Devotee: Do devotional practices have any benefit?
Papaji: If you know exactly what ‘devotion’ is, then it is very useful. Perhaps, devotion is the end of all the practices.
Devotion is that supreme love or supreme search for that which is beyond imagination. You have to be devoted to that which your mind cannot imagine. That devotion will arise within yourself and you will merge and melt into that un-imaginable supreme something, non-existence — that which never did exist.
Everyone is devoted to that. Because when we have wants, we get fatigued, we get strained and we get tired. We want some rest. Therefore, we start to find that place, where we find rest. The urge arises to reach somewhere, as a devotee, to the divine. We see that place, and search that place where it is. And that place will be supreme non-existence. That will give us rest. And our devotion will merge into that Supreme Itself, which is not manifest. Love of the unmanifest is devotion. And the divine is the unmanifest. Devotee is that which searches the unmanifest beyond all manifestations. This is called supreme devotion.
Devotee: What is the meaning of bhakti?
Generally they give the bhakti meaning as this: bhakta, bhagwan and bhakti. I translated the same as divine, devotion and the devotee. Bhakta means devotee, bhakti means devotion and bhagwan means divine. But this is not the meaning of bhakti. Bhakti means that which cannot be divided: Unity. Bhakti means Unity. Abhakta means division. And bhakta means Oneness. So bhakti is that which unites and not divides between the devotee and the divine. This is the actual meaning as I translate it.
The devotion often falls short because it goes through the mind to an object instead of all the way to the formless.
Yes. Through the mind to some other object of devotion or love, whatever you want. But if you have no mind and no object in the mind to reach anywhere, what do you call this? No mind, no intention of the mind to reach anywhere, what do you call this?
Papaji: Yes. This is devotion. Devotion without anything else. You see, some love is there when you become empty. Emptiness. Something rises in your mind, doesn’t it?
Devotee: Compassion rises in emptiness.
Papaji: So this is love; this is called devotion. Because now you become the mother. Supreme mother. Therefore, you have to nurse everything as a mother. This is called devotion.
When you’re free, you enjoy. When you go to sleep, there are no forms, no appearances of the waking state; you are absolutely empty. You are very happy at that time. What brings you that happiness? Only the emptiness of forms, appearances have given you happiness. So, you call it devotion. Devotion can be misinterpreted, so better we not use that word. If you can do with something else, keep it without any meaning. Enjoy yourself without bringing it to any object of enjoyment.