What is True Worship?

October 23, 2013 Comments Off on What is True Worship?

Vedic traditions are even today, inseparable from our culture and ethos. Added to this is the paramount religious faith, embracing a variety of gods, idols, other symbols and practices. The fields and kinds of worship are thus to a very large extent ritualistic and ceremonial on the one hand and extremely pious and devotional on the other. Hence, it is impossible to think of our cultural fabric devoid of this age-old warp and woof.

It is in such a background that Sage Vasistha tenaciously leads us through the dialogue Lord Shiva had with him, making us see the utter irrelevance of worship of external symbols by elaborate rituals and ceremonies. He tells us very firmly and succinctly that the supreme Lord, namely the supreme Truth is Consciousness, which is the Impersonal and absolute Presence animating our body as well as other forms of existence. All ideas like forms and gross appearance about the Supreme Lord are to be eschewed.

In spite of long years of worship, most of the worshippers do not evolve in knowledge. As a result, they are deprived of the possibility and opportunity of delving into their own mind, to discover its intricacies, straighten up the constrictions and remove the impurities. If, on the other hand, they were under the guidance of the Wise, who could expose the truth of the mind, devotion, and spiritual illumination, the story would be greatly different. What is needed at any time for a pious mind is to know about the meaning and purpose of devotion and devotional pursuits, the right focus to be fostered throughout, and the best way these could be directed and strengthened.

Right understanding, abiding equalness, and desire-freeness are the choice flowers the Sentient Lord relishes most. Know that divine worship of the supreme Lord, the inmost Self, consists in offering tender flowers of desirelessness, right awareness and enlightenment. Worship of visible forms with material items is no worship at all! “Neglecting the Self, which is but the sentience abiding in oneself, those who take to idol worship, remaining attached to its artificial and ostentatious details, are bound to undergo long-lasting misery.”
– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha (Excerpt from the book “Worshipping the Lord Within” by Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha) (c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012

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