Bhakthi – Devotion or Pure Love Everyone is aware of the term “LOVE”. What we normally mean by LOVE is mere attraction of a man towards a woman or the vice-versa. This is not real love, this is only attraction and lust towards either the body or the mental qualities (some might love a person because of their beautiful appearance whereas others may love a person because of the good qualities in them – there can never be the love or attraction to any person apart from the two levels of body or physical and qualities or mental).
We may say that the love a mother has towards her child is pure love. Is it pure love? No, it isn’t. The great sage Yajnavalkya in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad thus says that the husband is loved not for the sake of the husband but for the sake of the Self. This is the reason why a husband is not loved by the wife once the vital force leaves the body of the husband. Similar is the case of a mother (worldly person) to her child. The mother fears the body of her child once the vital force leaves the body of the child. Thus, it is not pure love.
As per whatever has been said above, one may feel that pure love can be only had for one’s own Self and since this is experienced by everyone as one’s own nature, the joy in it cannot be enjoyed as such. But it is wrong to say that pure love can be had only towards one’s own Self. There have been occasions where great acharyas have shown pure love towards the Lord, towards their Guru, towards their disciples, towards the society itself. The examples for these are the love that Padmapada acharya shows towards Sankaracharya (which is clearly known in the Panchapaadika salutation verses), the love Madhusudhana Saraswathi had towards Sureshwaracharya and Sankara as well as to Bala Krishna (child Krishna), the love Madhvacharya had towards Vishnu, the love that Ramanujacharya had towards the society (when he cried out the Narayana Mantra to everyone), the love the Alwars showed towards Vishnu, the love that Saivite Saints or Nayanmaars showed towards Siva etc. Any example is incomplete without quoting present day or near-date examples. Pure love is known through the love Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had towards Mother Kali, the love Ramana Maharshi had towards Siva, the love that Abhinava Vidyateertha Swamigal of Sringeri Math had towards his guru Chandrasekhara Bharathi Swamigal, the love Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi showers towards each and every individual in the world – not to speak of the love the various Madhvacharyas and Sankaracharyas show towards devotion and knowledge in like manners.
Thus, true love is not just the love towards one’s own Self but it can be seen as manifesting in various persons who are truly devoted to the object of love.
Let us now see what true love is. True love is that which doesn’t expect anything (now an individual should not link this with film stories because they are stories which have no meaning in them but only for the sake of entertainment and for financial purposes). True love is that in which the individual forgets himself for the sake of the object of love. The individual remembers nothing but the object of love alone. This love, thus, can be seen as manifested in individuals even today. We will learn more about true love in the work.
What I have known as true love is the love that my Guru, Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi showers on each and every individual in the world – irrespective of caste, creed, money, power etc. Whenever I see AMMA (as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi is affectionately called by her disciples and devotees), I feel the embodiment of love manifesting itself on Earth. When I see AMMA consoling devotees who come to her with problems, soothes them with words (not just words but actions of helping them out also) and at the same time gives strict disciplinary actions and routines as well as advises to her disciples (who have to reach the ultimate reality of Brahman through knowledge as they are entitled for the same by the path of renunciation), I can feel whatever I have read in the 12th chapter of Gita about a real bhaktha of the Lord, a real Sthitaprajna as explained in the 2nd chapter of Gita, a real yogi as explained in the 6th chapter of Gita and a real jnaani as explained in the 4th chapter of Gita.
Even though, I have not yet realized true love and so what to speak about expressing the true love, I have endeavored here to put into words the philosophy of ultimate devotion as propounded in the Gita as well as various Bhakthi literatures. I very well know that I am not entitled to write this work but also know that I am not writing this work but it is AMMA who is writing through me and whose mere instrument I am in doing whatever little I can to the society.
I had a desire to write a work on Bhakthi for some days. But due to being preoccupied with other works, could not start up on it. As Guru Poornima is nearing (the 21st of July 2005), I thought of writing down whatever little this limited intellect could about Bhakthi – about which various acharyaas have written out of their experience.
This work is titled Bhakthi Darpanam – elucidating Bhakthi (mirror of Bhakthi meaning that bhakthi is being clearly explained as a person sees his face in the mirror).
At the outset of this work, I offer this work to the lotus feet of my Guru, Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi without whose grace, I will be nothing but a mere insentient rock and whose benign grace falls on all the devotees without any fail.
Salutations to the great acharyaas who have propounded Bhakthi so beautifully by their very experience and shown the path of the ultimate and non-dual reality of Brahman through devotion. Salutations to the Lord who is present in each and everyone’s heart as bliss eternal.
Let the Lord in the form of Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi shower her blessings on each and every one of us so that we may realize the infinite and eternal bliss inherent in the Lord who is present in the heart of all beings.
AUM TAT SAT
18th July 2005.
The love a normal and worldly person feels towards various objects in the world can be termed as materialistic love. This love is based on various materials or objects. Any object that we see vanishes with time (as it decays and gets destroyed or dead after some time). Hence, the love towards such objects is also prone to die. The love that we show towards the wife is present only until a child is born. When the child is born, the love shifts towards the child. Once the child becomes little grown up, the love shifts towards the next child. Once the individual becomes old, love shifts towards thoughts about youth!!! This cycle ceaselessly continues with love shifting from place to place. Such type of love which is limited (as it is shown towards limited objects – objects limited by time and space) is called materialistic love. This can also be termed as worldly love which is temporary and transient.
What is the use of such materialistic love? This love is of no use as it keeps on changing and hence cannot confer eternal bliss, peace and contentment to the individual. The shifting love itself causes lot of problems (sorrows and sufferings). Therefore it only increases the tension in the life.
Any love is sought out just for the sake of eternal bliss. But materialistic love just can’t give eternal bliss instead gives more sorrows and sufferings.
This sort of materialistic love in the form of craving for material things should be stopped if a person wants to attain eternal bliss through pure love. A seeker should enquire with discrimination into the various objects and finding them to be temporary, should renounce the craving for them and strive for the eternal bliss through pure love and devotion through the eternal being of God.
Thus, Sri Krishna says in Gita Chapter 5 sloka 22
Ye hi samsparshajaa bhogaah dukha yonaya eva the
Aandhanthavantha kaunteya na teshu ramathe budhah Those pleasures which are obtained by contact of sense organs with the sense objects are the seeds of sorrow as they have a beginning and an end. Therefore the wise never entertains such pleasures.
Emotional Love What we saw previously was craving for external sense objects. The next level of love a person experiences is mental love. This is in the form of cultivating those thoughts which seem to give happiness. Thinking about one’s child, thinking about one’s lover, and thinking about the unborn-child – these are examples of mental love. Such love which is maintained in the mind has no base at all. The same problems which are present with materialistic love persist here too. Thoughts are always fluctuating or changing. Hence, these changing thoughts cannot confer eternal bliss to the individual. Therefore a wise should also renounce love for various objects in the mind – brooding over various objects in the mind.
In this and materialistic love, the objects are changing and temporary sense objects which seem to exist for the time being and are like the dream objects in the dream state (which are only illusions and not real).
Pure Love or Devotion That love which is based on the real object of God who is full of bliss is pure love. All other loves are towards transient sense objects which are seeds of sorrow. But the love towards the ultimate reality of God alone is pure love as God is the ultimate reality who is of the nature of eternal bliss.
That love towards God which is unconditional and total alone is pure love and this love is termed as devotion or Bhakthi. Here, the devotee completely surrenders to the Lord. The devotee knows nothing but the Lord alone. Each moment the devotee thinks of the Lord. All actions of the devotees are supported on the constant thought of the Lord. All actions are offerings to the Lord. The very life of the devotee is for the remembrance of the Lord and singing his glories. Such a love towards God alone is pure love or devotion.
Other so-called devotion which includes visiting temples frequently, calling out his name in private (not accepting him in public for fear of being criticized or being shameful of calling his name in public), calling out the Lord at times of problems (and at other times completely forgetting him), speaking about the Lord at selected times alone (and at other times forgetting him in the mind) and fearing of attributing all credits to the Lord – these are not real devotion but are only materialistic love in the guise of devotion. This is not what is to be followed – these will only lead the individual to more and more sorrows. Only a real devotee who has pure love will be able to attain the ever-blissful state of the Lord and thereby ever rejoice in the eternal bliss inherent in the Lord.
Characteristics of Pure Love The characteristics of pure love or devotion are stated by various acharyaas variously in their works. The most important of those characteristics are being discussed here as below:
Unconditional and total surrender
Constant remembrance of the Lord
Having the Lord as the ultimate goal in life
The above three characteristics are interrelated. If one of the characteristics is present, then the other two also follow. These are very important characteristics of devotion.
Unconditional and total surrender
A condition is a limitation in anything (any science or experiences also). The condition of “I will eat if my stomach is not paining” is a cause of problem and limitation to the act of eating. Only when a seeker goes beyond limitations, can he attain the unlimited bliss of the Lord. And any limitation leads only to temporary and limited happiness. But since the very aim of human life is attaining the eternal bliss of the Lord, therefore a person has to overcome all limitations.
That is not pure love in which a person loves an object only if the object seems to give him happiness or is conducive to his liking. This is limited love alone. That love is pure which is beyond all limitations. Such a love which is beyond limitations is termed as unconditional love.
Any specific goal can be achieved only when there is totality of effort from the seeker. Similarly eternal bliss of the Lord can be attained only when there is total effort from the seeker.
Thus unconditional and totality are two important qualities that need to be there in a seeker.
Since the Lord is all-knowing, therefore it is always advisable for the devotee to surrender to the Lord. Surrender is done when one is incapable of achieving something or overcoming something. But the surrender of a devotee is not due to incapability, but it is because the all-knowing Lord is always there to protect the devotee – hence it is futile to spend lot of efforts to overcome hurdles which the Lord can remove within no time. Therefore surrender in the case of a devotee is not due to incapability but it is due to all-knowing nature of the Lord. Mere all-knowing nature will never make a person surrender to another person. Surrender can happen only when the person surrendering knows that the other person is a well-wisher. In the case of a devotee, the Lord is his father: the Lord is everything in the world – hence surrender is due to not just all-knowing nature of the Lord, but it is also due to the knowledge that Lord is the father of everything in the world. As a father will never want his child to fall into troubles, the Lord also thus will make sure that the devotee doesn’t fall into troubles.
But, how come then various devotees like Mira had to face troubles?
Those were not troubles but just phases of testing by the Lord. The Lord is so compassionate and showers his grace on all the beings. But the seeker has to become eligible to perceive and apprehend the grace of the Lord. Therefore, the various testing are put to the devotee so that he becomes eligible for the grace of the Lord. Also through these testing, the devotee’s faith in the Lord constantly increases. Only when faith is at its peak and a person knows the Lord and his nature can a devotee have total and unconditional surrender to the Lord.
AMMA gives a beautiful example to show that the grace of the Lord is always there but the devotee has to make himself eligible to apprehend the grace of the Lord. The sun’s rays are always falling on each and every place on Earth. But if a person closes all the doors and windows in his house and sits inside, he will not get the sun’s rays. The person will then be complaining that sun’s rays are not coming to him & that the sun is impartial to him! Isn’t this foolish enough? This is how various people curse the Lord at times of troubles and sorrows claiming that the Lord did not help them. This is how the various seekers who don’t have enough faith in the Lord proclaim that the Lord is not throwing his grace on the devotee so that he can have a glimpse of the Lord.
The glimpse of the Lord as well as his grace is always present to everyone even as sun’s rays are always present for everyone on Earth. What the devotee needs to do is to open his heart and then will he see the Lord and his grace will be apprehended even as sun’s rays are apprehended when the door is opened. What a seeker needs to do is to open the door of the heart to perceive the ever-present blissful Lord.
Uddhava asks Lord Krishna how to see the Lord? Krishna replies by telling that whatever is present is the Lord alone. The various beings, the various insentient objects, the various flowers, the various spaces, the various things – all these are the Lord alone. The world has come from the Lord and hence it cannot be different from the Lord. Also without the sentient being of Lord, nothing can exist. Therefore whatever is present here is the Lord alone.
This Lord who is present everywhere and in the hearts of all beings can be realized through unconditional and total surrender. When surrender occurs unconditionally and totally, all actions and the bondages vanish. When action vanishes, the desires in the mind also vanish. When desires vanish, the ignorance veil which is the cause of obstruction of the vision of the Lord also vanishes. Thus the devotee perceives the Lord as clearly as we now perceive a stone in front of us.
Surrender is partial and conditional when a person surrenders to the Lord only during times of problems or during weekends or on a daily basis when he goes to the temple. These are part-time jobs and there part-time jobs cannot give one complete fulfillment of the goal of eternal bliss of the Lord.
AMMA mentions a beautiful story about the possessive nature of the Lord (here the Lord’s nature is mentioned as possessive just to make the devotee put more effort towards the goal). Once Yashoda was giving milk to child Krishna. At that time, she had kept some milk on stove. She was worried whether the milk will overboiled and spill (the milk that is kept on the stove). Therefore, she left Sri Krishna there itself (stopped feeding Krishna) and went to see the milk on the stove. Sri Krishna was very hungry and naughty too. When Yashoda came back, she saw that all the butter which was kept in the house was spilled by Sri Krishna whose face was full of butter!!!! Thinking of two glass of milk, Yashoda had lost the entire butter in the house.
Similar is the case with a devotee who doesn’t have total and unconditional surrender to the Lord. The Lord requires the attention of the devotee not for the sake of the Lord (because the Lord is perfect and requires nothing from anyone) but for the sake of the devotee and his progress. Therefore, instead of worrying and pondering over the small and petty things in life like money, fame, job, and marriage etc. a devotee should always surrender to the Lord unconditionally and completely.
Constant remembrance of the Lord Surrender should also be supported by constant remembrance of the Lord. Surrender becomes total only when the Lord (to whom a devotee surrenders) is constantly remembered. Only when the child remembers its mother can it think and jump to the mother. Therefore a devotee needs to constantly remember the Lord.
Devotion is not just remembrance of the Lord at times of sorrow or on a daily basis when one goes to temple. Devotion is constant remembrance of the Lord. Here the important quality or adjective is CONSTANT. A real devotee is one who cannot even for a second forget the Lord. The devotee always remembers the Lord even as living beings are always breathing without even knowing it or being aware of it. The devotee’s mind is always immersed in the thought of the Lord. When constant remembrance of the Lord is there, then the devotee merges into the Lord. As the thought, so the person – this is an old saying which can be applied in the case of pure love or devotion also. When the Lord is constantly remembered, all other thoughts cease. All other thoughts and desires which are main cause of sorrow and suffering vanish as the mind is preoccupied with the thought of the Lord. And the Lord who is thought of doesn’t have a temporary and limited existence but he is the eternal and ultimate reality of the temporary and changing world. The Lord is of the nature of Bliss absolute. When a person constantly thinks about money, his all actions are towards money. Since money is limited and temporary too (it stays only for a limited period of time), the happiness which is got through the thought of money is also limited only. Any limited object is prone to give sorrow alone. Therefore the thought of money (constant thought of money) will give sorrow only. Thus any object constantly remembered will give the effect based on the object which is being thought or remembered. When the eternal Lord who is the ultimate reality is being remembered or thought, then the effect is also the eternal bliss of the Lord. Such a seeker merges into the Lord and thereby rejoices in the eternal bliss inherent in the Lord.
Surrender can become complete only when constant remembrance of the Lord is there.
Sri Krishna says in Gita Chapter 9 (23rd sloka)
Ananyaaschintayanthomaam ye janaah pari upaasathe
Teshaam nitya abhiyuktaanaam yoga kshemam vahaami aham That devotee who thinks of Me alone (without any other thoughts) and throughout worships me at all places and times, I look after the needs of such a devotee who is established in Me and I look into his good and bad (means he will be relieved from the clutches of bondage in the form of good and bad through realization of the ultimate reality of Lord).
Sri Krishna says in Gita Chapter 8 (14th sloka)
Ananyachetaah satatam yo maam smarathi nityashah
Tasyaaham sulabhah paartha nitya yuktasya yoginah He who constant remembers me (at all times) and without any other thoughts in the mind (meaning that the thought of the Lord will always be present), I am easily attainable (realizable) for such a yogi who is well established in my thought.
If constant remembrance of the Lord (without other thoughts) is prescribed by the Lord, is it possible for normal people who are bound by duty to their family?
First thing is there is no duty other than remembrance of the Lord and realization of the ultimate reality of the Lord which alone is the sole goal of human life. We see thus people telling that it is their duty to look after their children – but without no moment their young child passes away from this world. Could such people perform their duty (as they could not even protect their child)? This is the nature of what we normally call as duty. We ourselves are bound by various likes and dislikes but still claim to protect others. Isn’t this utter ignorance and foolishness? The only duty that scriptures proclaim for every person (irrespective of whether he is a householder or sanyaasin) is realization of the ultimate reality which is termed as Brahman in the Upanishads and God or Lord in various puranaas. This is because the world that we perceive is ever changing and hence is only an illusion like the dream world. It will be foolish to claim that I owned a big factory and was a billionaire in my dream. Similar is the case with the waking world. What we call as relations and mine are nothing but only illusions which will vanish with time – as time passes, these things leave a person. The only thing that permanently remains with a seeker is the Lord who is ever thinking about the devotee and is ever ready and present to help out the devotee. Therefore it is the duty of each person to realize the Lord and all actions in the world (including marriage etc.) are only for the realization of the Lord.
Second thing is that when Sri Krishna mentions that Ananya Bhajanam (or without another thought devotion) should be followed, the Lord means to say that this thought should be given prime importance. A lover will always think about his love – whatever he may be doing. He may be doing action, he may be working in a company, he may be walking but still all his thoughts will be directed towards the thought of his love alone. Similarly, a devotee is one who always thinks of the Lord amidst other thoughts and actions in the world. Thus, a house-holder can think of the Lord and perform all his duties. When the thought of Lord who is the ultimate reality behind the illusory world is remembered, then the illusory world doesn’t distract or affect the person. Instead the world will help the devotee in remembrance of the Lord (it will arrange for such situations and environment). Therefore, what is required is constant remembrance of the Lord which should be like breathing (happening at all times when other actions are also performed) and this remembrance should be maintained even when other thoughts or actions are done. When actions are done, the seeker can just for a second say “O Lord! I offer this action unto you. It is you who are the doer, it is you who are the work, it is you who are the giver of the fruits of the action and therefore accept this offering and give me whatever you feel is good for me”. This is not at all tough to follow. If a mother can always think about her child, if a lover can always think about the love, a devotee can always think of the Lord and this is what needs to be followed.
Having the Lord as the ultimate goal in life
Constant remembrance of the Lord and surrender to the Lord can happen only when a person realizes that the Lord is the ultimate goal to be realized in life. Only when a person knows that the Lord alone is the ultimate reality and realization of Lord alone will give eternal bliss can the person have constant remembrance of the Lord and surrender unto the Lord. Therefore, a devotee should always remember that the Lord alone is the ultimate goal to be achieved in life.
It doesn’t matter what I am doing now. It doesn’t matter if I have some desires at the present moment. But I should have the thought and conviction that Lord alone is the ultimate goal to be achieved. It is not necessary that one should renounce all desires now itself and desire for realization of the Lord alone – and this is also not possible for everyone except for a few dispassionate beings in the world. Instead what a person should do is to remember that the Lord is the final goal to be achieved – whatever else is achieved or not achieved but the Lord should be achieved.
It always happens that we have a final goal and then have intermediate or small goals which are fulfilled in short time but doesn’t affect the final goal. Similar should be the state of a devotee who is unable to renounce all desires and have the Lord alone as the sole and final goal in life. He should have the Lord as the final goal and then can have any other desires in life. If a person has the final goal in mind, then obviously he will be working towards the attainment of the goal. Therefore, if the devotee has the Lord as the final goal, even though he might have other desires he will always be working towards realization of the final goal of the Lord.
Therefore, a devotee should always remember the final goal as realization of the Lord.
Nava vidha Bhakthi propounded in Srimad Bhagavatham – The nine types of Bhakthi (types or levels also) Srimad Bhagavatham says
Keerthanam or singing the glories of the Lord (what is normally practiced as Bhajans)
Vishnoh Smaranam or remembrance of Vishnu (the ultimate reality which is present everywhere and is termed Brahman or Lord is Vishnuh – Sarvavyaapitvaat vishuh)
Paada sevanam or worship of the feet of the Lord or his devotees (and avatars who are manifestations of the infinite Lord in human form)
Archanam or chanting of sacred names of the Lord like Vishnu Sahasranaama or Lalitha Sahasranaama or Rudra etc.
Vandhanam or prostration to the devotees of the Lord and through this prostration to the Lord himself
Daasyam or having the attitude of a servant towards the Lord – thereby doing all services to the Lord & his devotees as though one is a servant
Sakhyam or friendship – this is the attitude that Arjuna had towards Sri Krishna – here the devotee finds the Lord as a friend and speaks openly with the Lord about one’s problems and happiness – Sundarar is an example of having this attitude towards Lord Siva
Aatma nivedhanam or offering oneself to the Lord – this is the final stage of any devotion where the devotee merges into the Lord and there remains no distinction between the Lord and the devotee.
Any bhakthi in which the devotee finds himself separate or distinct from the Lord is termed as Aparaa Bhakthi or lower devotion.
The bhakthi in which the devotee finds himself merging into the Lord and thereby the distinction between Lord and devotee vanishes is termed as Paraa Bhakthi. This Paraa Bhakthi is what Sankaracharya among other acharyas have termed as Jnaana in which there is no distinction between the Self and other beings (as everything becomes the Self itself), In Jnaana, everything is the Self. In Paraa Bhakthi, everything is the Lord. This alone is the distinction between Jnaana and Paraa Bhakthi (in reality both Self and Lord are the same only – the devotee initially identifies himself with the Ego but when he prays to the Lord, he realizes that the Lord who was being searched is his own very nature – when the devotee surrenders the Ego to the Lord (atma nivedhanam – here atma means the Ego), then the Self alone remains as the all-pervading Lord. This is the culmination of Bhakthi and thereby the devotee rejoices in the eternal bliss inherent in the Lord.
Various bhakthi literatures Various acharyas have spoken about Bhakthi. But the most common and accepted Bhakthi Literature are the Narada Bhakthi Sutras and the Shaandilya Bhakthi Sutras ascribed to Sage Narada and Sage Shaandilya. The 12th Chapter of Gita explains bhakthi and a real devotee beautifully and this chapter is titled Bhakthi Yoga. The great logician from Bengal, Madhusudhana Saraswathi has written a work titled Bhagavad Bhakthi Rasaayana. The great Krishna bhaktha Sri Vallabhaacharya has written a beautiful and small work titled Madhuraastakam which says that everything is beautiful about the Lord who is the owner of beauty. This work is so beautiful and yet simple that it is sung in tunes and good for contemplation.
Adi Sankaracharya also has written a vast number of slokas on various Gods and Goddesses which are meant to invoke devotion in the individual seeker. The most of these hymns is the Bhaja Govindam which is full of imports as well as a Vedantic work too.
Any work on Bhakthi is incomplete with mention of what these great Acharyas have proclaimed.
More or less, all the acharyas are similar in their definition of Bhakthi.
Narada defines in Narada Bhakthi Sutra
Naradasthu tad arpita akhila aachaaratha tadvismarane parama vyaakulathaa cha Narada says that Bhakthi is offering all actions to the Lord (and remembering him constantly) and the moment the Lord is forgotten, the person will become sad about forgetting the Lord (here Vyaakulathaa is not sadness but it is like the fish is unable to live without water).
Sri Krishna defines Bhakthi as
Mayi aavesha mano ye maam nitya yuktaa upaasathe
Sraddhayaa parayopetaah te me nitya tamaa mataah
He who has fixed his mind unto Me, is ever steadfast in Me and has Me as the final goal to be attained that person alone is considered a real devotee.
Sankara defines Bhakthi in Vivekachoodaamani as
Moksha Kaarana Saamagryaam bhakthireva gareeyasi
Svasva roopa anusandhaanam bhakthirithi abhidheeyathe
The easiest way to liberation is through Bhakthi or devotion. Devotion is contemplation on one’s own nature of Consciousness.
Here, it may seem that Sankara is not meaning real bhakthi but is telling about jnaana here. But if a person analyzes the statement, he will realize that the Lord is one’s own very nature of Consciousness. Without Consciousness, there is nothing and we already know that without the Lord, there is nothing. So, Lord is of the nature of Consciousness. And it is said in Gita that Lord resides in the heart of all beings – the heart is the place of the Self & hence it means Lord is one’s own Self or one’s own nature. Bhakthi has been said by Krishna as establishing oneself in the Lord – this is what Sankara also says as contemplation on one’s own nature of Lord.
Ramana Maharshi explains about Bhakthi in Upadesa Saram as
Bhaava shoonyah sad bhaava susthithh
Bhaavanaa bhalaath bhakthiruttamaa
That devotion is the Supreme one where the devotee doesn’t have any thoughts and remains as pure Existence which is the nature of the Lord.
These are just some of the statements of various acharyaas. Quotes of bhakthi can be taken from any of the works of these acharyaas.
These quotes were mentioned to point out the importance various acharyaas gave to bhakthi or devotion (Paraa Bhakthi in particular). The seeker who is unable to realize the Lord in him seeks the Lord and offers all actions to the Lord. This makes the task of the devotee easy and he easily attains the Lord through the grace of the Lord who is omniscient and omnipresent.
This work is just meant to give an overview on Bhakthi and the means to Paraa bhakthi which terminates in Atma Nivedanam or merging of the devotee in the Lord. When a seeker knows what Bhakthi really is, he will be able to realize that the path of Bhakthi and Jnaana are not different but one and the same only. And also the seeker will be able to realize the Lord who is ever-present in the heart and ever showering his grace on everyone in the world.
Lastly, I once again offer prostrations to my Guru, Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi without whose grace this work would not have been possible.
Salutations to the Lord who is present in the heart of each one of us.
AUM TAT SAT