Mahabharat Episode 69: Does Devotion Still Have a Place in Today’s World?

Is devotion just a sweet emotion, or can it be a tool to realize the ultimate truth? Sadhguru answers this question during the Mahabharat program, throwing light on the power of emotion, and devotion as ultimate passion.
Sadhguru Wisdom Article | Mahabharat Episode 70: Does Devotion Still Have a Place in Today’s World?
 

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Participant: Sadhguru, you talk about devotion being the sweetest way to live, but is devotion enough to realize the truth?

Sadhguru: Are you asking this question as a woman or as a banker?

Participant: As a woman.

Sadhguru: If you are woman, devotion is enough. If you are a banker, we need to do head-and-heart-breaking sadhana[1]. How difficult the spiritual process is going to be for you is determined by you, not by nature or your Guru. Nature, existence, the Creator, and your Guru are seeing how to make it as easy, simple, and quick as possible. Because if you take time, it is not a question of your life going waste – it is a question of my life going waste. If you do not make it, it is not a question of you failing – it is a question of me failing, and I do not like to be on the losing side.

Why Your Identifications Can Be an Obstacle 

If you are here just as a human being, it is very simple. But you are so many other things. Banks can be difficult to handle, because there are hidden clauses in every agreement. They are in such small print that it takes a lifetime to read, so most people sign without reading them. If you wipe out all the hidden clauses and just be here as a human being – that is all it takes. Devotion is another dimension of intelligence, which today’s world has unfortunately largely lost out on.

Passion means to be fully alive, burning bright. Devotion means taking it to the extreme and become the burning.

Devotion means having the intelligence to understand that there is a bigger intelligence in existence; so you keep your little intellect aside. Devotion does not mean doing pooja[2] every day. Devotion means your involvement with life is so absolute that even you do not matter anymore. If you are devoid of yourself, that is devotion. There is no greater intelligence than that, and there is no greater sweetness than that. No lover or pleasure seeker will know the sweetness that a devotee knows.

What Should Come First – Sadhana or Devotion?

Participant: Unfortunately, as modern women, we do not have that innocence anymore. We have a thinking mind. So for us to be in a devotional state of mind, does it need sadhana first, or would the devotion need to come first?

Sadhguru: You have a wrong idea about devotion. You think that devotion means chanting “Ye Devi” That is just one small expression of devotion. It takes only two minutes to chant “Ye Devi, ” but it will take a certain amount of time to bring yourself to a place where you can melt into those two minutes of expression, so that it is not just sound coming out of your mouth, but your being flows out and connects with what you are referring to.

Is Your Passion Burning Bright? 

You are saying, “We have a thinking mind.” It is stupid of modern people to believe that only they are thinking and people in ancient times were not. They had a lot more time to think, and they thought much more than you. The benefits you have today are a product of their thought. The problem with modern life – whether you are a man or a woman – is lack of humility. I will not tell you to practice humility, because practiced humility is worse than arrogance, because it is deceptive.

Devotion is an extreme state of passion. Right now, your passion is like a candlelight. If you rage like a forest fire, you will be in devotion. Your passion is very insipid because your intellect is glorifying your limitations. Modern education has taught your intellect to always set boundaries. Setting boundaries is not a sign of intelligence ­– it is a sign of the reptilian brain in you. You set boundaries because your survival instinct is on. If you kept your survival instinct aside, you would not hesitate to do anything. That is passion. Passion does not mean having a love affair, sexuality, or anything like that. Passion means to be fully alive, burning bright. Devotion means taking it to the extreme and become the burning.

Why You Should Not Be Afraid of Emotions 

People think that if you are educated, you should not smile, show love, look beautiful, and of course, you should not shed a single tear. Why are you ashamed of the aspect of being human which is emotion? Simply because you have macho ideas in your head, and you think that is freedom. It is not. You are so deeply enslaved that you cannot shed a tear of love, joy, pain, or anxiety. There is nothing intelligent about being ashamed of your emotions. If the intellect empowers you, you do not think there is anything wrong with it. So if emotions empower you, what is wrong with that? If your emotions cripple you, they are wrong emotions. In that case, you have to transform them. 

Your emotions are closer to your being and existence than your intellect. They are more fluid and flexible. But you have suppressed that dimension of intelligence. As a woman, you have an advantage because nature gave your body a responsibility and a possibility that allow for things to happen to you much quicker and easier than if you had a masculine body. That is your intelligence. Please make use of that.

To be continued…

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Editor's Note:This article first appeared in the May 2021 issue of Isha Forest Flower. Click here to explore the all-new Isha Forest Flower!

The articles of this series are based on talks by Sadhguru during the Mahabharat program at the Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, in February 2012. Guided by Sadhguru, participants went on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga, through music, dance, and spiritual processes. 

[1] Spiritual practice

[2] A traditional form of worshipping a deity