Knowledge-austerity

March 26, 2013 Comments Off on Knowledge-austerity

Life is experiential. Spirituality and its pursuit must also have their experiential testimony. How long can one go on worshipping a Deity, which is either mute like an Idol or distant like the gods extolled in Vedas and Puraanaas? Our devotion and its goal have to be clear, concise, direct and reachable within this lifetime itself. No sane person can believe that the outcome of his religious or devotional pursuit will follow, after his body falls. For, that would entail indefiniteness or oblivion.

As hunger is appeased by food, thirst quenched by water, devotional and spiritual yearning has to be met and fulfilled by a direct, experiential outcome here and now. It is very much possible. But, how and when? This is the cardinal question before the devout spiritual seeker and student.

The real Shiva is the Self in one’s own being. Without understanding and being guided by this fact, those who indulge in idol worship, disregarding the presence of the Supreme in themselves, are immature like children playing with their dolls – the Lord says. For the children, their dolls are alive, active and interactive. The elderly people, however, know clearly that it is the child’s imagination that works in his interaction and the resultant interest and joy. The same is the case with devotees indulging in idol worship.

Worship is an act of the worshipper. The mind, attitude and aim of the worshipper alone count in determining the effectiveness of the worship. Like exercise acting upon the exerciser, devotion acts upon the devotee himself, directly. To ascribe the outcome of devotional performances to an external, distant, invisible entity is not at all correct. It calls for sufficient introspection and correction.

The Self, which is nothing but the Divine Lord, Shiva, is the supreme Source and Cause of the whole creation. It produces three inner states, and these are the ones in and through which life revolves continuously. Every day one wakes up; till then he was asleep. Sometimes, from sleep he drifts into dream, from which he wakes up, to sleep again, and then to come back again to wakefulness. In wakefulness alone, the external, gross world is perceived and interacted with. Rather than being independent, existing by itself, the world-perception is a creation of one’s own wakefulness. Every one wakes up by himself. His wakefulness is what projects the world for his perception. In all the three states, he alone is real and true.

To worship Lord Shiva, who is but the Inner Self, the flowers needed are thoughts and introspections. That is how knowledge-saadhanaa or knowledge-austerity becomes supreme.  – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[An extract from Poojya Swamiji’s series of articles titled ‘Science of Inner Redemption’, published in the Ashram’s Monthly Journal “Vicharasethu – The Path of Introspection”.]
(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012

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