Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

“Cultivating a Personal Relationship With the Divine” by Sri Daya Mata

February 01, 2024


The following is an excerpt from the talk “Deepening Your Love for God” in the book Finding the Joy Within You: Personal Counsel for God-Centered Living. Sri Daya Mata was one of the earliest and closest disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda, and served as spiritual head of his society from 1955 until her passing in 2010.

Do not think that you must forsake the world and enter an ashram in order to seek God. No matter how active you are, you can find time to cultivate a loving, personal relationship with Him.

With my responsibilities, looking after the affairs of Guruji’s society not only in this country but in India and other parts of the world, I am as busy as the busiest of you. But God comes first. I allow nothing to interfere with that. What is necessary is yearning for God, and the will power to make time for Him in daily meditation.

Meditation must never become for you just a routine, humdrum activity. In my travels I have gone to temples, mosques, and churches, and around the world I have seen devotees saying their prayers with distracted minds.

I remember visiting the holy places in Jerusalem where Jesus Christ walked and communed with God, and seeing that the priest conducting the service was praying mechanically, more interested in his audience than in Him to whom he was praying. My inner feeling was: “No, no, no! You are here to commune with Christ!”

Similarly, in temples in India, I saw priests perform their pujas, busily looking at the other people all the while they were talking to God. The One to whom their prayers were addressed was not listening, because those devotees were not thinking of Him!

The deep flaw in modern religion is that the One around whom it should revolve is totally forgotten in the preoccupation with what is going on externally.

What Guruji taught is that when we sit for meditation, it is God with whom we have to do. Talk for even five minutes with God, letting no other distraction enter in, and you will find that your relationship with Him gradually becomes more real.

One way to develop one-pointed devotion is to chant mentally over and over again the name of God or some short thought or prayer addressed to Him. This is what India calls Japa Yoga, and the West knows it as a form of “practicing the Presence.”

It is also helpful to express longing for God in a song addressed to Him — such as one of Guruji’s Cosmic Chants. There are many beautiful love songs that can be addressed to God, even if they were not written for Him. One that Guruji liked was “The Indian Love Call.” How thrilling it is to offer such sentiments and longing, not to a human lover, but to God.

Also, read the lives of great souls, such as the life of Guruji, who was always immersed in the love of God.

A great help in awakening devotion is to think of someone you love very much, someone whose love has been an inspiration to you.

Guruji thought of the love he had for his mother, which was beautiful, noble, and pure; he revered her. As you recall the love you feel for that person — your mother, for example — turn your mind and feeling to Divine Mother. “Oh, Divine Mother, I know it is You who came to me in the form of my mother.”

It can be a parent, husband, wife, child, or friend. Think of the sweet quality of that individual, and when love wells up in your heart, immediately put your mind on God. Think in those moments: “This person could not love me unless You had instilled love in him.” It is from God that all love comes. When you think this way, gradually you begin to cultivate love for the Love behind those you love.

During the day, whenever anyone does something to help you, always see God’s hand in the bestowal of that gift. When anyone says anything kind about you, hear the voice of God behind those words. When something good or beautiful graces your life, feel that it comes from God.

Relate everything in your life back to God. Think in those terms, and you will suddenly find one day, “Oh, it is He alone with whom I have to do.”

God is the common denominator in the lives of all human beings. He is the prime mover behind all of our activities, our greatest well-wisher and benefactor. Can there be any greater incentive to love Him and to receive His love in return?

Leave a comment

Jai Sri Krishna! Radhe Krishna Govinda! Thou att the Love of all our Hearts 💕 Radhe Shyam 🙏

Jasmine Flame

Beloved, thank you! From the moment I committed to embracing Divine Mother She immediately began revealing Herself to me through my immortal, Mortal mother and now through Sri Daya Mata! I am beyond Graced on this path Divine Mother sat me on. My heart spills over gratitude for my Beloved Guru❣

Barbara Angier

WOW!!! I will read this again and again! Thank you for this precious message from Ma!!!


Muchas gracias!!! Consejos extraordinarios y sabios!!! Om Paz Amén


Very practical, applicable advice about how to increase my devotion. Fortunately, I have often felt I was divinely blessed by having the mother I did. She always seemed close to God. Now she is consciously with me as an aspect of Divine Mother.

Sheldon Kissoon

Beloved Ma...such a Saint! Her love for God continues to show us how and inspire us.
All on this path are so blessed. I am so blessed.
Jai Guru! Jai Ma!

Maria Angeles Sevillano Alcantarilla

¡¡¡ GRACIAS MA !!!!!


Debra Ray

Yes! This is what satisfies my soul - love for the Divine Beloved, who loves us with infinite, eternal love, directly and through each other. So grateful to hear Daya Mata's words, simple and pure. 💗Hare Krsna

Amy Williams

Love Love Love ! What a great reminder that I will be putting into practice today . I will look for the Divine in everything today . hope all have a blessed day ! God loved us lavishly .

Lisa Crowe

So inspiring! I love Sri Daya Mata's words of love and wisdom. Throughout the day I practice the presence of God and often repeat I AM NOTHING WITHOUT YOU GOD, I LOVE YOU. I have become very aware that EVERYTHING I do cannot be done without GOD. Sri Daya Mata said say - GOD, GOD, GOD. There is nothing else.

Kamal R. Rupakheti

Meditate with Devotion is Your Guru Mantra Ma.
Reminder and hammering always needed for me to avoid distraction
We Love You Ma for Your messages to devotees.

Tamala Poljak

Jai Guru!!! I love Sri Daya Mata as if she were my mother 🙏🏽❤🙏🏽

Arturo Tamala Poljak

Yes, I feel the same wayMaster is our FatherI remember going to the restroom and quietly weeping when Ma passedbut shes here now and foreverthe sweetest love ever!Happy Valentines Day Ma!(& Ma 2)Jai Guru!

Vijaya LMackrandilal

Thank you . Just the reminder I needed at this point.

Theodora Dare

God is all in all- HE is sovereign - praise His Him. 🙏🏾

Jessica Carrera

Que hermoso amor, me inspira me alegra elcorazón y llena de paz todo mi ser.
Jai Gurú


That is the absolute exceptional and beautiful truth of OUR GOD....Praise GOD...Amen!

Saravanan Logu

Very true the love of divine mother in Mother! Timely article!


I found this, so inspiring. Practical advice that I can apply on my every day life to get closer to God. Thank you so much Sri Daya Mata and self-realization fellowship for all you do to help us on our path to find God and be one with Him.


I needed to be reminded of these things. I dont want my meditation to be without devotion to God. But I do struggle with my overactive mind. Her comments on ways of practicing the presence are very helpful to me. Thank you so much for this post.


Jai Guru!!! Heartfelt message!! After learning GuruJis lessons I realized all people who loves me and when they say that. I believe it's God who is telling me I Love you my Child!! Blessed to be in this Path!! Jai Guru Jai Guru Jai Guru! Thanks to SRF and YSS brothers and sisters!!!

Maggie Roine

Words of wisdom that greatly inspire my soul. How blessed am I. Aum Shanti Shanti Amen

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