Dedicate your life to ardent devotion to God,
and your endeavours will bring you peace.
Attain union with God
through contemplation on his Name.
Jap Ji: A Perspective
Devotion involves contemplating or thinking with single-pointed consciousness about what we are dedicated to.
Maharaj Sawan Singh says in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II:
Devotion to the Lord is a strong magnetic power by which the attention is removed from worldly objects and becomes fully concentrated in the Lord. There is thus no interference by one’s intellect or power of reasoning. Devotion is the act of withdrawing our attachment from all directions and fixing it only in the Lord.
Consequently, our full and complete attention is required in order to have ardent devotion. Not half-focused, wandering attention, but honest to God, laser-beam focus.
People often remark that when Baba Ji is talking to someone, his full attention remains fixed on them as if no one else exists in the world. Hafiz, a fourteenth-century Sufi mystic, explains this beautifully in The Gift, when he writes: “Everyone is God speaking. Why not be polite and listen to Him?” Attention has the power to attract the object of our devotion. When the Master looks at us, we cannot help but look back at him.
The same thing can happen when we pass someone on the street and we smile unexpectedly; they light up and give us a big smile in return. A simple smile can make someone’s day.
We are reminded that when we give our devotion to the world, we become miserable. Mostly we give our consciousness over to things and fruitless ideas that do not reflect the light of love back to us. We are challenged to consider that our consciousness illuminates what we think about, but what we think about does not always illuminate our eyes. So Hafiz makes this point saying:
On this primal caravan
Careers and cities can appear real in this
But I say to my close ones,
"Don’t get lost in them,
It has not rained light there for days.
Look, most everyone is diseased
From ‘making love’ to
The Gift, as rendered by Daniel Ladinsky
Saints warn us not to become engrossed in contemplating things and possessions, so as not to create a bond of love - attachment -for the world. Since we create a relationship of love with whatever we give our attention to, we must make God the object of our devotion.
Hafiz provides the method of how we can obtain divine love:
To make love,
For the divine alchemy to work,
The Pitcher [the Master] needs a still cup.
The current of love, Shabd, will fill us only after our attention becomes still and focused. Stillness comes when we place our full attention on simran, the repetition of the Names, during our daily meditation. And in that stillness, when our attention is completely absorbed in the current of love, we merge into that current. It is a process of letting go of the self.
Great Master, Maharaj Sawan Singh, quotes Shams-e-Tabrizi, who says:
Give up pride and become like dust, as from dust springs green grass. If you become ash because of divine FIRE, then this ash will act as alchemy which would turn your iron into gold.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III
When we turn our attention away from the entanglements of thought and become ash in the ‘divine fire’, our eyes shine with the light and jubilation of love. The path of love is the path of the Name, the Logos, the Word, the Shabd. Hafiz continues:
The only life raft here is love
And the Name.
Say it brother,
O, say the divine Name, dear sister,
Silently as you walk.
Don’t die again
With that holy ruby mine inside
Great Master says in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II:
The object of love is to lose oneself in the identity of the beloved…. No thought of any kind should be allowed to enter between the devotee and the object of his devotion.
He says in the same volume:
Devotion is not a subject for reasoning or even for thinking. It is an intuitive emotion of love…. Devotion consists in fixing the form of the Master in our heart…. Then love is awakened in the heart of the disciple.
Devotion has a strong magnetic pull. God gave us attention on loan, and now he wants it back. When our attention becomes completely absorbed in the Name through our devotion - our constant remembrance, our never-ending simran, our meditation - we will merge into the ocean of love.