Bhakti – Limitation of Accepted Paths

In our search for Truth, beginning with an examination of the world before us, we use
as our instrument the faculty of reason. This reason can well be divided into two. One
is lower reason, which is exercised by the mind in examining the mutual relationship
of objects, from intellect down to the gross world. The other is higher reason or
transcendental reason, which is exercised in examining the mind and its objects –
gross or subtle – with a view to discover their real content.

There are usually three accepted paths to the Truth. They are the paths of devotion,
yoga and jnyana. Of these three, devotion and yoga deal only with relative things
falling within the sphere of the mind and sense organs, taking into consideration only
experiences in the waking state. Their findings, therefore, can only be partial and

The jnyana path looks from a broader perspective and comprehends within its scope
both yoga and devotion. It takes into consideration the whole of life’s experiences – comprised in the three states – viewed impartially. It demands a high degree of real
devotion, in the sense that the aspirant has to have a high degree of earnestness and
sincerity to get to the Truth. This is real devotion, to Truth; and it is infinitely superior
to devotion to anything else, which can only be less than the Truth.

The yogin controls, sharpens and expands the mind to its maximum possibilities,
attaining samadhi and powers (or siddhis) on the way. But in the case of those who
follow the jnyana path, the mind is analysed impartially and minutely; and proved to
be nothing other than pure Consciousness itself, beyond which there is no further
power or possibility of development.

So it is through jnyana alone that Truth can be visualized, while yoga and devotion
only prepare the ground for it.

Note 63, Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda: Volume 1, Shri Atmananda and Nitya Tripta, Non-Duality Press, ISBN: 978-0-9563091-2-9. Buy from Amazon US
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2 thoughts on “Bhakti – Limitation of Accepted Paths

  1. A slightly tangential couple of quotes, but underscores well the foundation for bhakti.

    “As long as I am this or that, or have this or that, I am not all things and I have not all things. Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that; then you are omnipresent and, being neither this nor that, are all things” – Meister Eckhart

    “In order to arrive at being everything, desire to be nothing” – St John of the Cross

    “The feeling “I am not this or that, nor is anything mine” is so strong in me that as soon as a thing or a thought appears, there comes at once the sense “this I am not” . . . Love says ‘I am everything’. Wisdom says ‘I am nothing’. Between the two my life flows.” – Nisargadatta

    “To negate everything that is not love, is love. So we completely negate jealousy, totally negate attachment, negate every form of possessiveness. Out of that total negation comes love. Through negation you come to the positive. And the most positive thing is love. One of the odd things about love is that whatever you do will be correct if you love. When there is love, action is always right, in all circumstances. And when there is that quality of love, there is compassion. Compassion means passion for all. Love and compassion with their intelligence is the endless truth. To that truth there is no path. Only when there is that immense sense of compassion that comes when there is the ending of sorrow, then that which is, is truth.” – J Krishnamurti

    Best wishes


  2. Very true. Indeed it is only logical for Yoga and Bakthi to be preparatory steps.

    One needs a very sharp and focused mind in order to penetrate into the Absolute reality. A sound body and mind that can concentrate and analyse are obtained through Yoga.

    Bakthi is in other words a form of surrender. The individual thought (the ego) is so overwhelmingly powerful, it will make it difficult to give up its individuality and accept that all that exists is One. Bakthi coaxes and cajoles the ego into making it believe in one Universal existence. In other words it prepares the tiny wave to get the knowledge that it is the Ocean.

    In some sense we can think of these as anesthetics. before a procedure is performed in the body, it has to be prepared and quietened to an extent. But thinking these are an end in itself is similar to making the mistake of to taking anesthesia to be the cure!

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