The five paths of love and devotion

There are five paths of love and devotion. In one path, one approaches God with a calm, quiet, soft, angelical, joyful attitude.

In the second, the seeker approaches God as though he were a slave and God were the master. If the seeker wants to approach God with this servant-like quality, this is the right path. Here the seeker is the eternal slave of God's Love.

In the third approach, the seeker regards God as his eternal Friend, eternal Companion. In this path, the seeker speaks to God openly and freely, without obstruction. We can see the embodiment of this path in the relationship of Arjuna and Sri Krishna. Arjuna approached Lord Krishna as a friend, but eventually his relationship with Krishna changed, and he became a perfect, devoted disciple.

In the fourth relationship, God is considered as one's own child. Nothing is expected from God, just as we never expect anything from a child, a baby. When we approach God in this way, we have no desire, conscious or unconscious, to take anything from Him. We do not want to take anything from a little baby. We only try to please the baby in his own way. In India there are many devotees of Lord Krishna who think of him as a child, an eternal child. This is a most significant path, but it is quite uncommon here in the West.

The fifth path is the path of sweetness. Here the lover and the beloved become one. In this path we see the union of the human, aspiring soul and the divine, fulfilling Soul. The human soul and the transcendental Self become inseparably one on the strength of the seeker's absolute surrender. When an aspirant can offer his inner and outer existence completely, cheerfully, unreservedly and unconditionally to the Supreme, at that time he can achieve the sweetest inseparable oneness with the Inner Pilot.

These are the five approaches in the path of love, devotion and surrender. Each aspirant can walk along the path with one quality or with two or three.

Again, if he wants to have all the qualities, he can achieve this also. It depends on the individual aspirant, on what kind of relationship he wants to establish with his Inner Pilot or with the Supreme in his spiritual Master.