Devotion and the “Personal Element in the Search for God”

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Paramahansa Yogananda declared: “Kriya Yoga plus devotion—it works like mathematics; it cannot fail.”

To anyone beginning a practice of yoga and its techniques of meditation, such as those taught on the Kriya Yoga path, SRF points out the necessity of cultivating a deep and enduring relationship with that aspect of the Divine most appealing to their hearts. 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 should follow the yogic science to reach the door to the Infinite, but then our love, our personal longing, is needed for God 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, 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.

Paramahansaji said that “God listens to the language of your heart—language that comes from the very depths of your being.” He suggested that after the practice of meditation techniques, and taking time to be absorbed in the stillness which follows, one should speak to the Divine without formality, without pretense—but simply, with the love of one’s heart. You might call to the Cosmic Mother as Her child, saying, “Reveal Thyself, reveal Thyself.” Or you may wish to ask questions of the Divine Intelligence, sincerely seeking guidance about the most pressing issues in your life.

The science of yoga meditation, which is the foundation of Raja Yoga teachings, brings us into direct communion with the Divine. In that state of truest receptivity we then allow ourselves to be spontaneous in what we communicate from the depths of our being—giving voice to our hearts, minds, and souls in an entirely personal way. Naturally, over time, that conversation will transform into the most sublime two-way expression of love. “True devotion,” Paramahansaji said, “is like a plummet that sinks into the sea-bottom of the perception of God.”

In the following words from Paramahansaji, the traveler on the spiritual path can hear a resounding and solacing promise, no matter what aspect of God is most compelling: “In Him you will find all the love of all hearts. You will find completeness. Everything that the world gives you and then takes away, leaving you in pain or disillusionment, you will find in God in a much greater way, and with no aftermath of sorrow.”