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Dr Sripada Gopalakrishna Murthy
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 2
Month : July
Issue Number : 4
Year : 1967

I heard about the ways of worship at fillellamudi. What does Mother recommend to us to do outside Jillellamudi?’

She lays stress on doing the worship but never on the way it ought to be done. The choice is left entirely to the worshipper, so that his devotion may be spontaneous and what he would do would be real worship.”

That may be at Jillellamudi, where devotees sit directly before her. But, away in their villages. sitting before their family shrine, they have to adopt a method of proceedure for day to day use. Has she not suggested to anyone, a particular way, which would keep alive spontaneity and put off traditional inertia?”

‘No. Never. A youngman once complained to her that he was not able to get into a devotional mood while worshipping. ‘In the early stages,’ he said. ‘I felt some real fervour. But as the worship proceeded, the devotion decreased and the worship became mechanical. How am 1 to keep the mood?’ he asked. Your question is similar to his. Mother explained to him that any spontaneous action like arranging the flowers, joining the palms while chanting, bowing one’s head, is an indication of a mood That worship is good where Mother is remembered to the exclusion of anything else.”

But, how is that to be achieved in day to day worship?”

‘Only by your bhakti or devotion. In your office,” she said to the youngman, you sometimes commit a mistake, and feel intensely sorry for it. No diversion would succeed in wiping your dissatisfaction with yourself. How do you think, is this mood acquired? You haven’t done any saadhana to sustain it, have you? The mood you are now wishing for would come in the same way. when its time arrives.

‘I don’t feel answered. I shall put my question in another form. Does she dissuade us from any of the traditional forms of worship?’

I think yes. She said once. “perceive God even in a duster, but don’t try to make God a duster for you.”

What does she mean??

I shall explain what I understand

God is everywhere and all forms are His A devotee cam worship Him in any form made our of any material. Figures in our temples are made out of stone, metal, stucco, brick or mal. Wood is used to model Jagannath at Puri: lingas in household shrines are of quartz, and the saaligramma is of fossil shell. Mud is used to make Vighneswara and cow-dung to make Gobbi, Saffron and coins, serve to improvise Vighneswata and the Dikpaula kas in special household functions. The Kalasha and the coconut figure prominently in the special worship of our housewives. It is thus clear, that we deem any material and any form suitable to make a symbol of God i.e., in everything and in every shape.

But these symbols should remain as symbols. They are only to help us to concentrate our mind on God. Vigraha” said Mother, is only for nigraha.” Concentration on the Omnipresent not being easy, we concentrate on God in a particular form. This form may be that of Nataraja, Rama, or Linga. Our concentration is to be focussed on god, who takes that form also, but not on that one forni before us. Sahasranaamas indicate this clearly; they show that any form is hailed as (that of) Brahman, the Absolute. Any epithets or adjectives describing the particular forms worshipped are only attributes of God manifest in that form to the devotee. The King, the Hero, the Guru: father, mother, or friend: or even a particular quality, may appeal to a devotee as the nearest approach to God. He seeks to realise God. He seeks to realise God as the infinitude of that particular attribute. i.e.. to see God through a Rama, a Parasurama, a Dattathreya, or his own father, mother or friend. Qualities like Love, Justice, Service, etc, appear to be personified in Christ, Krishna, Anjaneya and others. So, the levotee chooses that form for his concentration which is the nearest symbol to God.

Do you mean to say that all worshippers are worshipping only their Ishta Daivam?”

If worship means infinite admiration and if one has developed infinite admiration for any one of the forms or qualities I mentioned, he worships his Ishtadaivam only. Others who worship’ any form or all forms indifferently, only imitate the real worshippers. They have yet to develop love, devotion to God.’

But you have forgotten the duster example

I am coming to it. You would have heard about vows made to God by some anxious men and women. A middle-aged man once came to Mother and said Ma. I have invested a few thousand of rupees in a transaction. If I get a profit of fifty thousand. I shall gift out five thousand to this institution.” Mother promptly replied, If I could help you to get fifty thousand rupees I can as well get the whole lot for myself, why enter into a contract with you for only five?”. Here is an attempt to monitor Grace for one’s own advantage. Man seeks to use God as a duster! One stage higher than this visitor is that man, who promised one lakh of rupees to God, if he is helped to two lakhs in his venture, but was quite agreeable to God retaining his own share in advance, and helping him only to his share of the bargain. Expressing gratitude iy worship is one thing but conditional offer is quite another. What would happen if a boy vows five coconuts to Rama to obtain a pass in his examination, while his enemy in the same class vows ten to Hanuman for causing him to fail? The only possibility is another tight between those two!

Visitors to Mother request Her to free them from disease, worry, poverty; to grant them promotion in their salary. to give them information about the destined matrimonial alliance for their daughter etc. They don’t make similar vocal prayers in a temple, nor do they expect a reply immediately, but here they do! If visitors argue and insist, what do they mean? She must be able do it, or else, why should She be hailed as Rajarajeswari’?

‘Worshipping God is not a favour done to Him. It is an act of surrender of the self, as even a duster, which is so useful to us. is given by God’s grace. “Look at God even in a duster, but don’t seek to make God your duster” says Mother. Worshippers of the terrible aspects of God are using God as a duster if they believe that they acquire those powers to achieve their ends, by doing that worship to God. When God in a duster and God in the terrible shape of Kaali are one and the same. where is the superiority of the worship of this form over that? Narasimha is not any superior to Saraswati. nor is Sharabhamurti superior to Vaamana. If. in your daily worship, you attribute greater or smaller relative power to the form you are worshipping, you are using God as a weapon or a duster. If you believe that God has this shape and not that, you are making God the duster you love. If you appeal to God for help in the name of having been a worshipper with some standing. you are considering your worship as a favour done to God, and you are demanding adequate return. If you vow to offer Him this and that in return to His benefaction, you are washing the duster in icewater to please it! God is not a corrupt officer to be bribed! If you think that you can sin elsewhere but not in the room of worship, or in front of a temple. you are believing that God is only in the duster. placed in that room, looking only to the front of his temple, not anywhere else. If you are wasting heaps of rice before the figure and not feeding the needy, you are washing the duster with sandal wood soap to curry its favour! If you are doing worship mechanically with your thoughts elsewhere, you are only rubbing in the air with the duster, but not scrubbing your floor. While scrubbing if you are mindful of the fact that God has given you all useful things like the duster etc. you are looking at god in the duster. My dear friend. there can’t be spontaneity and devotion in a worship done as a mechanical routine, whoever it be that prescribes it. How can you then expect Mother to prescribe this or that form of worship outside Jillellamudi? Do as you wish, for, is it not He alone, who initiates that wish?”

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