Worship

Posted: 28/06/2013 in Routine

The Gods, led by the spirit, honor faith in their worship. Faith is composed of the heart’s intention. Light comes through faith. Through faith men come to prayer, faith in the morning, faith at noon and at the setting of the sun. O faith, give us faith!

Faith

Faith, astikya, is the fourth niyama. Faith is a substance, a collection of molecules, mind molecules, emotion molecules — and some are even physical — collected together, charged with the energies of the Divine and the anxieties of the undivine, made into an astral form of shape, color and sound. Being a creation built up over time, faith can just as readily be destroyed, as the following phrases indicate: crisis of faith, loss of faith, dark night of the soul, and just plain confused disappointment leading to depression. Because of faith, groups of people are drawn together, cling together, remain together, intermarry and give birth, raising their children together in the substance of faith that their collective group is subconsciously committed to uphold.

Anyone can strengthen another’s faith through encouragement, personal example, good natured humoring, praise, flattery, adulation, or take it away by the opposite methods. Many people with more faith than intellect are pawns in the hands of those who hold great faith, or of those who have little faith, or of those who have no faith at all. Therefore, we can see that a clear intellectual understanding of the philosophy is the bedrock to sustaining faith. Faith is on many levels and of many facets. We have faith in a person, a family, a system of government, science, astronomy, astrology. Faith in philosophy, religion, is the most tenuous and delicate kind and, we must say, the most rewarding of all faiths, because once it is sustained in unbroken continuity, the pure soul of the individual begins to shine forth.

Faith has eyes. It has three eyes. The seer who is looking at the world from the perspective of monistic Saiva Siddhanta and sees clearly the final conclusions for all mankind has faith in his perception, because what he sees and has seen becomes stronger in his mind as the years go by. We have the faith of those who have two eyes upraised. They look at the seer as Dakshinamurti, God Himself, and gain strength from His every word. There is also the faith of those who have two eyes lowered. They are reading the scriptures, the teachings of all the seers, and building the aura of faith within their inner psyche. Then there are those who have faith with their eyes closed, blind faith. They know not, read not and are not thinking, but are entranced by the spiritual leader in whom they have faith as a personality. They are nodding their head up and down on his every word and when questioned are not able to adequately explain even one or two of his profound thoughts.

And then we have the others, who make up much of the world population today. They are also with eyes closed, but with heads down, shaking left and right, left and right. They see mostly the darker side of life. They are those who have no faith at all or suffer a semi-permanent loss of faith, who are disappointed in people, governments, systems, philosophies, religions. Their leaders they condemn. This is a sorry lot. Their home is the halls of depression, discouragement and confusion. Their upliftment is jealousy and anger.

Faith Is on Many Levels

Faith extends to another level, too, of pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Here we have the jet-set, the hedonists, the sensualists, the pornographers and their customers. All these groups have developed their own individual mindset and mix and interrelate among themselves, as the astral molecules of this amorphous substance of thought, emotion and belief that we call faith creates their attitudes toward the world, other people and their possessions.

The Hindu, therefore, is admonished by the sapta rishis themselves to believe firmly in God, Gods, guru and the path to enlightenment, lest he stray from the path of dharma — for faith is a powerful force. It can be given; it can be taken away. It is a national force, a community force, a group force, a family force. And it is more than that, as far as the Sanatana Dharma is concerned, which can be translated as the “eternal faith,” the most strengthening and illuminating of all, for it gives courage to all to apply these twenty yamas and niyamas, which represent the final conclusions of the deepest deliverers of eternal wisdom who ever resided on this planet.

Some people have faith only when things are going right and lose faith when things go wrong. These are the ones who are looking up at their leaders, whom they really do not know, who are looking up at the scriptures, which they really do not understand. Because their eyes are closed, they are seeking to be sustained and constantly uplifted by others. “Do my sadhana for me” is their plea. And when some inconsistency arises or some expectation, unbeknownst to their leader and maybe never even recorded in the scriptures, does not manifest, a crisis of faith occurs. Then, more than often, they are off to another leader, another philosophy, to inevitably repeat the same experience. Devotees of this kind, who are called “groupies” in rock and roll, go from group to group, teacher to teacher, philosophy to philosophy. Fortunately for them, the rent is not expensive, the bhajanas are long and the food is good. The only embarrassing situation, which has to be manipulated, is the tactic of leaving one group without totally closing the door, and manipulatively opening the door of another group.

When that uplifted face with eyes closed has the spiritual experience of the eyes opening, the third eye flashing, he or she would have then found at last his or her sampradaya, traditional lineage of verbal teaching, and now be on the unshakable path. The molecules of faith have been converted and secured. They shall never turn back, because they have seen through the third eye the beginning and ending of the path, the traditional lineage ordained to carry them forth generation after generation. These souls become the articulate ones, masters of the philosophy. Their faith is so strong, they can share their molecules with others and mold others’ faith molecules into traditional standards of the whys and wherefores that we all need on this planet, of how we should believe and think, where we go when we die, and all the eternal truths of the ultimate attainments of mankind.

Stages of Evolution

Faith is the intellect of the soul at its various stages of unfoldment. The soul comes forth from Lord Siva as an embryo and progresses through three stages (avastha) of existence: kevala avastha, sakala avastha and shuddha avastha. During kevala avastha, the soul is likened to a seed hidden in the ground or a spark of the Divine hidden in a cloud of unknowing called anava, the primal fetter of individuality, the first aspect of Lord Siva’s concealing grace, tirodhana shakti. Sakala avastha, the next stage in the soul’s journey, is the period of bodily existence, the cyclic evolution through transmigration from body to body, under the additional powers of maya and karma, the second and third aspects of the Lord’s concealing grace.

The journey through sakala avastha is also in three stages. The first is called irul pada, “stage of darkness,” where the soul’s impetus is toward pasha-jnanam, knowledge and experience of the world. The next period is marul pada, “stage of confusion,” where the soul begins to take account of its situation and finds itself caught between the world and God, not knowing which way to turn. This is called pashu-jnanam, the soul seeking to know its true nature. The last period is arul pada, “stage of grace,” when the soul yearns for the grace of God. Now it has begun its true religious evolution with the constant aid of the Lord.

For the soul in darkness, irul, faith is primitive, illogical. In its childlike endeavors it clings to this faith. There is no intellect present in this young soul, only primitive faith and instinctive mind and body. But it is this faith in the unseen, the unknown, the words of the elders and its ability to adjust to community without ruffling everyone’s feathers that matures the soul to the next pada — marul, wherein faith becomes faith in oneself, close friends and associates, faith in one’s intellectual remembrance of the opinions of others, even if they are wrong.

It is not very quickly that the soul gets out of this syndrome, because it is here that the karmas are made that bind the soul, surround the soul, the karmas of ignorance which must be gone through for the wisdom to emerge. Someone who is wise got that way by facing up to all the increments of ignorance. The marul pada is very binding and tenacious, tenaciously binding. But as the external shell of anava is being built, the soul exercises itself in its own endeavor to break through. Its “still small voice” falls on deaf ears.

Yoga brings the soul into its next experiential pattern. The soul comes to find that if he performs good and virtuous deeds, life always seems to take a positive turn. Whereas in negative, unvirtuous acts he slowly becomes lost in a foreboding abyss of confusion. Thus, in faith, he turns toward the good and holy. A balance emerges in his life, called iruvinaioppu.

Whether he is conscious of it or not, he is bringing the three malas — anava, karma and maya — under control. Maya is less and less an enchanting temptress. Karma no longer controls his state of mind, tormenting him through battering experiences. And anava, his self-centered nature, is easing its hold, allowing him to feel a more universal compassion in life. This grows into a state called malaparipakam, the ripening of the malas.

This will allow, at the right moment in his life, arul to set in. This is known as the descent of grace, shaktinipata. The internal descent is recognized as a tremendous yearning for Siva. More and more, he wants to devote himself to all that is spiritual and holy. The outer descent of grace is the appearance of a satguru. There is no question as to who he is, for he sheds the same clear, spiritual vibration as that unknown something the soul feels emanating from his deepest self. It is when the soul has reached malaparipakam that the Lord’s tirodhana function, His concealing grace, has accomplished its work and gives way to anugraha, revealing grace, and the descent of grace, shaktinipata, occurs.

At this stage, knowledge comes unbidden. Insights into human affairs are mere readings of past experiences, for those experiences that are being explained to others were actually lived through by the person himself. This is no mystery. It is the threshold of shuddha avastha. Lord Siva is at the top, Lord Ganesha is at the bottom, and Lord Murugan is in the heart of it, in the center.

Faith in Tradition

The intellect in its capacity to contain truth is a very limited tool, while faith is a very broad, accommodating and embracing faculty. The mystery of life and beyond life, of Siva, is really better understood through faith than through intellectual reasoning. The intellect is a memory/reason conglomerate from the lower nadi/chakra complex. Its refined ability to juggle information around is uncanny in some instances. Nevertheless, the intellect is built upon what we hear and remember, what we experience and remember, what we explain to others who are refined or gross in reasoning faculties. What we remember of it all and the portions that have been forgotten may be greatly beneficial to those listening, or it may be confusing, but it is certainly not Truth with a capital “T.”

There are two kinds of faith. The first kind is faith in those masters, adepts, yogis and rishis who have had similar experiences and have spoken about them in similar ways, unedited by the ignorant. We, therefore, can have faith that some Truth was revealed from within themselves, from some deep, inner or higher source. The second aspect of faith is in one’s own spiritual, unsought-for, unbidden flashes of intuition, revelations or visions, which one remembers even stronger as the months go by, more vividly than something read from a book, seen on television or heard from a friend or a philosopher. These personal revelations create a new, superconscious intellect when verified by what yogis and rishis and the sadhus have seen and heard and whose explanations centuries have preserved. These are the old souls of the shuddha avastha, being educated from within out, building a new intellect from superconscious insights. Their faith is unshakable, undaunted, for it is themself. It is just who they are at this stage of the evolution, the maturation, of their soul in the shuddha avastha.

One of the aspects of faith is the acceptance of tradition rather than the questioning or doubting of traditions. Another is trust in the process of spiritual unfoldment, so that when one is going through an experience, one always believes that the process is happening, instead of thinking that today’s negative experience is outside the process. However, it is not possible for souls in the irul pada, stage of darkness, to trust in the process of anything except their need for food, a few bodily comforts and their gaining the abilities to adjust transparently into a community without committing too many crimes for which they would be severely punished. They gain their lessons through the action-and-painful-reaction ways.

It is difficult and nearly impossible for those in the marul pada, stage of confusion, to have faith in the process of spiritual unfoldment and trust in tradition, because they are developing their personal ego, manufacturing karmas, good, bad and mixed, to sustain their physical existence for hundreds of lives. They will listen to sermons with a deaf ear and, after they are over, enjoy the food and the idle chatter the most. They will read books on philosophy and rationalize their teachings as relevant only to the past. The great knowledge of the past tradition, even the wisdom their grandparents might hold, is an encroachment on their proud sovereignty.

It is only when the soul reaches the maturity to enter the arul pada, the stage of grace, that the ability will come from within to lean on the past and on tradition, perform the present sadhanas, live within dharma and carve a future for themselves and others by bringing the best of the past, which is tradition, forward into the future. This transition is a happy one. Truth now has a capital “T” and is always told. The restraints, the yamas, truly have been perfected and are a vital part of the DNA system of individual living beings. Now, as he enters the arul pada, the niyamas, spiritual practices, stand out strongly in his mind.

The Sanskrit word astikya means “that which is,” or “that which exists.” Thus, for Hindus faith means believing in what is. Astikya refers to one who believes in what is, one who is pious and faithful. We can see that these two words, faith and astikya, are similar in nature. Faith is the spiritual-intellectual mind, developed through many superconscious insights blended together through cognition, not through reason. The insights do not have to be remembered, because they are firmly impressed as samskaras within the inner mind.

There is an old saying favored by practical, experiential intellectuals, “Seeing is believing.” A more profound adage is “Believing is seeing.” The scientists and the educators of today live in the marul pada. They see with their two eyes and pass judgments based on what they currently believe. The rishis of the past and the rishis of the now and those yet to come in the future also are seers. There is a thin thread through the history of China, Japan, India, England and all of Europe, Africa, the Americas, Polynesia and all the countries of the world connecting seers and what they have seen. This seeing is not with the two eyes. It is with the third eye, the eye of the soul. One cannot erase through argument or coercion that which has been seen. The seer relates his seeing to the soul of the one who hears. This is sampradaya. This is guru-shishya transference. This is Truth. This is shuddha. This is the end of this upadesha.

Worship

Worship, Ishvarapujana, is the fifth niyama. Let us declare, in the last analysis, that human life is either worship or warship, higher nature or lower nature. We need say no more. But we will. The brief explanation for Ishvarapujana is to cultivate devotion through daily worship and meditation. The soul’s evolution from its conception is based solely on Ishvarapujana, the return to the source. In the irul pada, the stage of darkness, its return to the source is more imminent than actual. The burning desire is there, driven by the instinctive feelings and emotions of living within the seven chakras below the muladhara. There is a natural seeking on the way up. People here will worship almost anything to get out of this predicament. Bound in blind faith, with the absence of a coherent intellect guided by reason, and the absence of a matured intellect developed by superconscious experience, they struggle out of their shell of ignorance, through worship, to a better life. The small thread of intuition keeps assuring them it is there, within their reach if they but strive. They call God, they fear God, seek to be close to Him and see Him as oh-so-far away.

When they are matured and stepping into adolescence in the marul pada, where confusion prevails, worship and the trappings and traditions that go with it seem to be primitive, unreasonable and can all well be dispensed with. It is here that a young lady looks into the mirror and says, “What a fine person! I am more beautiful than all the other girls I know.” A young man may likewise be conceited about his looks or physique. Worship still exists, but is tied closely to narcissism. It is only in the stage of grace, arul, and on its doorstep that true worship arises, which is invoking and opening up to the great beings, God, Gods and devas, in order to commune with them.

Faith, astikya, creates the attitudes for the action of worship. We can see that from the soul’s conception to its fullness of maturity into the final merger with God Siva Himself, worship, communication, looking up, blending with, is truly monistic Saiva Siddhanta, the final conclusions for all mankind. We can conclude that in Sanatana Dharma faith is in What Is, and in the Abrahamic religions faith is in What Is Yet to Be.

Worship could be defined as communication on a very high level: a truly sophisticated form of “channeling,” as New-Age people might say; clairvoyant or clairaudient experience, as mystics would describe it; or heart-felt love interchanged between Deity and devotee, as the ordinary person would describe it. Worship for the Hindu is on many levels and of many kinds. In the home, children worship their father and mother as God and Goddess because they love them. The husband worships his wife as a Goddess. The wife worships her husband as a God. In the shrine room, the entire family together worships images of Gods, Goddesses and saints, beseeching them as their dear friends. The family goes to the temple daily, or at least once a week, attends seasonal festivals and takes a far-off pilgrimage once a year. Worship is the binding force that keeps the Hindu family together. On a deeper level, external worship is internalized, worshiping God within through meditation and contemplation. This form of worship leads into yoga and profound mystical experiences.

Rites of Worship

Many people are afraid to do puja, specific, traditional rites of worship, because they feel they don’t have enough training or don’t understand the mystical principles behind it well enough. To this concern I would say that the priesthood in Hinduism is sincere, devout and dedicated. Most Hindus depend on the priests to perform the pujas and sacraments for them, or to train them to perform home puja and give them permission to do so through initiation, called diksha. However, simple pujas may be performed by anyone wishing to invoke grace from God, Mahadevas and devas.

Love and dedication and the outpouring from the highest chakras of spiritual energies of the lay devotee are often greater than any professional priest could summon within himself. Devotees of this caliber have come up in Hindu society throughout the ages with natural powers to invoke the Gods and manifest in the lives of temple devotees many wondrous miracles.

There is also an informal order of priests called pandara, which is essentially the self-appointed priest who is accepted by the community to perform pujas at a sacred tree, a simple shrine or an abandoned temple. He may start with the mantra Aum and learn a few more mantras as he goes along. His efficaciousness can equal that of the most advanced Sanskrit shastri, performing in the grandest temple. Mothers, daughters, aunts, fathers, sons, uncles, all may perform puja within their own home, and do, as the Hindu home is considered to be nothing less than an extension of the nearby temple. In the Hindu religion, unlike the Western religions, there is no one who stands between man and God.

Years ago, in the late 1950S, I taught beginning seekers how to offer the minimal, simplest form of puja at a simple altar with fresh water, flowers, a small candle, incense, a bell and a stone. This brings together the four elements, earth, air, fire and water — and your own mind is akasha, the fifth element. The liturgy is simply chanting “Aum.” This is the generic puja which anyone can do before proper initiation comes from the right sources. People of any religion can perform Hindu puja in this way.

All Hindus have guardian devas who live on the astral plane and guide, guard and protect their lives. The great Mahadevas in the temple that the devotees frequent send their deva ambassadors into the homes to live with the devotees. A room is set aside for these permanent unseen guests, a room that the whole family can enter and sit in and commune inwardly with these refined beings who are dedicated to protecting the family generation after generation. Some of them are their own ancestors. A token shrine in a bedroom or a closet or a niche in a kitchen is not enough to attract these Divinities. One would not host an honored guest in one’s closet or have him or her sleep in the kitchen and expect the guest to feel welcome, appreciated, loved. All Hindus are taught from childhood that the guest is God, and they treat any guest royally who comes to visit. Hindus also treat God as God and devas as Gods when they come to live permanently in the home.

But liberal sects of Hinduism teach that God and devas are only figments of one’s imagination. These sects are responsible for producing a more materialistic and superficial group of followers. Not so the deep, mystical Hindu, who dedicates his home to God and sets a room aside for God. To him and the family, they are moving into God’s house and living with God. Materialistic, superficial Hindus feel that God might be living, sometimes, maybe, in their house. Their homes are fraught with confusion, deceptive dealings, back-biting, anger, even rage, and their marriages nowadays often end in divorce.

They and all those who live in the lower nature are restricted from performing puja, because when and if they do puja, the invocation calls up the demons rather than calling down the devas. The asuric beings invoked into the home by angry people, and into the temple by angry priests, or by contentious, argumentative, sometimes rageful boards of directors, take great satisfaction in creating more confusion and escalating simple misunderstandings into arguments leading to angry words, hurt feelings and more. With this in mind, once anger is experienced, thirty-one days should pass to close the door on the chakras below the muladhara before puja may again be performed by that individual. Simple waving of incense before the icons is permissible, but not the passing of flames, ringing of bells or the chanting of any mantra, other than the simple recitation of Aum.

Living in God’s Home

The ideal of Ishvarapujana, worship, is to always be living with God, living with Siva, in God’s house, which is also your house, and regularly going to God’s temple. This lays the foundation for finding God within. How can someone find God within if he doesn’t live in God’s house as a companion to God in his daily life? The answer is obvious. It would only be a theoretical pretense, based mainly on egoism. If one really believes that God is in his house, what kinds of attitudes does this create? First of all, since family life is based around food, the family would feed God in His own room at least three times a day, place the food lovingly before His picture, leave, close the door and let God and His devas eat in peace. God and the devas do enjoy the food, but they do so by absorbing the pranas, the energies, of the food. When the meal is over, and after the family has eaten, God’s plates are picked up, too. What is left on God’s plate is eaten as prasada, as a blessing. God should be served as much as the hungriest member of the family, not just a token amount. Of course, God, Gods and the devas do not always remain in the shrine room. They wander freely throughout the house, listening to and observing the entire family, guests and friends. Since the family is living in God’s house, and God is not living in their house, the voice of God is easily heard as their conscience.

When we are living in God’s house, it is easy to see God as pure energy and life within every living form, the trees, the flowers, the plants, the fire, the Earth, humans, animals and all creatures. When we see this life, which is manifest most in living beings, we are seeing God Siva. Many families are too selfish to set aside a room for God. Though they have their personal libraries, rumpus rooms, two living rooms, multiple bedrooms, their superficial religion borders on a new Indian religion. Their shrine is a closet, or pictures of God and Goddesses on the vanity mirror of their dressing table. The results of such worship are nil, and their life reflects the chaos that we see in the world today.

The psychology and the decision and the religion is, “Do we live with God, or does God occasionally visit us?” Who is the authority in the home, an unreligious, ignorant, domineering elder? Or is it God Siva Himself, or Lord Murugan or Lord Ganesha, whom the entire family, including elders, bow down to because they have resigned themselves to the fact that they are living in the ashrama of Mahadevas? This is religion. This is Ishvarapujana.

It is often said that worship is not only a performance at a certain time of day in a certain place, but a state of being in which every act, morning to night, is done in Siva consciousness, in which life becomes an offering to God. Then we can begin to see Siva in everyone we meet. When we try, just try — and we don’t have to be successful all the time — to separate the life of the individual from his personality, immediately we are in higher consciousness and can reflect contentment and faith, compassion, steadfastness and all the higher qualities, which is sometimes not possible to do if we are only looking at the external person. This practice, of Ishvarapujana sadhana, can be performed all through the day and even in one’s dreams at night.

Meditation, too, in the Hindu way is based on worship. It is true that Hindus do teach meditation techniques to those who have Western backgrounds as a mind-manipulative experience. However, a Hindu adept, rishi or jnani, even an experienced elder, knows that meditation is a natural outgrowth of the charya, kriya and yoga paths. It is based on a religious foundation, as trigonometry is based on geometry, algebra and arithmetic.

If you are worshiping properly, if you take worship to its pinnacle, you are in perfect meditation. We have seen many devotees going through the form of worship with no communication with the God they are worshiping or even the stone that the God uses as a temporary body. They don’t even have a smile on their face. They are going through the motions because they have been taught that meditation is the ultimate, and worship can be dispensed with after a certain time. Small wonder that when they are in meditation, their minds are confused and subconscious overloads harass them. Breathing is irregular, and if made regular has to be forced. Their materialistic outlook on life — of seeing God everywhere, yet not in those places they rationalize God can never possibly be — contradicts their professed dedication to the Hindu way of life.

Yes, truly, worship unreservedly. Perfect this. Then, after initiation, internalize that worship through yoga practices given by a satguru. Through that same internal worship, unreservedly, you will eventually attain the highest goal. These are the Saiva Siddhanta conclusions of the seven rishis who live within the sahasrara chakra of all souls.

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Comments
  1. daphney says:

    wow !!

  2. gabriel says:

    Very useful info. Hope to see more posts soon!

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