Without devotion, without God’s grace, all our efforts are meaningless. We cannot reach the top. No matter how much we strive, maya will overpower us and push us down. Devotion is very important on the spiritual path. God’s grace must be there.
We have to be constantly reminded that to succeed in any spiritual practice we need devotion. We accept willingly our duty towards family, children, home and work, and we have intense attachment to them. When we first enter the spiritual path the attachment is not towards God or the Supreme. Yet without this devotion we will not be able to remain on the spiritual path. Devotion, including chanting, ritual and worship is the last of the five raja yoga niyamas. It is known as ishwara pranidhana.
To be without devotion on the spiritual path is to knock your head against a brick wall. Anyone who has practised hatha yoga and raja yoga seriously like I have—I have lived in a mountain cave, practised eight hours of pranayama, four hours of asanas, six hours of meditation daily—knows that without devotion the mind will be dragged down within only a few months. You will be unable to stay on the spiritual path. It is only through God’s grace that you surrender and are able to continue practising.
No amount of pranayama, no amount of awakening the kundalini, no amount of meditation or any spiritual practice is possible without the grace of the Supreme power. You may not realise it now. As long as the ego is not broken, as long as you do not surrender to the will of the Supreme, there will be no progress. Your ego is a big barrier. You can develop muscles and a strong nervous system, but this has nothing to do with your spiritual awareness. The inner peace can come only through the grace of God, not through your power. No-one has the power. All this is far beyond you at this point. Firstly the ego has to break. You do not yet know the power of the Supreme, what is behind this world. Do not boost your little ego, your little intellect—it can all disappear in a moment—an illness, a mental affliction can destroy everything. Please understand, do not be egoistic. When you want to unite with the universal force of cosmic love, and so unite with every being, then compassion will flow. You will love equally whether wife or daughter, friend or foe, black or white, Protestant or Catholic. The love comes to you naturally and is complete.