Sunday, 25 March 2007

Meditation and Devotion are One and the Same


What is devotion? It is the steady flow of love towards God. When your love flows towards individuals or towards transient, worldly things it cannot be called devotion; it is really only a form of attachment. But when your love flows unceasingly towards God, the one unchanging principle behind this world of change, then your love becomes devotion.

Meditation and Devotion are One and the Same

Another way of thinking of this highest form of devotion is as the uninterrupted meditation on God alone. In the popular understanding of the word, meditation refers to concentrating on an object, and through that object reaching a higher state of consciousness. But this is not the correct approach to meditation. True meditation is meditation on God, and only on God. Therefore, meditation and devotion are really the same; both are the process of concentrating on God to the exclusion of everything else, thinking only of him. Without such meditation or devotion it is impossible to realize the constant presence of God everywhere, in everything, and thereby, gain true spiritual knowledge.

You long to enjoy the fruit, but you will not be able to get it without first having the flower. First comes the blossom, then comes the fruit. Devotion is like the flower. Without first developing the flower of unshakable love for God and allowing it to blossom forth, it will be impossible for you to acquire the fruit of spiritual wisdom. This flower of love may express itself in different ways as the following example shows.

The Householder and the Monk

There were two devotees who both had an all-consuming love for God. One was a householder leading a family life and the other was a renunciate monk. The family man felt himself to be the servant of the Lord and always practiced the principle of total surrender to God. The great virtue of the servant stage is that through the practice of humility and surrender, the ego quickly disappears. As long as you have egoism, you will not be able to gain the sacred knowledge of the supreme self.

So, the householder started from the very humble beginning which is associated with "I am your servant, O Lord, I am your instrument", and he expressed his unshakable love for God that way. On the other hand, the monk, expressed his love for God by seeking God everywhere he went, in everyone and in everything he encountered. He would constantly repeat, "Everywhere I look I find only God. Everything I see is created by God and imbued with God. Everyone I meet is but God. I too am truly God."

Because of the different circumstances of their lives, these two individuals adopted different paths to overcome the power of illusion. The householder, by following the path of a servant became smaller and smaller, until he became so small that he slipped through the clutches of that fierce tiger maya, the terrible power of illusion, which had held him in its claws. By losing his ego he became free. For the monk, the shackles of illusion which had been binding him were broken to pieces when he transcended his ego limitations by absorbing himself in the conviction "Everywhere there is only God. All is God. I too am God. I am God." Through their deep love of God, each in his own way was able to transcend the power of illusion.

Excerpt: Sai Baba Gita

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