June 18, 2021
Worship of an image of God, singing kirtans, repetition of the divine name, etc., all have their places in our sadhana. But we should not forget that the goal is realization, not imagination. Here, again, as in Karma Yoga, it is the inner attitude that matters, not the amount of money spent in the worship.
The symbolism of the worship should not be forgotten. As we grind the sandal-paste, we pray to God to bestow upon us forbearance, to do good to even those that do evil to us, even as the sandalwood gives fragrance to the man who cuts it and grinds it. As we offer flowers at His feet, we should feel that we offer all actions as flowers of worship. As we wave the incense before the Lord, we should inwardly feel that God is all-pervading as the scent of the incense pervades, though imperceptibly, the entire room. As we wave the single faced lamp, we should feel that we adore God with the inner Self or Soul.
Similarly, the three-faced lamp represents the three bodies, the three states of consciousness and the three gunas; and the five-faced lamp represents the five pranas, the five organs of action and the five organs of knowledge. Through all these we adore the Lord. When the multi-faced lamp is waved we should feel that we adore Him with all our thoughts and emotions. With the camphor, we should melt and pray to Him that our individual personality may thus merge in Him.
It is the bhavana (inner attitude) that ultimately blossoms as anubhava (actual experience) in due course; and it is all important in Bhakti Yoga.
In Mauritius I did not want to build another temple for installing the images of the manifestations of the divine in. They came to free us; and it is incongruous that we should lock them up. So today Jesus, Krishna, Subramania, and Moses stand majestically in the open, surrounded by flowers and fruits, blessing every passerby.