Paramahansa Yogananda declared: “Kriya Yoga plus devotion — it works like mathematics; it cannot fail.”
For anyone practicing yoga and its techniques of meditation, such as those taught on the Kriya Yoga path, Paramahansaji points out the necessity of cultivating a deep and enduring relationship with that aspect of the Divine most appealing to the heart.
After all, as Paramahansaji made clear: “There is a personal element in the search for God that is more important than mastery over the whole science of Yoga.” We can follow the yogic science to reach the door to the Infinite, but then our love, our personal longing, is needed for the Divine to take us through that door.
You may like to think of God as the Heavenly Father, or as the Divine Mother, or Friend, or Beloved. Some feel drawn to seeing God as manifest in a true guru or divine incarnation such as Christ or Krishna, or they may gravitate to a more formless aspect such as Infinite Love, Bliss, or Wisdom.
Regardless of what image of divinity most moves your heart, you can seek That wholeheartedly, with the awareness that in devotion to and eventual union with the Divine you will satisfy a longing that nothing else can fulfill.
“To produce true lovers of God, true knowers of God, is the purpose of India’s teaching; this is what her scriptures have proclaimed to mankind,” SRF’s third president Sri Daya Mata has said. “Long before the era of Christianity, Buddhism, or other religions, India showed the way. This is why I love her so much. And her teaching is what the world needs today.”
We hope you can use the following inspiration to deepen your individual practice of devotion — so that more and more you experience the Divine in your heart as a permanent awareness.
From the talks and writings of Paramahansa Yogananda:
Devotion is based upon claiming God as our own true love; for are we not His children, made by Him in His own likeness?
That system of spiritual culture whereby one learns to “love God with all your heart” is known in India as Bhakti Yoga — union with God through unconditional love and devotion.
The love between the soul and Spirit is the perfect love, the love you are all seeking. When you meditate, love grows. Millions of thrills pass through your heart.
Sitting in the silence trying to feel devotion may often get you nowhere. That is why I teach scientific techniques of meditation. Practice them and you will be able to disconnect the mind from sensory distractions and from the otherwise ceaseless flow of thoughts. By Kriya Yoga one’s consciousness functions on a higher plane; devotion to the Infinite Spirit then arises spontaneously in man’s heart.
When you are absorbed in love for God, His response is there at the heart center, a tremendous feeling of calmness and divine joy welling up in the heart that draws your attention or concentration to that center. That feeling in the heart is like a great comet of light; and in that light is the love of God. It is that feeling which you should concentrate on in the heart….As soon as I concentrate on the heart, I feel that light, that glow of God’s all-consuming love.
True love is divine, and divine love is joy. The more you meditate, seeking God with a burning desire, the more you will feel that love in your heart. Then you will know that love is joy, and joy is God.
Your devotion, like a plummet, must go deeper and deeper into the sea of divine perception. Those whose eyes of inner sight are opened in meditation will perceive the Presence of God right here, in the heart.
Sri Daya Mata, the third president and spiritual head of SRF/YSS, demonstrated in her life the joy and fulfillment that comes from cultivating one-pointed devotion for the Divine. You can read an excerpt from one of Sri Daya Mata’s talks where she shares simple steps that you can take to cultivate a more loving inner relationship with the Divine through the practice of devotion.