may
become the object of worship. This does not mean to worship their
outer personality but to give reverence to the Divine teacher within
them. A personal form of
the Divine is often used as an aid in devotion. After all we
naturally project our devotion on a form or personality, that being
our human condition for many life-times.