A seeker asks Sadhguru about the importance of devotion, to which Sadhguru replies that being devoted is not about someone or something. Devotion is essentially an enduring sweetness of emotion, with which your body and mind will function at their best.

Full Transcript:

Questioner: I noticed here that a majority of the people have a lot of devotion towards Shiva but I came from the United States, from south Mississippi and this yoga is new to me, like three months new to me and I have an extreme amount of devotion towards you because I’ve experienced it but I don’t feel the devotion towards Shiva. I know we say the mantra but do we need to have that devotion towards him to progress on the spiritual path?

Sadhguru: Shiva doesn’t need your devotion. (Laughter) Just yesterday someone was reading a passage to me from a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche. You’ve heard of him? Not… he is not from Missouri. You’re from… you're from Mississippi? I’m sorry, he’s not from Mississippi, from Germany. So Friedrich Nietzsche is saying or his character is saying “Only because there are so many people to receive the light, the sun can enjoy coming up” – this is German bullshit. (Laughter) If none of you are here, sun will still come up the same way, with the same glory. Hmm? Yes or no? He does not come up for you. This is a disease that human beings have got – they think the whole Existence is human centric. It is not so. What is here is not human. A tremendous phenomena is happening here, nothing to do with humanity. Well, it has lot to do with humanity but it's not of human nature.

So Shiva doesn’t need your devotion. It is just that if you carry devotion in your heart… What is devotion, let’s look at this. On one level devotion means a certain sweetness of your heart. It's the best way to be for any human being. If you do not carry this sweetness in your heart you will be... life will do things to you and you will become bitter. Don’t think you can insulate yourself. You can build a home, you can build a family, you can build a huge bank balance, you can be born in Mississippi but you will not remain insulated. Insulation happens... works only for a certain period of time; after that, one way or the other life gets you. If there is no sweetness in your heart you will become bitter, resentful - this has happened to a large segment of humanity. So on one level devotion means an enduring sweetness of your heart; a kind of sweetness that does not depend on any outside help. Suppose you fall in love with somebody – does it happen in Mississippi? (Laughter) Suppose you fall in love with somebody, your heart becomes sweet. But for how long – there is no guarantee. It can become extremely bitter because of a love affair. Yes or no? We are not wishing that but it can become... either because of situations or because of disease or because of death or because of loss, so many ways, or simply because of boredom. The peop... the person that you thought was most exciting and fantastic, after a few years you look at them ‘did I do this mistake?’ (Laughter) You can't believe it! So many things can happen. So devotion is an enduring sweetness of heart, does not depend on anybody.

‘So should I be devoted to Shiva?’ It doesn’t make any difference to Him but if you are a devotee – devotion is another kind of intelligence which simple intellect is unable to understand. The nature of a rudimentary intellect is, if you want to know anything we have dissect it. Yes? If you become interested in somebody, dissect them. Well you don’t do it physically because the law doesn’t permit it but you mentally dissect them, isn't it? Yes or no? You mentally dissect them and come to a convenient conclusion, not truth, a convenient conclusion as you like it and one day when that conclusion falls apart you will become bitter. The very nature of the intellect is to put things apart. By putting things apart you can know the utility of what it is. If I analyze this person I can learn how to make use of her but I will not know her. Only if I completely include her I will know her, there is no other way.

If you... if you give a flower to somebody who is intellectually strong, if you give a flower to a scientist first thing is he will rip it off because he wants to know what is inside. A poet will sing songs about the flower. He does not know what is inside, he does not care what is inside but it gives him joy. A mystic will become a flower. If he looks at a flower he will become the flower because for him even a small little flower that is blossoming in… something unnoticeable in the grass, even there the hand of the Creator is actively there, isn't it? Hmm? Actively there, as active as it is in this one, (Referring to oneself) nothing less. If you pay enough attention to a blade of grass you will see it has been done with enormous attention; it's been created with a phenomenal sense of attention. It's not been just made like that, ‘okay just a blade of grass’ – it was not made like that. Whoever made it paid enormous attention to it.

So a devotee is a different dimension of intelligence. He will see things that nobody else will see because devotion means you are devoid of yourself. Between you and the ultimate reality there is only one barrier, that is yourself. What other walls are standing? Is there some other wall blocking you? Just your own nonsensical personality. What you call as your persona is just a bundle of thoughts, emotions, ideas, conclusions, prejudices and conceit. Yes? This is all you call as ‘myself,’ what else? A heap of garbage I would call it. So devotion means you must become devoid of yourself. If that is not possible, at least you should reduce this heap. If you reduce this heap of garbage suddenly you see life explodes… life explodes in ways that you have not imagined possible. Now, when you come to a place like this – when I say a place like this, this is not a religious place. They are slowly converting it into a picnic place. This is a place where tremendous activity has been happening. Tremendous activity which concerns human consciousness has been happening for thousands of years or millions of years, we do not know. I am able to see many things but I am not able to gauge for how long, what, because this is not life as we know it. If it was of the earth I would have just said ‘this is how old it is’ but we are not able to judge that. So when we say Shiva – right now to enter Tibet all of you have an alien clearer… alien permit, (Laughter) do you understand? (Laughs) (To Participant: You... you qualify with that cap) (Laughter)

So Shiva himself is an alien. He did not belong to this. I think there are many, many stories, some of them we must have told you – something on the video? Hmm? So he has no parentage because he was not born here. He has no grave because he did not die here. He has no children because no human woman could bear a child from him. So it is not about Shiva, it is about you. But you must walk with devotion. What you are devoted to, it doesn’t matter. You must walk with absolute devotion. Devotion means you are devoid of yourself. Devotion means a heightened state of receptivity because you are not... you are no more full of yourself, there is emptiness in you, so something can touch you, something can enter you, something can reside in you. If you are too full of yourself… ‘when I am as great as... when someone is as great as I am, it’s difficult to be humble’ – if you are in that kind of condition (Laughs) then nothing enters you, nothing can enter you. Some space is needed, isn't it?

You are looking at everything through your psychological mess and you understand your intellect as the only intelligence. Intellect is a very rudimentary form of intelligence; useful only for utilitarian purposes. To make a living, to survive in the world your intellect is needed. For any oth... anything else, if you want to access any other dimension your intellect is not good enough. A deeper dimension of intelligence in you has to function. If this has to function, to be in devotion is the easiest way to do it. You can also do it with awareness but that takes lot of work… lot of work. Awareness does not come easy. To be reasonably aware, yes, but to be aware enough to perceive what is here, (Gestures) it does not come easy. Devotion is easy because it's not an achievement, it is a withdrawal. You don’t have to climb, you just have to disappear. ‘No, no, Sadhguru it is not possible for me to disappear.’ Okay, at least reduce yourself, be little less. Tch, these Chinese laid good roads for you. (Laughter) If you had come here last year, by now you would be pretty much reduced. (Laughter) I think you have come in comfort… too much comfort this time, really. (Laughs) If you had come here last year, the conditions were such, by the time you reach this place you would be quite reduced, believe me.

So slowly they’re converting a pilgrimage place into a picnic spot. Tch, it's okay. You came in physical comfort but mentally I want you to walk – I want you to walk from Mississippi. You got onto a log and crossed Atlantic and walked all the way to Kailash. Mentally do this exercise. At least from India you walk… at least from New Delhi you walk. Mentally you walk. Physically all right we have come in comfort but the important thing is how you hold yourself. Just because you easily landed in one place, you do not miss the possibility of what it is. So devotion is not about somebody else, devotion is about you, the way you are. What is the object of your devotion, it doesn’t matter. If you can... people bow down to this lake with great devotion. People bow down to a rock with great devotion. People bow down to toys with great devotion, isn't it? Most images of gods and their sons and their messiahs are nothing short of toys, isn't it? Not even well-made. Isn't it so? But people are able to bow down with devotion. So what you bow down to is not the point but who you are has come down, that is important.