Thursday, February 26, 2009

Modes of worship

There are four stages in the spiritual journey of a saadhak (seeker after God).

"The first is karmakaand - doing good deeds such as those prescribed in the religious books of all the religions of the world.

"The second is upaasana - following the spiritual path under the advice and guidance of a true Master, controlling the mind the senses and devoting oneself to meditation and spiritual practices.

"The third is bhakti - becoming so thoroughly saturated with the all-consuming love of God as to care for nothing but him. All thoughts of the world and of worldly objects leave the mind. The five passions become subdued. Mind and senses are brought under control. All hankering after the pleasures of the world and for sensual enjoyments dies or fades away.

The fourth is gyaan - knowing the Truth and Reality and becoming one with the Lord.

Pure virtuous 'living' is very essential for God-realization, but something more also is needed. If a person goes on washing and cleaning dishes and plates all the day long and then arranges them beautifully on the table but does not put anything in them to eat, will his hunger be satisfied? Leading a pure life of service is just like cleansing the utensils. It purifies the mind and makes it fit for ascent to higher regions. But this removing of dirt from the mind is not the be-all and end-all of life.

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