Sri Chinmoy: If the aspirant has aspiration and not devotion for the Master, certainly it hinders — I must say it hinders considerably — the aspirant’s spiritual progress. If the aspirant does not care for a Master and wants to aspire all by himself, then it is a different matter. He is not expected to show devotion to anyone. But here also I want to say that if he really aspires, then he has to feel that one day he has to reach his far-distant Goal through devotion. Now in order to reach the Goal, even without a Guru, he still needs conscious devotion to the Goal itself, and if the aspirant feels that he has no need for this devotion, then he is hopelessly mistaken.
There comes a time in the spiritual life when one is bound to feel that devotion and aspiration can never be separated. Devotion is the candle, aspiration is the flame. No matter which path one follows, if his aspiration is not founded on one-pointed and surrendered devotion towards his highest Goal, then the realisation of the ultimate Truth will always remain impossible.