How to develop Devotion and the Importance of keeping the Diaries
17 November 1967
I was just talking about devotion, how it is developed, and what is meant by it. It is a subject of heart, not of head. The heart always remains attached somewhere. You might call it heart, mind or anything you like. Now we are attached to the world, to our families, to the outward things. This attachment has been developed by constant contact. The more we are brought into contact with outward things, the more attached we become.
For example, a mother brings up her child. If the child goes outside for three, four or five hours and does not return, the mother's heart is upset. Why? Her heart has been attached to the child because she was always coming into contact with it. Now our hearts are attached to the physical bodies, to the outward attachments. Bhakti is a subject of heart, not of head, first of all. We have to develop attachment to God. Now we are attached to the world. All outer things are ephemeral, a changing panorama. The heart that is attached to that panorama, how can it not be affected! It too will always be changing. So first we have to develop attachment. We have just to change from the outside world to the God within us.
The ABC starts by coming in contact constantly with whom you want to develop your attachment. For that purpose, the first step of any religion is there. You may go to the church and say a prayer in the morning, in the evening and at night. Sikhs go to Sikh Temples, Mohammedans go to the Mosques, Hindus go to the Hindu Temples. A natural attachment will be developed in that direction the more often we go. Sometimes we leave off all outer regularities and because of that, the diary has been introduced.
You should do everything for the sake of the One to whom you are fully devoted. Your heart is attached to Him, and for His sake you love all others who are attached to Him, who are created by Him, you might say. In this way, you are not bound. If you have got a ruling passion for One, then for His sake you love everybody. You follow now, how devotion is developed, how to take it from one place and attach it to the other? The first step is to come into constant contact with God or with the human pole where He is manifest. In this way, attachment will develop. When it is developed, you will become helpless, because your heart is attached. If you are going in one direction, and your heart is attached somewhere else, you will always be dragged to where your heart is attached. So this is the start of devotion or bhakti.
The diaries show how much time you put in and in how many places your heart is attached to outer things in one form or the other. Devotion requires purity of heart. Purity of heart requires that no other thought should strike in your heart other than of the One whom you love. If there is no other thought in your heart for anybody else, and it is vacant from outward attachments, then God is there. Devotion starts when you detach your heart from the outward things and attach it to God, or to the God-in-man. This is developed by coming into constant contact with Him. The ABC starts by regularity of devotion to your spiritual practices.
Why do you attend church or any other sacred place ? Just to think of the Lord for a time, is it not? If you go to a holy place or a temple and your heart is attached outside, what is the good of it!
There is a story about two friends, one wanted to play football, and the other wanted to go to the church. So both of them were headstrong in their own way. The friend who wanted to play football went to the fields, and the other one went to the church to pray. But while one was playing football in the fields, and the other was praying in the church, what were they really doing?
The one playing football in the fields was thinking,
My friend is in the church, he must be saying prayers.
The one who was in the church was thinking,
My friend must be enjoying himself playing football.
So do all your works, physical or outer, for the sake of the love of God only. Your heart should be attached to One. Sometimes people go to a holy place or to see a holy man, and they are attached somewhere else. What's the good of it ? It is better to be in the field and thinking of the church than to be in the church and thinking of the field. So this attachment is the subject of heart, and develops devotion, in due course. This first step is a necessity, but what do we generally do? We take up one thing and leave off other things. If we leave off one thing and do not put in our whole attention on the other thing, then naturally, we lose both ways. How is devotion developed? this is the first thing. It is just to be in contact with the object which we want to have, which we have decided on. Pity it is, that we are adrift.
We have not yet decided on our goal, what we want to do. That is why I always press,
Well, decide what you want to become.
Sometimes we are devoted to one thing for ten days, a month or two months, then we just change our direction to another thing. The result is that the time is spent in digging wells, some two feet, some three feet, some five feet deep, but we never get any water. So first decide what you want to become, to whom you want to be devoted, wholly and solely.
If you have read the scriptures, you will find that all Masters say that when you have got a man-body, the highest thing is to attach yourself to God. Wherever you will be attached, there will you go. You have been coming to the world again and again. The reason is because you are not attached to God, otherwise you would have gone to God. So keep your diaries and eliminate all foreign thoughts from your heart. Our heart is at present divided. It should have no other thought except of whom you want to be devoted. Scientifically I am speaking. When devotion sets in, you will become helpless. Suppose you are daily saying prayers at an appointed hour for one, two, three or four months. One day, it might happen that you have no time to devote at all. Your heart will be upset, you will feel as if you have lost something. This is how devotion is developed.
The second thing is, just have the company of somebody whose heart is devoted to God. If you want to devote it to God, you must have such company that is devoted to God. If you want to devote it to the world, all right. For that you have got ample scope.
The third and most effective way is to come in contact where that devotion is manifested, where the Word is made flesh, where the letter 'l' has been eliminated from the word World. What then remains is Word or God. The radiation will come from Him direct, and can be had from thousands of miles away. But for this, you must develop receptivity. Through radios and televisions you hear the voice, or see who is speaking, from thousands of miles.
The God-man is Word made flesh and He is everywhere. You have simply to turn your hearts and minds in His direction and you will have help from there. But all the same, to come in contact physically cannot be underrated. In His company, you will get radiation at first hand. Over there you have to direct your attention to Him. Here you have little or no effort to make to direct your attention. You see with your own eyes. You follow me, how devotion is developed, how it can be strengthened? Now we should judge where we stand.
If our hearts are devoted to One, and we do selfless service for the sake of the One to whom we are devoted, that is not binding. If you are not devoted, but instead are devoted only for the outward name and fame, for the good name that you will have in the world, then you are bound. You will go where you are attached. Masters have been explaining these things in their own way. The basic thing that you will find is that all Masters speak of the same things in their sayings and scriptures. You find now how devotion is developed? For this purpose, you should be regularly devoted to your practices and also keep your diaries. That will make you regular.
I always enjoin,
Send your diaries blank.
How long will you send them blank? For one month, two months, then you will begin to fill them in and will become regular.
I will then say,
Please put in more time.
I never chastise anybody, even those who do not do as I say. I simply again request them to do what I tell them. So this is the purpose of the diaries, and how important it is to keep them. How many are there who really keep the diaries? Sometimes people simply bring their diaries to me and I see that they are all clear but that little or no experience is reported.
I tell them,
Dear friend, your diary is all right, but you should have gone to the third plane!
A heart that is not attached to the world never thinks of worldly things. One who does not show any failures under the different headings and who has a pure heart, then God must sit in it. He is already there, but He will become manifest.
As I just told you, there were two friends, one wanted to go to the fields to play football and the other wanted to go to the church. Both had their own way.
The one who was in the field playing football was thinking,
Oh! my friend is sitting in the church praying.
Even though his physical body was in the field, his heart was in the church. The other friend who was in the church was thinking,
My friend must be enjoying himself playing football.
So when you are sitting in front of the Master, you should see where you are really attached. You will then be able to derive the full benefit of His company.
First of all, the ABC of devotion starts from keeping the diary. This was evolved with a very high purpose in mind. You follow me now, what is the purpose of the diary? These things I have explained to you in detail. They are referred to in the books but are not given in detail. So those who are not keeping diaries must maintain them. I always again and again press this point. Those who are not maintaining diaries will fail constantly. In due course of time, their whole heart will be attached to the world. Outwardly they might appear to be very devoted, but they are really devoted to the world.
So now you understand how devotion is developed, what it gives, how it is further strengthened and how you rise into that devotion itself. This is what is wanted.
Every day something is explained to you in detail so that you may understand what is what. Understanding only also won't do, you must live up to it. The more you live up to it, the more you will change. Your hearts will be attached to higher things as compared to worldly things.