Last Updated: September 1, 2018

Definition - What does Devotion mean?

Devotion is defined as loyalty, dedication or love for someone or something. In the context of yoga and Hindu philosophy, devotion is a spiritual path characterized by deep love and commitment often to God, or the higher Self.

In Sanskrit, this devotion is called bhakti. Bhakti yoga is the path of spiritual growth and Self-realization motivated by love and devotion to a specific deity or the Divine within oneself and all creation. This devotion is expressed through chanting mantras, praying, singing hymns and worshiping the Divine.

Yogapedia explains Devotion

The Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, describes the path of devotion as superior to the paths of knowledge (jnana) and action (karma). Worldly devotion is limited, but true devotion is sattva (pure and selfless). Only when the yogi frees him/herself from worldly attachments and devotes completely to the goal of liberation and union with the Divine, does he/she practice intense, true devotion.

This devotion should not be confused with devotion that is motivated by less than pure reasons. Rajasic (egoistic) devotion is practiced for personal gain or selfish reasons. Tamasic (delusional and destructive) devotion is motivated by the desire to control or harm and may involve sacrifices and self-mortification.

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