What is devotion and how can we practice bhakti yoga? Sadhguru explains how a devotee is someone who has the right perspective of his place in the existence.
Sadhguru: Right now, the only things that are in your experience are your body, your mind, and your emotions. You know them to some extent, and you can infer that if these three things have to happen the way they are happening, there must be an energy that makes them happen. Without energy, all this cannot be happening. For example, a microphone amplifies sound. Even if you don’t know anything about the microphone, you can infer that there is a source that powers it. These are the only four realities in your life: body, mind, emotion, and energy. Whatever you wish to do with yourself, it must be on these four levels. If you use your emotions and try to reach the ultimate, we call this bhakti yoga, the path of devotion. If you use your intelligence and try to reach the ultimate, we call this gnana yoga, the path of intelligence. If you use your body, or physical action to reach the ultimate, we call this karma yoga, the path of action. If you transform your energies and try to reach the ultimate, we call this kriya yoga, that means internal action. These are the only four ways you can work with yourself.
What is bhakti yoga?
There was a time when the most dominant factor in a human being was his emotion. Today, emotion is not the most dominant part in you but it is still the most intense part in you. Most people are not able to get their physical body to a high level of intensity. It takes a lot of effort to keep the body intense. People can keep the mind intense off and on, but very few people are capable sustaining an intense mind. In energy, people are generally not at all intense. They know only certain moments of intensity, not a steady state of intensity. But emotion can get very intense. If not love, at least in anger you are intense. In some emotion you are capable of being intense. If I cannot make you get intense with love or joy, if I abuse you, you will become intense with anger at least – intense to a point where you will not sleep the whole night. If I tell you, “Please sit and stay awake. I will teach yoga,” you will drop off to sleep. But if I abuse you, you will sit awake the whole night. Angry people cannot sleep, isn’t it? So emotion has always been the dominant factor in human beings.
Bhakti yoga: Using intensity of emotion
The only thing is, emotion can take different forms. It can take very sweet and wonderful forms, it can take absolutely nasty and horrendous forms. The thing is to train it to take a sweet and beautiful form. Devotion is a way of transforming your emotion from negativity to pleasantness. Just see, people who have fallen in love do not care about what is happening in the world. The way they are, you think they are unrealistic. It is just that they have made their emotions pleasant, so their life is beautiful. That is the state of a devotee. Devotion is a multiplied and enhanced version of a love affair. A devotee is in an unfailing kind of love affair because if you fall in love with a man or a woman, they do not go the way you expect them to, and it eventually gets into some trouble. That is why people choose God. It is simply a love affair, and you are not expecting any response. Your life becomes utterly beautiful because your emotion has become so sweet. Through that sweetness, one grows. That is devotion. Devotion is another dimension of intelligence. Intellect wants to conquer the truth. Devotion just embraces the truth. Devotion cannot decipher but devotion can experience. Intellect can decipher but can never experience. This is the choice one has to make.
Devotion: A question of perspective
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POSTED IN: Yoga