Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Our Worship is Incomplete
Our Worship is Incomplete
During the course of a spiritual discussion, a friend remarked - “I regularly recite a few mantras from the ’Guru Geeta’ daily as my spiritual practice and worship.”
Now it is a good thing to read the ‘Guru Geeta’, because it increases the feeling of reverence for the Guru and makes it easier to grasp the fundamentals of the knowledge imparted by Him. But to do only this in the name of spiritual practice or worship is not enough. A mere recital remains just another activity done during the course of the day. We, however, need to imbibe the divine wisdom implicit in the text we are reading.
The essence of spirituality is in the grace of the Guru alone. It is the Guru’s grace which has the ability to take a disciple to the very gates of ‘moksha’- liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Lord Shankar is, in fact, pointing towards this greatness of the Guru, in the following mantra from ‘Guru Gita’:
ध्यान मूलं गुरूर्मूर्तिः पूजा मूलं गुरोः पदम्|
मंत्र मूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मोक्ष मूलं गुरोः कृपा||
It means that the Guru’s gracious image only is the heart of meditation; His lotus feet only are at the core of all worship; sentences spoken by Him only are the crux of all mantras; and His grace alone is the essence of moksha.
The above verse is the ‘mahamantra’ (great directive) for a reverential prayer to the Guru. The message expressed in it is not merely for recitation but is to be imbibed deep in our hearts. This mahamantra will have proved its efficacy when this sentiment for our most revered divine Guru, become firm in our hearts and takes roots in our consciousness.
To soak one’s mind and soul with the Guru’s divine spiritual consciousness, it is essential to become a deserving disciple and to have unswerving dedication towards Him. The Guru is not just a body. He is an infinite ocean of spiritual energy. Even though He resides in a body, He is not attached to the body. To have the conviction of surrender towards such a Guru, to remain in His guardianship and to sincerely follow the path shown by Him is the foremost duty of the disciple. It is not enough to just recite some mantras.
Maharshi Sadafaldeo Ji Maharaj writes in the Swarveda:-
सत्य ज्ञान सत्य धर्म सब, सद्गुरु आश्रित होय|
ज्यों समुद्र नदियें मिलें, ब्रह्म ज्ञान गुण सोय||
It means that all truth, knowledge and righteousness depend on the Sadguru; just like the rivers depending upon the sea. It is through the Sadguru that truth, knowledge and righteousness are revealed beyond any doubt. The Sadguru naturally possesses several divine powers, all knowledge and sciences, riches and luxuries, courage and valour, brilliance and effervescence. The disciple immensely benefits by surrendering before such an endowed Sadguru.
The humble, completely surrendered disciple, overflowing with a feeling of love and respect for the Sadguru’s instructions, attains ultimate peace and bliss.
In the Swarveda, Swamiji describes the above state as:-
सद्गुरु नियमन धीरवर, शांत दृढ आसीन|
प्रेम विरह अनुराग रत, आरत दीन अधीन||
Regular reading of spiritual literature and chanting of mantras can definitely help in the purification of human mind, but worship should not end there. One should progress with regular meditation, under the guidance of the Sadguru. The process of worship is incomplete without His meditation.
Knowingly or unknowingly, we are conditioned from childhood to follow certain rituals. And as we grow up we start believing them to be worship. In the preliminary stages of worship, this is natural, but if this continues even after we have been fortunate to get the platform of knowledge of the Sadguru, then it is not appropriate to make do with mere external rituals. It is essential to embrace the practice of meditation for spiritual development.
It is also not appropriate to find lame excuses for not keeping up with the practical meditation process and blaming the Guru. It is essential to sit in meditation for the prescribed time period, according to the instructions given during initiation; only then will the Sadguru shower his benevolence upon us. It can be complemented by service and satsang sessions. In this context, Swamiji says in the Swarved:-
सेवा सद्गुरु हरि भजन, अरु सत्संग विचार|
यह संयम नित कीजिये, तीन सार संसार||
Sadguru’s service, meditation and satsang (Spiritual discourse) are the three most important things for the seeker. Practicing all three is important as one complements the other. What is also required is the purity of mind, purity of deeds, controlled speech and utmost devotion towards the Sadguru. If we move ahead on the path of meditation with these qualifies, we’ll not only achieve the spiritual success but these good qualities will also grow further.
We need to be vigilant in that we not only talk big, but also walk the talk; else our vision would become like that of the eagle, which soars to great heights, but remains fixated on the dead rat on the ground. It is ironical to talk big and yet to live life in a lowly, despicable way.
Regular meditation definitely starts reflecting in our attitude and in our behaviour. A true seeker can never stoop to low levels. Our spiritual attainments clearly reflect in our behaviour.
To sum up, mantra chanting, reading of spiritual literature, prayers etc. are good in the initial phases of spirituality and worship, as they help in purifying the mind and in promoting the feeling of love and devotion. However, it is also essential to supplement it with the actual practice of meditation. Service, Meditation, and Satsang (Spiritual Discourse, the company of truth) are the three pillars of success for the true seeker, which help him balance in the journey of spirituality.
Adapted from an editorial in the June 2005 edition of Sahaj Yog Sandesh; the author of the original Hindi version is Mr Sukhnandan Singh ‘Saday’.