The Sunlit Path
In the spiritual life, the name of the sunlit path is Devotion. This path is definitely the shortcut to God Realisation. It is true that God and His Mysteries are beyond the comprehension of speech and intellect. But it is equally true that God is easily accessible through Devotion.
A true devotee gets great joy when he feels, "All this am I."
He gets greater joy when he feels, "All this art Thou."
He gets the greatest joy when he feels, "Thou art the Master; I am only the instrument."
He who follows the Path of Knowledge says to God, "Father, I want You."
He who follows the Path of Devotion says to God, "Father, I need You."
The former says to God, "Father, I own You."
The latter says to God, "Father, You own me."
A real devotee is a true lover of God. Impossibility has no meaning and can never have any meaning in his life.
As in other paths, in the sunlit path the devotee learns that it does not matter how long he prays and meditates, but how he prays and meditates. If he prays and meditates upon the Divine sincerely and unreservedly, then he prays and meditates ten times at once.
When an aspirant starts his journey along the sunlit path, he says to God, "Father, give me."
At his journey's close he says, "Father, receive me."
We all know that the abode of gratitude is the heart. Strangely enough, gratitude often manages to hide from its abode. But in the sunlit path soulful gratitude is always visible, looming large in the aspirant's heart.
Self love mars the fertile soil of aspiration and renders it sterile. But devotion toward God kindles the mounting flame of aspiration, creating a new world for the aspirant in God, and a new world for God in the aspirant.
Devotion is blessedness itself. This blessedness is the self-dedicating love turned toward God, seeking to serve Him constantly and unconditionally so that He can be fulfilled both in heaven and on earth.
There are countless people on earth who not only claim to pray, but actually do pray. How is it that they get practically no result from their prayers? The answer is simple and clear. Their prayer is not snow white. A snow white prayer is the fount of a self generating energy, a self-transforming light and a self fulfilling delight.
Like everyone else, a devoted aspirant has needs. But his needs and God's Love and Compassion are always seen together. A real devotee has come to realise that he loves God not to fulfil his human desires but to fulfil God in God's own Way. For an unaspiring person, life is punishment, pure torture. For an aspiring soul, each moment in life is an opportunity for self illumination and God fulfilment. In the sunlit path of devotion, the aspirant knows that just as he is hungry for God's Infinite Compassion, even so is God hungry for his constant feeling of conscious oneness with Him.
When the body is dirty, soap is necessary to clean it. When the mind is impure, tears of repentance are necessary to purify it. When the heart is impure, the need for devotion is paramount. The heart's impurtiy is the most dangerous disease in the spiritual life. Devotion is the only medicine. Devotion is the only cure.
The Brahman is by nature indivisible, a complete whole. But through maya, its self limiting force, it has broken itself into infinite pieces. The aspirant's all-surrendering devotion can easily make him whole again, divinely complete and supremely One.
October 17th, 1969
University of California at Santa Cruz