All the paths of yoga lead to dhyana (meditation). Bhakti can intensify the effectiveness of other paths of yoga, for if you feel devotion towards something, then your attention and interest will automatically flow in that direction without any effort. There will be a natural attraction towards the object of love. For many people, it is difficult to maintain awareness of the breath or the psychic centres or whatever during hatha yoga and raja yoga practices, because there is no natural attraction. The awareness is distracted in other directions, preventing success in one’s yogic sadhana. But if you feel devotion and love for an object, then you will have no choice but to be aware. The object of devotion will overwhelm your whole being. This is the way to success in yoga.
Remember, if you are not devotionally inclined then don’t force yourself to follow the path of bhakti. If you are a doubter, then please remain a doubter. Don’t try to become a bhakta. But if you are a doubter then let the doubt be so overwhelming that it forces you to make an effort to seek answers to life and your own nature. If your doubt is strong enough then it will force you to practise some of the paths of yoga, though not bhakti yoga. Or your doubt will force you to find some other means to either confirm or remove your scepticism.
In this case your doubt can be positive. But if you doubt and take no steps to find answers from personal experience, then nothing will be gained. By all means doubt . . . doubt everything. Accept nothing. This is a good method of clearing away the cobwebs of false thinking from the mind. Eventually you may be surprised to find that you have become a bhakta spontaneously.
Bhakti yoga is one of the most powerful methods of inducing meditation. If you are swept away by a powerful current of bhakti, then you will find that meditation will arise naturally. It will come about as a natural consequence of having a concentrated mind. So if you feel devotion whether it is tangible or intangible, let it be the supercharger that launches you into the realms of superconsciousness. It is said that there are two types of fools: the ignorant fool and the fool who is saturated with bhakti. But the happiness of the bhakta is infinitely greater than the ignorant fool, because it is based on love and knowledge. So if you follow the path of bhakti yoga, you may find that you have become a fool… but a wise, blissful one.
Intense bhakti will induce the joy of meditation. One becomes the perfect receptacle of the divine nectar. You will come face to face with yourself. Do you know the root of the word ‘personality’? It comes from the word persona. It means ‘a mask’, or ‘an appearance’. Therefore, your personality, your individuality, is a mask, a shell of something much greater. Bhakti yoga is a method of seeing behind that mask, of seeing behind your limited personal-ity. Follow the path of bhakti, and then . . .