Guiding Light: Work, meditation and devotion: The integral approach

The growth out of the ordinary mind into the spiritual consciousness can be effected either by meditation, dedicated work or bhakti for the Divine. In our Yoga, which seeks not only a static peace or absorption but a dynamic spiritual action, work is indispensable. Meditation is one means of the approach to the Divine and a great way, but it cannot be called a short cut — for most it is a long and difficult though very high ascent.

It can by no means be short unless it brings a descent and even then, it is only a foundation that is quickly laid—afterwards meditation has to build laboriously a big superstructure on that foundation. It is very indispensable, but there is nothing of the short cut about it. Karma is a much simpler road—provided one’s mind is not fixed on the karma to the exclusion of the Divine. The aim must be the Divine and the work can only be a means. The use of poetry etc. is to keep one in contact with one’s inner being and that helps to prepare for the direct contact with the inmost, but one must not stop with that, one must go on to the real thing.

If one thinks of being a “literary man”, a poet, a painter as things worthwhile for their own sake, then it is no longer the Yogic spirit. That is why I have sometimes to say that our business is to be Yogis, not merely poets, painters etc. Love, bhakti, surrender, the psychic opening are the only short cut to the Divine — or can be; for if the love and bhakti are too vital, then there is likely to be a seesaw between ecstatic expectation and viraha, abhim¯ana, despair, which will make it not a short cut but a long one, a zigzag, not a straight flight, a whirling round one’s own ego instead of a running towards the Divine.

I have always said that work done as sadhana — done, that is to say, as an outflow of energy from the Divine offered to the Divine or work done for the sake of the Divine or work done in a spirit of devotion — is a powerful means of sadhana and that such work is especially necessary in this Yoga. Work, bhakti and meditation are three supports of Yoga.

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