By Carolyn (Karuna) Beaver
Intellect and heart — how can these possibly go together? Gurudevi poses this question in Enlightenment & Devotion.
It’s a simple equation. The more yoga I do, the better I feel. My body doesn’t hurt as much, and I’m nicer to those I live with. I have more energy, and I want to spend more of that energy helping others. Yoga poses, meditation and studying with Gurudevi Nirmalananda has impacted my body, mind and heart. That leads to my devotion, both to the practices and the teacher who gave them to me.
Gurudevi writes, “Devotion is an important part of the process. You need to put your heart into it.” The problem, she says, is that in order to feel devotion, “you must be separate from the object of your devotion.”
I am, of course, devoted to my Guru. I am in awe of Her and how much She has taught and given to me. Her most important gift was the Shaktipat initiation that awakened me to my own potential. It lit a fire within that gave me the experience of my deeper essence. I have put her on a pedestal. That means that I am devoted to a Self-Realized Being who is separate from me. Herein lies the problem. Gurudevi asks in her article, “Are you going to worship the Divine Human or become Divine yourself?” Devotion, she says, is essential in either case.
My answer to that question is both! I am devoted to my honored Guru, a person separate from me. And I am devoted to the inward path of discovering my own Divinity. I am devoted to recognizing myself as a Divine Human. In the process, my mind is often my worst enemy. It tears me down and makes me feel small, not Divine at all. That’s when I know I need to do more yoga. My yoga practices open my mind to the deeper reality within me. And then I understand that my heart is not separate from my intellect. In actuality, my heart is the source of my intellect. There is no disconnect. They can, and do, go together. I can be devoted to the Divine Human that is Gurudevi Nirmalananda. I can be devoted to the Divine Human that is Karuna. I can use my intellect in the pursuit of knowing and being my own Self. I can connect all the dots that are me, whether they seem elevated or base. They all connect to the same thing — my own Divine Essence.