Chapter XI

Bhakti – Devotion

Spiritual Discipline – Mental

Devotion is an age-old and innate quality of dedication, religious fervour and ardent attachment in man. It is described in many places in the Ved Mantras and the Upanishads. The Bhagwad Gita, Bhagwat Puran and other scriptures also comment on devotion at considerable length.

Guru Nanak also pointed out that the Vedas and other religious books have always extolled the value of devotion.

The night (of life) is dark but the light within is pure. Bereft of the Name, all is worthless. The Vedas commend the song of devotion. He who hears and believes, sees the Light (within). The Shastras and Smrities too stress on the Name.

Adi Granth

In the religious books of the Hindus two methods have been specified for attaining communion with God:

  • The path of (spiritual) knowledge – (Gyan Marg).

  • The path of love or devotion – (Bhakti-Marg or Rah-i-ishq).

Lord Krishna clearly states in the Gita:

The path of devotion is superior to the path of Knowledge. But amongst all seekers, I consider him to be superior and foremost who thinks of Me within himself and contemplates on Me with love and devotion.

Gita, 6-47

The path of knowledge is also described in the Gita, but at the same time it is very clearly asserted that the path of knowledge cannot be followed successfully without faith and devotion.

Oh Arjuna! Those persons who have no faith in Me, do not have communion with Me and are born and die again and again in this transitory world. They do not attain Salvation.

God cannot be known through the sense organs. Neither can He be known through the intellect nor by reasoning. And austerities and incarnations without devotion are of no avail. He can be realized only by devotion.