From Worship to Discipleship

March 18, 2013 Comments Off on From Worship to Discipleship

Man prefers to think of God with form. He considers God to be of a personal nature. And he starts worshipping. The worship goes on. However, at one stage, he starts questioning the very object of the worship – ‘I am worshipping Goddess, Kali, but actually my worship is offered to the idol. Is it only the idol made of granite block, or is there any power or presence called Kali which evidently should not, or will not, become merely this stone’. Now, this kind of seeking has to come to a true worshipper. He should examine his own attitude. “Why should I express my gratitude or humility to the Creator or Almighty?” So, the worship, when properly performed, should make him more and more deep and intense. And an enquiry into the worshipped and what the worship ultimately bestows upon the worshiper should arise.

When these questions come up, the object of the worship – the mute idol – is not certainly going to answer the devotee. At that time he has to outlive worship of the invisible in the form of a visible medium. That is the time – either directed by somebody or directed by the scriptures or even by a suggestion that he gets in his own mind by a dream or by a reasoning – he finds his access to a teacher or Sadguru.

Once he goes there, the worship of the Guru is the primary step. He pleases the Guru by virtue of his aaraadhana. The next step to follow is pariprasna – he has to place before his Guru whatever enquiries he wants to make or the doubts he has. He must seek answers and guidance from the Guru. The first is the preparatory ground. The next is the most crucial one. Here, the Guru and the sishya will start interacting in a very close relationship.

If it is done properly, it becomes a soul-level relationship. If he is able to find in the Guru a soul-mate and if the Guru also finds in the sishya a soul-mate, then, as both start sharing each other, the disciple begins to imbibe from the Guru the qualities essential for the realization of the Truth. Doubts will be cleared. Emotions will be expressed. Suspicions will be set at rest. Fears will be removed. Curiosity will be answered and clarity and enlightenment will be had. There will be a lot of sharing and exchange. Peace will be felt by proximity, and inner personality will grow to a level of enlightenment, fulfillment and fruition. Now, this may take time. Not all people will have it the next day.

There is no doubt that Guru will have to be available to the sishya to interact closely. And the purpose of the interaction should be to open oneself up completely without reservation and to imbibe whatever is given without any resistance and grow towards fulfillment. In the mind level the association will generate nobler emotions, more and more peace and sublimity. In the intelligence level it will generate and arouse more and more knowledge and enlightenment. And in the sensory level it will bring about moderation, more of purity and sublimation. An integrated growth of the personality should take place. A close interaction, imbibing, expressing, sharing and further imbibing and thereby transforming oneself – is the process. This is the benefit of going to a Sadguru. A Sadguru alone can bring about these transformations.

– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

[This is an excerpt from the Oct 2000 issue of the monthly journal Vicharasethu.]

(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012

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