What Is Devotion?

I bring to Thee the Myrrh of Devotion

With folded hands, bowed head, and heart laden with the myrrh of reverence, I come to Thee. Thou art my parents; I am Thy child. Thou art the Master; I am ready to obey the silent command of Thy voice. I conjured the fragrant devotion of all hearts and mixed it with my tears. Now I am eager to wash Thy feet in silence. A river of my ardent crystal tears of craving rushes forth to meet Thee. Wilt Thou see that my boisterous flood of devotion be not lost in the desert of disappointment? Wilt Thou see that my mad flood of devotion follow always the right course, which leads to Thee? —Whispers from Eternity, by Paramhansa Yogananda

“No good end is ever reached without devotion. No true success is achieved unless the heart’s feelings are involved. Will power itself is a combination of energy and feeling, directed toward fulfillment.

“In the quest for God, the unfolding of the heart’s natural love, in the form of deep devotion, is the prime requisite for success. Without devotion, not a single step can be taken towards Him. Devotion is no sentiment: It is the deep longing to commune with, and know, the only Reality there is.” —Affirmations for Self-Healing, by Swami Kriyananda

“It is a thought wondrous to contemplate: As the devotee advances spiritually, he is accepted by the Lord Himself not only as a devotee, but as a friend. The relationship with God as Friend is in some ways the sweetest. For even the thought of God as Mother, which many consider the sweetest of all relationships, carries a hint of the human presumption that God must take care of us and pardon all our sins. As Yogananda taught people to pray, Mother, naughty or good I am Thy child: Thou must release me! When one is advanced enough, however, to think of God as Friend, there steals into the heart that sweet confidence by which one feels, But of course You love me! I am Yours; You are mine. How could either of us ever turn away from the other? We are one!

“The very science of yoga should be taught and practiced with love, and not as an invitation to ego-boosting power. Love and devotion help the seeker to grasp the true essence of Yoga, which unlocks the inner door to the highest blessings that are knowable.” —The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, by Swami Kriyananda

What Is Devotion?

“A way to approach devotion is as self-offering to the very heart of life, to truth, to love.” —Nayaswami Daiva

“I think of devotion as a language. It’s a language of the heart. When you grow up with a language, it becomes second nature to you. You don’t have to think about; it’s just there already with what you want it to express. But learning devotion later in life, as a second language, takes a lot of work. An attitude of self-surrender is essential for the heart to master the beauty of it, and to make it our mother tongue.” —Nayaswami Surendra

“[It] is the natural love of the heart, that which I can’t help feeling. It’s that part which is open to beauty and wonder and amazement. As time goes on, I can experience love for God in more and more beings / circumstances / situations, letting my heart become/remain open to that divine flow.” —Nayaswami Bharati

“Devotion…is the honest love in my heart for God. That’s totally unique for each of us. But the realization that we’re only a part of a much greater, infinitely loving, and joyful reality-and that by focusing our attention and love on that reality as much as possible, leaving our hearts open for response & guidance… well, that’s the Divine Romance, that’s so true, so real, that all saints devote their lives to wanting to share the blissful experience with as many as possible!” —Dambara Begley

“I experience devotion as the natural love of a completely open heart, as I feel God’s presence with total receptivity and the lack of any resistance.” —Darshana Wall

“Devotion…is not a product of my mind, but a product of my heart. Devotion is the aspect of prayer and meditation that isn’t thinking about God, but feeling about God. The feeling flows not outward, but rather inward and upward toward the spiritual eye in self-offering. It was very difficult for me to develop, as my heart was very hard at first to open.” —David Eby

“Ah, devotion! Well it has not been any easy road for me. Mostly because I am in my head when I should be in my heart. I cling to the words ” Love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, all thy mind, all thy soul, and all thy strength”. And Love thy neighbor as thyself. As others have said it is the language of the heart.” —Nayaswami Hanuman

“All my mental citizens are busy doing something–serving, studying, giving, seeking, sharing, and many other activities that help me and hinder me on the path. Devotion is the mental citizen that is not doing–it is completely focused and content just being at the foot of the guru. Sometimes devotion can convince all the other citizens to join her, but she never moves.”
—Lorna Knox

“I have read Master say repeated to call to the Divine like a child calls to its mother, without restraint and with total knowing that she will answer because she loves. This is devotion. Knowing without doubt in my heart, that God will answer. That the Divine is there for me no matter if I am naughty or nice, or no matter how often I call. The Divine is there for me and the answer comes in my heart, because the Divine loves me.” —Madhavi Eby

“Devotion is that feeling that blossoms out from my heart chakra and lifts the energy in every one of my cells onto a higher plane. It’s mixed with gratitude and a sweet joy that allows me to receive the supportive love that flows back from the divine energy of the universe. It’s a connection with something larger, something profound. It’s tinged with humility, humility without self-deprecation or contraction, but with an honest acceptance, an awareness, that I am part of a flow of energy that is always there and that loves me without hesitation, without restrictions, without judgement, but wholly and fully, just as I am, right where I am standing.

“When I have trouble feeling devotion, I simply focus on gratitude, and devotion blossoms.” —Manisha Holm

“…Devotion is more of a “where” than a “what.” Devotion is that place in my heart where I can feel god’s touch on my soul.” —Nayaswami Mari

“…Devotion has many facets, including steadfastness, self-offering, trust and love. It feels like the soul’s magnetic longing for God expressed through the heart.” —Pavani Johnson

“Devotion…is the one-pointed heart energy directed at something. To the devotee, that heart energy is focused on God in all his aspects and in turn to those great souls who draw us to God. Devotion is a process of opening our heart and capacity for love and goodness, shedding all distractions and parts of ourselves that don’t support our eternal journey home in Spirit.” —Rose Neal

“I was reminded of the meditation at the beginning of the recent Sevaka retreat at the Seclusion Retreat Temple. I was sitting very close to the altar with Swamiji’s shoes on the carpet before me (part of a small shrine/display). As I started to get up to leave, I felt to bow down and touch his shoes. Giving expression to the deepest longing of the heart would be as close as I can come to describing the experience.” —Vajra Johnson

Posted by Madhavi Eby

Madhavi Eby and her husband, David Eby, came west to Oregon in 1996 and feeling right at home, found and joined the Ananda Portland family. And have lived in Ananda Communities ever since. Moving to the Ananda Village (Nevada City, CA) in 2001, she joined the staff of Crystal Clarity Publishers working with others in helping to spread the message of this great work of Yogananda and Kriyananda. 2013 the Eby family moved back to Oregon and into the Ananda Portland Community, where she continues to spread her love of vibrant good health through food, humor and community. Madhavi has joined the management staff of the Temple and Teaching Center and also continues to practice her health coaching, love of cooking and chocolate.