Vandana consists in bowing down to God in His images in a devotional attitude. This simple act of prostration can be made a meaningful spiritual exercise by looking upon it as an act of self-renewal. When a devotee prostrates before God, he imagines that he offers his body, mind, and soul to God, Who abides in his heart as the Light of all lights. (Bhagavad Gita, 13.17) He immerses himself as it were in that Light and cultivates a luminous self-image, imagining that he is a spark of that divine Light. Vandana enables a devotee to subordinate his ego to God and feel that God is everything and that he himself is nothing without Him. Says Sri Ramakrishna, "The universe and its created beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles, all exist because God exists. Nothing remains if God is eliminated. The number increases if you put many zeros after the figure one; but the zeros don't have any value if the one is not there." Vandana enables a devotee to cultivate a natural humility without a touch of ego in his interaction with others.
When the earlier forms of devotion have attained perfection in a devotee, this and the next two forms of devotion manifest in him. These forms of devotion refer to a stage of advanced devotion and are different from devotion based on regulations (vaidhi-bhakti).
Devotional schools speak of different relationships that a devotee can cultivate toward God.
Arjuna is an example of this kind of devotion to Sri Krishna. The south Indian saint by name Sundaramurthy Nayanar is another shining example of this form of devotion. He looked upon Lord Shiva as his closest friend, and the Lord too responded to him accordingly and fulfilled his wishes.
This is the culmination of all devotional practices. The devotee is immersed in God-consciousness, and God fills his whole being. Sri Krishna speaks of such a God-intoxicated devotee when he promises in the Gita (9.22): "Those who worship Me without any other thought and are ever devoted to Me-to them I carry what they lack and for them I preserve what they already have."