Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion. While Jnana Yoga appeals to the intellectual, and Raja Yoga to the rational and scientific mind, Bhakti Yoga comes naturally to those who are predominantly emotional in temperament. Stemming from the innate and unselfish drive toward Unity, it is the most direct way to Self-Realization. It is the approach of pure love, which is poured upon the chosen deity, or aspect of God. Through placing all his concentration on God, the devotee endeavors to increase his remembrance of and communion with the Lord. With faith, prayer and self-surrender he attains direct perception of his Ideal. When merging takes place and Oneness alone remains, the goal is reached.

Emotions have no place in other paths of Yoga, and, because they are bound up with attachment, they are rigorously uprooted. However, the Bhakta converts the emotions into unconditional love for God, which is neither binding nor selfish. The emotions, when channelled properly, can be used to attain liberation.

The practice of Bhakti Yoga transmutes the lower emotions into devotion. Emotion is weakness, and must not be equated with divine love, which manifests as peace and joy. The lower emotions are not suppressed, however, but are utilized and sublimated. Without emotion there is no love, and without love one cannot approach the infinite Love that is God. Through the higher emotions the devotee reaches out to the Divine. His practice is carried out by both formal worship and by seeing the Lord in all names and forms at all times. With purification the receptive heart receives the continual flow of divine love.

Meditation and Mantras
by Swami Vishnu-Devananda