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Sadhguru: The essence of devotion

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DEVOTION is about making emotions so sweet, that the life experience becomes beautiful.

But right now, what is passing off as devotion is just deception. People’s idea of devotion is, “God, I broke a coconut for you, what are you going to give me tomorrow?” This is not devotion; this is a bad deal. Suppose I try to make a deal with you where I give you ten rupees, but you must give me 100 million rupees in return. Would you be willing to make this deal?

This is the kind of deal everybody is trying to strike with god. You are smart enough not to make such a deal with me. Your creator must be at least a little smarter than you, but you think he will make the most idiotic deals. I want you to know, he will not. The reason why religion has become such a crooked thing on the planet is because devotion has taken on very deceptive forms.

So, trying to be a devotee is a waste of time. It is not that there is no devotion at all in you. There may be moments of devotion, but you are not capable of being a devotee. A devotee has no agenda of his own. His only agenda is to dissolve into his object of devotion. He has no other objective in life. Only then will devotion work for you.

Do not try to be devoted with a questioning or doubting mind; it will be a waste of life. In today’s world, people are made like this: if god appears, they will not surrender to him, they will demand an investigation – is he really god or not? With this kind of mind, you cannot become a devotee.

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There was a time when the most dominant factor in a human being was his emotion. Today, emotion is not the most dominant part of you. But it is still the most intense part in you. Most people are not able to get their physical bodies to a high level of intensity.

It takes a lot of effort to keep the body intense. Very few people are capable of that. Only a small number of people are capable of keeping the mind very intense. People can keep the mind intense off and on, but very few people are capable of keeping their minds intense at all times. In terms of energy, people are generally not at all intense. They know only certain moments of intensity, not a steady state of intensity.

But emotion can get very intense. If not in love, at least in anger, you are intense. In some emotions, you are capable of being intense. If I cannot make you get intense with love or joy, if I abuse you, you will at least become intense with anger – intense to a point where you will not sleep the whole night.

If I tell you, “Please sit and stay awake, I will teach yoga,” you will drop off to sleep. But if I abuse you, you will sit awake the whole night. Angry people cannot sleep, right? So, emotion has always been the dominant factor in human beings.

Bhakti yoga is a way of transforming your emotions from negativity to pleasantness. People who have just fallen in love do not care about what is happening in the world. The way they are, you may think they are unrealistic. It is just that they have made their emotions pleasant, so their life is beautiful. That is the state of a devotee.

Devotion is a multiplied and enhanced version of a love affair. A devotee is in an unfailing kind of love affair because if you fall in love with a man or a woman, it does not go the way you expect. Eventually, there is some kind of trouble.

That is why people choose god. It is simply a love affair, and you are not expecting any response. Your life becomes utterly beautiful because your emotions have become so sweet. Through that sweetness, one grows. That is devotion.

Ranked among the 50 most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest civilian award, in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service.

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