Devotion is about you making your emotions so sweet, that your 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 ten crore rupees, 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 that you will not 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 he wants to dissolve into his object of devotion. He has no other objective in his life. Only then devotion will work for you. With a questioning mind, with a doubting mind, do not try devotion; 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.
There was a time when the most dominant factor in a human being was his emotion. Today, emotion is not the most dominant part in you. But it is still the most intense part in you. Most people are not able to get their physical body 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 just simply keeping the mind intense. In 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 love, at least in anger you are intense. In some emotion you are capable of being intense. If I cannot make you get intense with love or joy, if I abuse you, you will become intense with anger at least – 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, isn’t it? So emotion has always been the dominant factor in human beings.
Bhakti yoga is a way of transforming your emotion from negativity to pleasantness. Just see, people who have just fallen in love do not care about what is happening in the world. The way they are, you 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, they do not go the way you expect them to, and it eventually gets into some 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 emotion has become so sweet. Through that sweetness, one grows. That is devotion.
Sadhguru, a yogi, is a visionary, humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally-renowned speaker, Sadhguru’s wit and piercing logic provoke and widen our perception of life. www.ishafoundation.org