Devotion is the product of intense love. It is one of the routes by which God may be approached; devotion to God is inevitable sooner or later, no matter by which route God is approached. Of all the approaches to God, devotion is the simplest. It does not need exceptional intelligence or bookish knowledge. All what devotion needs is a willingness to forget our individuality for the sake of God. “I have no wish, and I have no will. I am all yours, do with me whatever you like”, says the perfect devotee. According to the well-known writer, Prof. Manoj Das, Hanuman illustrates that if devotion is total, the imperfections of the devotee do not matter; even a monkey can reach God. Hanuman was an epitome of total devotion, and could not only reach God, he could have an intimate relationship with him. The relationship Hanuman chose to adopt was that of a faithful and dependable servant (dasya bhava). However, a devotee may choose to behave like a child or a friend to God. Perfect devotees have adopted all these and other relationships with God, and succeeded in reaching him. Guru Nanak, Mira Bai, Tulsi Das, Sur Das, Sri Ramakrishna, or Maharshi Raman not only reached God but also learnt everything about Him through sheer devotion, although they were not great scholars in the worldly sense. Although devotion is a simple approach because it is within the reach of all, it is not easy. Ego is the greatest obstacle in the path of devotion. Ego makes it difficult to surrender completely to God, which is the one essential prerequisite for devotion.
God, or Brahman, is both manifest (with a name and form) and unmanifest (without name and form). The two are one, but due to human limitations, it is easier to relate to God with a form, preferably a human form. For this reason, a person may develop devotion towards the idol or image of an avatar like Rama or Krishna, or a god or a goddess, or a guru. These differences do not really matter, because God is one, and He is everywhere, and resides in everything, animate and inanimate.