OHM NAMO BHAGAVATHE VASUDEVAYA:
WHY WE WORSHIP GOD AND WHAT IF NOT ?
M P R Nair.
Principle of God or Iswara Tatvam:
We worship God because we have Bhakthi or love towards God. Bhakthi really means remembering always God. ‘Swaswaroopa sathanam Bhakthi.’, meaning discovery of one’s own soul (atma swaroopa) is Bhakthi. All the other rituals are only the ways and means to reach that goal. The realization of God in oneself is Jnana. It requires ‘Vairagya’, hesitation towards excessive worldly pleasures. Realization of Brahman or Self-realization, requires Bhakthi, Jnanam and Vairagyam.
‘Sadhakas’ by repeated ‘Sadhanas’, like repetition of God’s name and constant prayers with austerities in all its sacredness and sanctity, become ‘Sidhas’. At that stage, God becomes the same as man. But, it is not an easy task to become a Sidha.
Isavasya Upanishad says:
“Om Isavasyamidam sarvam yatkiñca jagatyam jagat |
tena tyaktena bhuñjitha ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam..”…., meaning:
Isam (the One God) is present (inhabits) here everywhere; the entire universe is covered by the Supreme Being; live a happy life in this world, enjoy your existence; and do not suffer.
“Ulppathimcha vinasham cha , bhoothanam agathim gathim
vethividyam avidyam cha savachyo Bhagavan ithi”
It is another definition of God.
“ Thathathvameesvara: sakshath paramathmethi geeyathe
Thadeva jeevasamjnamsyath samkhaathopadhi samyutham”
meaning, the principle of God is that, it is the Absolute Truth which is non dual, Unique and Indivisible (Ekam and Aparischinnam). It is ‘Paramathma’ or Iswara or Sat-Chit-Ananda. The same exists in various forms and names in different living beings.
aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva ṣannāḥ bhaga itīṇganā”, meaning-
strength (Potency); fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty, detachment. Ithi shannan iva Bhagavan
Sruthi, refers to God as ‘Brahmam’; Smrthi, as ‘Paramathma’ and Puranas, as ‘Bhagavan’. They are all the same; the great ocean of boundless mercy and grace. God alone is the Reality. HE flourishes ubiquitously. His Power is quite unlimited and there is no other power in the world to control it. In no time it can access the peak of the highest mountain and the depth of the deepest sea and cause explosion there. No one can predict its actions. Only a very small fraction of His power is given to us, the whole living beings. As His creations, we owe him worship to replenish His power. Love leads the Devotees to God. He is Transcendent, Immanent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. HE is not an object; HE is the Subject, the only one subject. Our Sanathana Dharma teaches us that there is Divinity in anything and everything. Worshipping God through Bhakthimargam is proved to be easier than Karmamargam and Jnanamargam. The saying goes that ‘Manthramoolam gurorvakyam..’, and hence a S`at-Guru can help facilitate Self-Realization. Also, Adi Sankara re-iterates that ‘Isvaro gururatmeti …’ , meaning, God is the same as Guru and Self. A Sat-Guru can therefore make us ‘Adhikari’ for God-Realization, which is the ultimate purpose of human birth.
Meeting a Sat-Guru:
I had the fortune of having Darshan of H.H. Sree Maharanyam Muraleedhara Swamiji of Madhurapuri Ashram, Madras. It was a quite unique experience that ever remain fresh in my memory. The Ashram was like Vrindavan, every inch of it was permeated with the sublime presence of the Lord. The place was exquisitely beautiful. It was almost surrounded by mountains. On one side of the Ashram, beautiful and healthy cows along with their sweet calves were seen grazing freely. It really defied description. The atmosphere echoed with sweet and melodious ‘Akhandanama Sankeerthan’. On the other side of the Ashram, we found Tulasi plants, like a little dense forest amidst various kinds of other flowerings plants. Reaching closer, devotees were seen reciting Hare Rama keerthan, while perambulating around a tall and shining lighted brass lamp, near a most beautiful and effulgent vigraha of Lord Krishna, in a big and grand prayer hall. Devotees were deeply immersed in singing the Lord’s name and playing musical instruments according to its tune, while they were walking. My joy and ecstasy knew no bounds; I felt that I was in some heavenly world. Unknowingly within seconds we were also in that stream of devotees, singing His glorious names.
The Veda Patasala on one side of the Ashram, like that we heard of in ancient Nalanda and Thakshasila, attracts special attention. The Sanctum Sanctorum there, is known as ‘Namadwaar’, being followed in the same way as those of Chaithanya Maha Prabhuji of the 15th centuary. Swamiji has started many such Namadwaars at different places in various parts of India and they are all functioning perfectly well with increased attendance of devotees, day by day. A long cherished desire of Swamiji was materialized here in America at Manvel, Houston, when the Mayor inaugurated the first Namadwaar, outside India on Sunday, 28th February, 2010. The Namadwaar is a power house of Divine Prayers, for universal peace and harmony by the manifestation of the power of Divinity in each individual through the very simple path of chanting the Divine Name. Prayers to the Almighty from time immemorial are most powerful; they will never go in vain. More things are wrought by prayer, than this world dreams of. Prayers, powered by the Divine names, are extra ordinarily powerful. All our ancient scriptures extol this fact in unequivocal terms. We are really fortunate and blessed for partly being the instrumental inspiration in the enlightening process of as many people as possible.
The existence of Universe:
We are watching these days that the most modern Science is coming to agree that it is because of the transformation of the Supreme Power that the Universe exists. The processes of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution are taking place on a regular basis on account of this Supreme Power. Most modern books of Science like ‘Hyper Science’, ‘…After Einstein’ etc. are throwing light on this unknown Power and more and more researches are on the way finding out the truth in our old adages of the yore, and those in our Ancient Scriptures. I am sure that even if all the great Scientists of the world try together, they cannot even create a tiny ant, not to speak of man, the number one miracle of His creation. But, the all embracing power of God, binds everything in the world together, since it is equally related to everything alike. The God is not in heaven, He is within our reach, very near to us, in us, around us, and we can touch and feel Him, if we can overcome the delusion or Maya, His own creation, between Him and us. Who knows it is not His protective shield, for His own self-defense. I don’t know.
The purport of Temples/Churches:
Temples are constructed following ‘Tantrasamuchayas’, also compromising between sacred and spiritual ideals, worldly, secular and local restrictions. They are intended to limit and accommodate at first a fraction of the Power of God therein, with the help of ‘Agama Sastras’ etc., physically and mentally into various units, so that people can access and enjoy the blessings of that Supreme Power, more easily, than to stand aghast at its manifestly voluminous, invisible and invincible form. It is for our comfort and convenience that temples are made, installing there Moorthy or Moorthies in lovable forms, of the Supreme Consciousness, obeying the rules of Vastu, and also combining with pragmatic concerns. The various Moorthies are made inter connecting mutually their names and forms for us to concentrate our attention in worshipping them in front of us. They are often divided and given separate assignments of the affairs of our day to day life, like for removing hindrances Lord Ganapathy, Lord Dhanwanthari Moorthy for curing diseases, Lord Maheswara for ‘Ayur dosha’, and Lord Maha Vishnu for peaceful life etc.The temples turn our static piety into dynamic spirituality, when it becomes a Sanctum-Sanctorum, by appropriate rituals and sacred observances as per temple rules. The effulgence emerging from the ‘Sreekovil’ of such a temple, makes us enjoy the immeasurable and inexplicable experience of bliss of ecstasy of devotion to God. Worship of God, in its proper perspective, establishes Divine Presence in abundance there, and it enables the Divine Energy within us to manifest itself, besides granting favors by Him. It is laid down in our Scriptures that idols of gods, worshipped in our temples are considered as the incarnations of the chosen deities of devotees or personal gods. They are known as ‘Archavatharas’ of God, as different manifestations of the BRAHMAN. The more we worship properly, the more will be the Divine Grace there, and that is why we experience the impact of saturated Devotion by having Darsan at Guruvayoor, Sabarimala, Chottanikkara, Vadakkum-Nathan etc; they are oceans of Devotion while many temples are like tributaries, rivers, backwaters and the like. “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti..”, meaning, the Universal Reality is the same , but different people call it by different names.
They are worshipped by people using elaborate rituals prescribed in the ‘Agama Shastras’. The idols thus become ‘Moorthies’, with full Divine Presence in them and then they lavishly shower blessings on true Devotees. It is like, there is water on earth, but in order to get it for drinking without contamination, we want a good well or tap or the like. There may be milk all over the body of a cow, but we could get it only through its udder. A fan can give you breeze, only when it is switched on, and the like. The temple is the LKG for learning Bhakthi.
The easiest Bhakthi Marga:
Satsangs bring together the similarly placed souls for common worship, service, charity, education and culture. Satsang is like nectar. It is precious. As water diminishes when we drink it, we have to replenish the deficiency of the Divine Power, by mantra-sakthi and restore the grace, always to the brim.
In ‘KaliSantharanopanishad’, writen about 5000 years ago, it is laid down that, at the end of Dwapara Yuga, when Brahmarshi Narada asked Lord Brahma, as to what could be done for salvation in Kaliyuga, Brahma gave Narada, the following mantra: (This is the one Swamiji uses in all his Namadwaars):-
“Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,”
and said that by the mere recital of this Mahamantra, consisting of 16 times the holy names of the Lord, man gets relieved from all the evils of Kaliyuga and that he could not find any other way to get-rid of the miseries, though he searched all the four Vedas. Sage Narada then asked Lord Brahma, ‘Lord, what are the rules to be observed for reciting this Mahamantra? ‘. In reply Lord Brahma said ‘There are no special rules to be observed for reciting this Mahamantra; it can be chanted by any one at any time, without regard to purity or impurity and anywhere and everywhere. They are really ‘manthrastras’, meaning arrows of manthra, perfectly fruitful, if hit at the target. It will definitely hit if done with Divine Providence and dedication
After giving us all Vedic Scriptures, Brahmarshi VedaVyasa said that he had searched all Sastras and finally found out that the very essence of all Sastras is to worship Lord Narayana, through Namasankeerthan, for real salvation in this age of Kali. Our Scriptures also tell us ;
‘Dhyanal krite; yanjai; tretayam; dwaparerarchanad,
Yadapnoti, tadapnoti, kalou sankeerthya Kesavam’, meaning,
for getting Salvation, meditation was the way in Krita Yugga or Satya Yuga; Yanja or sacrifice was the way in Treta Yuga; Archana or worshp of idols was done in Dwaapara Yuga. Namasankeerthan is the only way to achieve moksha in Kali Yuga. All our Scriptures exhort us for Namasankeerthan in this KaliYuga.
In the 11th Canto (ekadasa skanda) in Srimad Bhagavatha, it is written: ,
“Namasankeerthanam yasya, sarva papa pranashanam
Pranamo dukha shamana: tam namami Harim param’. ,
that is, prostrate unto that Supreme Power Sree Hari, the singing of whose Divine names, obliterates all sins, and paying respects to whom attenuates all the sorrows of the world. Namasankeerthanam causes inner transformation.
Bhagavat Gita re-iterates that Jnana is the highest state in life. As such, how can one attain the highest state by merely chanting the Lord’s Divine names? Our Swamiji answers the question simply quoting from the Gita itself as;
‘Swalpamalpasya dharmasya, trayate mahato bhayat’, meaning;
even if you perform the smallest Dharma, I will protect you from the worst fear. Smallest dharma is really Namasankeerthan, and ignorance or ajnana, is the worst fear and enemy. Annihilation of anjana is verily, Jnana.
All famous Philosophies of great Sages like that of Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya, Sankaracharya, Sri Vallabhacharya, etc. teach us the importance of reciting Nama or God’s name. God is love and our hearts should abound in unconditional love for God. We should believe in God, as a fish believe in water.
God or Deva has Grace and Effulgence. Only complete surrender to God or ‘Sharanagathy’, is easiest way to realize the fullness and grandeur of His love. God is the only reality; the only Truth. One cannot but sing His glory, because we are all parts of the God – individual units of microcosms of the huge, voluminous and indefinable Macrocosm. The Supreme Power is Brahman, the Paramatma, and it is infinite. It is the all pervading Consciousness. We are jeevatmas, the infinitesimals; the relation is like that of an ocean and a drop of water, thereof. If Brahman is fire, jeevatma is a spark, therein. The union of jeevatma with Paramatma or the Jeevatma-Paramatma aikyam, or Pindandam merging with Brhmandam or the Microcosm becoming one with the Macrocosm, is the ultimate aim of our birth and it will be repeated until the last life exists. Only God, the Supreme Truth is perennial; everything else is ephemeral. Sanathana Dharma, the perennial wisdom, makes it clear to us. We should try to concentrate on things which last long, for only it could give us permanent joy. So, we should concentrate on God. The higher the soul evolves the more spiritual the understanding becomes, until rapport with the Divine Spirit is attained. This is atonement and it makes a man perfect. For making easily eligible to be loved by God, we must remain grateful, humble, patient, generous, show response, be motivating, be brave in all our actions, be disciplined in prosperity, spread good ideas, fetch name, fame and reputation to the family and to the country by dedication to work, be intuitive, and also have patience, persistence, perseverance, and providence.
What, if we negate God:
If we negate or contradict, God, He will not punish us. Punishment is not His work.
Srimad Bhagavatham says (11-2-37):
“ Bhayam dwiteeyabhiniveshata: sya – deesadapetasya , viparyayo smrti:
tanmayayato budha aabhajetham, bhaktyaika yogam Gurudevatatma.”, meaning:
one who turns away from God, loses his real self and falls a prey to the erroneous belief due to His Maya (delusion) and believes that the body is the self and finally he is endangered and he himself will be put in troubles of ‘Shoka’(sorrow), ‘Moha’ (worldly desires)and fear (Bhayam) and ruined at the end. No one can save him, from the peril he himself has created.
Whom can we emulate in Bhakthi?:
In Bhakthi and Worship, we can emulate the example of Bhaktha Hanuman.
“Deha drshtya tu dasoham, jeeva drshtya tvadamsaka:
Vastutastu tvamevahamiti me nischitamati:”, meaning,
Apparently, I am your servant, but really I am your jeevamsa, and in that sense you and I are the same.
The inter relation between Bhagavan, Bhakthi and Bhaktha is the real Bhagavatha Dharma, which we should follow invariably, for a meaningful and peaceful life.
Pearland, Jai Hind
10th May 2011. God Bless America.