Darshan In California On The Worship Of God
August 16, 1977
[Bapuji chants Govinda Jaya Jaya]
[Bapuji translated by Gurudev]
Beloved Satsangis, lovers of God and Guru, today I will discuss about the worship of God. The worship to the Lord is within the niyamas. To worship Lord means to make a contact with God in order to attain to God.
Here one big question will arise in front of us. As long as God is not present in front of us, there is no possibility of offering puja to the Lord. One meaning of puja is love affair with God. If the beloved is not present, how could we have the love affair? Either the beloved would be in front of our eyes or he should be in our memories. Then only can we express our love towards him.
Our confusion is that God is not in front of us. Not only that but if there is God, what is he like? That also we do not know. If we did not know the form of God, how can we ever meditate on him? As long as we don’t have his mental image clear in front of our mind’s eye as to what God is like, we cannot really and truly pray to him.
Before we offer our pujas to God, we must have clear understanding as to what God is like. In order to find out the answers, we approach every saint of this world possible. And we ask individually to each one. “Have you seen the God?” Each one would be in deep thinking and some of them will answer also. They’ll say, “Yes, I have seen”. Some will say, “I haven’t seen him but I have faith that he is”.
Those who say that, “I have seen it”. We say, “What is he like?” And if they describe him, similarly, if we ask another saint, “Have you seen God?” he will say, “Yes, I have seen him”. We’ll say, “What is he like?” Then he would describe God he has seen.
Then our mind would be alert, intellect would be alert. Our intellect will begin to compare what each one of these saints say that God is like. Suppose we collect information from fifty saints like this, as to what God is like. After listening to their experiences of God or their description of God, our mind would be really confused. Because each and every saint would describe God differently.
And as soon as that happens, we will lose our faith. We will find out soon that the description of what God is like from one saint to another saint will continuously differ. For this we would be able to derive, or feel that none of them have seen God or if they have seen, they have seen something else. How can we grow just by believing that God is?
There are many such scriptures where just it is said, that God is. But they haven’t explained as what that God is like. In that, they have only said that God is merciful and loving, and so and so. These are only the objectives. That is not his description of what he is.
Some think that because God is speaks through our heart, he sees like our eyes, and he has all these different organs so people think that he must be like a man, because he has all these different abilities to know through five senses. When God imagines of God, he imagines of God like himself. If buffalo would think about God, he would think of him as a big buffalo. [laughter]
So this way the first question is very confusing. And yet it is very simple also. We can say to God, “Oh, Lord, I do not know what you are”. Then how can I imagine about you? But I just imagine that you are.”
This is where Sanatana Dharma is different from the rest. Sanatana Dharma shows many different forms and aspects about God. In that, first of all the Brahman is explained from which ensues the creation, the sustenance, and the destruction of this universe.
Brahman when the creation takes place, Brahman creates the energy, the shakti. Then shakti has three different forms, the creative energy, that is Brahma energy. Then sustaining energy, Vishnu energy and the destructive and all these three energies are included in this one energy, this is formless, nameless and ever present, Brahman.
This way, the Brahman has been shown in two different aspects, one is with form another without form. Manifest has a form. Unmanifest is formless, which is the source of manifest.
The Sanatana Dharma is so profound and has included every aspect of God and description, that no matter what description you are thinking about, which is truly ingrained in the truth, is possible to find in Sanatana Dharma. In the ancient India, so much in depth thought has been given regarding the search of God and existence of God that even if you take one small sentence of one of their small sentences, it will take you lifetimes to realize it.
If it takes whole lifetime to understand one of the sentences about God, then in order to do the puja of God it takes many incarnations. We can’t really grow if we fix ourselves and say we are incapable and not work towards it.
For that it is said, that select any one of these three devas, Brahma, Vishnu or Mahesh and believing that it exists, you worship that form. When one attains to God, one can easily understand what is the Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh energies, very clearly. Those are the yogic experiences. As long as one does not attain to the final stage of Yoga, they will not understand what this means. To believe in one God, which can include all his energies and worship that as Brahman, and then we can worship that as a Brahman.
If a child is born in your home, it is up to you as to what name you want to give to him. When God is born in your mind, you can give him any name. Among all those names of God, remember one thing that the sannyasi is saying and that is, Rama and Om are the best names of the Lord. Rama is depicting God in the form and Om is formless God. First you use the word Rama for chanting and then when that is completed, when the form is completed, when you become one with the formless, the Om begins. In the Om, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh merge together.
Any form of God which you like most you should establish an idol of it and should do puja to it. In the scriptures, the description of Brahma, Vishnu ad Mahesh is given and from that description the artists have tried to depict it in the form of scripture. When we select either one of the Brahma, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna or Mahesh, and have the idol, we will still have on question on our mind.
That one, Krishna, when painted by different artists, that each and every one of these painting would be different from the other. One artist Krishna would not be like the other ones. Those who are artists, they haven’t seen Krishna and yet they paint Krishna’s picture. They do that painting on the basis of scriptural description. Whatever characteristics are described in scripture from that they get the idea.
Suppose you have accepted Lord Shiva as your approach or worship. Then how does Lord Shiva look? He has a very beautiful hair and there is a flower garland tied over his hair. And on top of that there is River Ganges in the form of female just pouring the water out from the top of his hair. And there is moon on his forehead. And at his forehead there is third also. And the snakes are wrapped around neck. He is wearing the tiger skin over his waist. He has a trident and a dhamiru [sp], a small drum in his hands.
The artist may have drawn this figure to be very tall or short, very fat of thin, makes no difference. But as long as these characteristics are given, you can recognize as Lord Shiva. These are the characteristics to recognize Lord Shiva. When you would come face to face with Lord Shiva, you would actually see all this that he would have a large hair wrapped up at the top with the garland the Ganges flowing from his head, a third eye in this forehead the snake wrapped around his neck, a tiger skin around his waist and a trident in his right hand and a dhamiru [sp] at his left hand, the drum, and smeared with ashes all over his body.
You would be able to recognize him in this form. This is his special sign. Whether the devotees of this country of any other country, when he would come, when he would have shakar [?], means attain to this stage of having him face to face, he would definitely recognize him in this form. And this is very true.
The greatest saints from any country, those who have reached to the highest, if they happen to read the scriptures of India, they will invariably say that, “I have seen Brahma, I have seen Vishnu, I have seen Maheshwar, and I know Brahman”. This way we have now known about the form of God. Because God is not visible. So we will have to place his statue in front of us.
There is only one reason for having the statue in front of us, so that our eyes can make a contact with the form and that the mind can continuously remain engaged in the thought of God. And this will continuously remind us of God.
You give a little doll to play with to a little child. When that child is playing with the doll, just hide yourself and just watch how the child plays with the doll. He treats that doll as if that doll is alive. “You are speaking too much!” This doll is speaking nothing; [laughter] “Why do you look at me like that? Do you really listen to what I am saying? I listen to you talk.”
No matter how old the individual gets, twenty-five, forty, fifty, one hundred, yet, he remains still a child in the spiritual field. For him this statue is much better. Mother has given birth to a child. But how can mother sit all day only keeping the child in her lap? Only when Mother provides a little doll to the child can she direct the child’s attention in some other area so that she can accomplish tasks at home.
Just as mother loves the child, so does the child love the dolls, talks in the same manner, very natural process. If there is any harm to idol worship, it might be so minimal, compared to the benefits that one receives from that.
Now you have selected the idol you want to worship and you have already established that idol in your worship room and now you want to worship, do the puja to that idol. As I have described to you before, through puja, you are establishing contact with God. It is a form of love affair with God. Dharmacharyas, means the spiritual teachers, have recommended idol worship with great in depth understanding.
The devotees, they give bath to the idol, to God. Then they pour the feeling as if they are giving real bath to God himself. By that his imagination becomes very, very sharp and filled with love and
as a result, the love pours out of their heart. In the hand, they may have the statue, but in their heart they don’t feel like it is the statue. In the mind, they have just the feeling of a true God.
We can say that in his hand he has a material statue but in his mind he has a live God. As if real God is there in front of him. To him, really God seems so alive. He can see him blinking his eyes, speaking, laughing, and eating and doing everything. Thus, entering into the field of imagination, one begins to achieve onto God. This is why the devotee gives bath to God. He bathes Lord as if he is bathing the living Lord. Then with great love, he wipes off the wet body of the Lord. And then properly he dresses the idol.
If they are offering their puja to Lord Shiva, they will give in his hand trident[? and the drum, he will apply the ashes all over his body and he will also give all the decorations according to the description we just saw. Doing all these things, the mind merges into Shiva. I’ll explain this with an anecdote.
One sister had five-year-old baby who had died. At that time, she suffered a lot. She then, after the death of the child, she collects all the clothing of the baby and the toys in one suitcase and she puts it away. But two, three years passes after this.
One day when she was looking for something accidentally opens that suitcase. Right away she sees the very small stockings of the child. She looks at the small shoes of the baby. And looks at the underpants, looks at the shirt, looks at the cap, and in her mind’s eye, the baby comes alive. She sees that his little feet are in the socks, are in the shoes, and baby’s body is in the garment, undergarment, vest, his chest under the upper garment and his face in the cap. Everything becomes very visually very effective. And at the same time, the tears begin to flow from her eyes.
The child who died three years ago, his face appears very clearly to her. This is how the entire meditation happens. Puja is one form of meditation. In India, almost in every house such puja takes place. Among those, those who have time, they take at least twenty to thirty minutes in this puja. They recite the shlokas of sutras?] as they give the bathing of the Lord, as they clothe him, as they put the ornaments on and so forth. This way his mind becomes associated with God and he forgets the world outside of himself.
This is why it has been recommended to worship God every day. I firmly believe that those who are just starting sadhana for them, idol worship is greatly helpful. This way it purifies the mind. As soon as the mind is purified, the physical purification also becomes simple.
The purification of mind is very closely associated with the body and pure body is very closely associated with the mind. The purity of one affects the purity of the other. For the purification of the body and mind, the puja of God is invariably necessary.
Today I conclude.
Bapuji chants Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. Shri Krishna Chandra Bhagavan Ki Jai Om Namah Parvatipate Hara Hara Mahadev. ÃSIDE 2;