Essentials of Hinduism -Bhakti-Yoga

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There is then the Bhakti-Yoga for the man of emotional nature, the lover. He wants to love God, he relies upon and uses all sorts of rituals, flowers, incense, beautiful buildings, forms, and all such things. Do you mean to say they are wrong ? * One fact I must tell you. It is good for you to remember that the world’s great spiritual giants have all been produced only by those religious sects which have been in possession of very rich mythology and ritual. All sects that have attempted to worship God without any form or ceremony, have crushed without mercy everything that is beautiful and sublime in religion. Their religion is a fanaticism at best, a dry thing. The history of the world is a standing witness to this fact. Therefore do not decry these rituals and mythologies. Let people have them ; let those, who so desire have them. Do not exhibit that unworthy derisive smile, and say, “They are fools ; let them have it.” Not so ; the greatest men I-have seen in my life, the most wonderfully-developed in spirituality, have all come through the discipline of these rituals. I do not hold myself worthy to sit at their feet, and for me to criticise them ! How do I know how these ideas act upon the human mind, which of them I am to accept and which to reject ? We are apt to criticise everything in the world without sufficient warrant. Let people have all the mythology they want, with its beautiful inspirations; for you must always bear in mind that emotional natures do not care for abstract definitions of the truth. God to them is something tangible, the only thing that is real; they feel, hear and see Him and love Him. Let them have their God. Your rationalist seems to them to be like the fool who, when he saw a beautiful statue, wanted to break it to find out of what material it was made. Bhakti-Yoga teaches them how to love, without any ulterior motives, loving God and loving the good because it is good to do so, not for going to heaven, nor to get children, wealth, or anything else. It teaches them that love itself is the hightest recompense of love – that God Himself is love.

It teaches them to pay all kinds of
tributes to God as the Creator, the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Almighty Ruler, the Father and the Mother. The highest phrase that can express Him, the highest idea that the human mind can conceive of Him, is, that He is the God of Love. Wherever there is love, it is He. “Wherever there is any love, it is He, the Lord is present there.” Where the husband
kisses the wife, He is there in the kiss ; where the mother kisses the child, He is there in the kiss ; where friends clasp hands, He, the Lord, is present as the God of Love. When a great man loves and wishes to help mankind, He is there giving freely His bounty out of His love to mankind. Wherever the heart expands, He is there manifested. This is what the Bhakti-Yoga teaches.

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