From the Faculty: Kavitha Chinnaiyan

What is devotion to you?

Devotion is the fuel for sādhana (spiritual practice), the sweet longing that inspires sitting for meditation, for ritual, for learning and teaching.

Is your practice of devotion oriented towards a religious tradition? What is the connection or relationship of devotion to religious traditions?

Although my practice of devotion took birth in a religious tradition (I grew up in India in a Śaivite family), it has changed and evolved over time. In religious traditions, devotion can take the form of faith (or blind faith), where a teaching is taken for face value and without question. Subservience and obedience to the tradition can be mistaken for devotion. Even though devotion is the primary fuel for adhering to any tradition, unquestioning faith can be a hindrance to progress. The flip side of this is that devotion becomes increasingly purified in the fire of authentic sādhana, where the longing for truth takes center stage and subsumes other motives such as wanting to belong to a tradition or to a sangha (community).

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