"Devotion is a means as well as its true end when it grows into a full treasure. When devotion becomes a treasure, you will need nothing more for inner fullness or affluence. As devotion grows, it will begin to free you of all desire, hatred and fear. It will relieve poverty, either by making you amply resourceful or by taking away from you the very feeling of poverty. Devotion also will remove your weakness, generating untold strength and confidence."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

Today I thought I would speak to you something about worshipping the Lord and also serving in an Ashram or a Mahatma. A point that devotees always miss is that in the whole field of religion and devotion, everything is man-made, man created. Have you ever thought about it? No. We are living in this world and at no time has God come to us, stood before us to say, “I am there”. Even now, there are communities which do not believe in God. In India, we have leftist political parties who do not believe in God. What does it mean?

God is a human option. We are living in this world, looking at the world, experiencing the difference facets of the world. We are inclined to think about a God as the Supreme source and controller of the universe. This is a thought that occurs to us and it is a finding that we have made. Naturally our worship is shaped and styled by us. God is our concept. The worship is our creation. In all these processes, what we find is our ego-centric thoughts, feelings and emotions are there. Not one moment we think whether what we do or what we think is right and acceptable to the Lord. What would God think of worship and how will He want us to shape the worship - that thought never occurs to us.

Whenever you are worshipping God, you worship but the purpose is to please Him. But should not the devotee think – “Worshipped in which manner God will be pleased with me? What is that worship which God is pleased with; God would like us to do?” Why don’t you project your mind in this manner? Until you start doing it, I think worship will not become meaningful, much less fruitful. Whenever such a question arises, is there any answer, you may wonder. Yes; there is answer. We have got beautiful scriptures and scriptural compositions where the subject of worship and the subject of God are dealt with. Why don’t you turn the pages of these texts and find out how will God like the devotee to worship Him, what will be His direction, His guidance?

Now take Srimad Bhagavata which is a supreme authority on these matters. There are different sections where Srimad Bhagavata speaks about how God looks at the devotees, what He would like them to do, when will He be pleased, with what kind of worship He gets maximum contentment. All these are mentioned there.

We have a very important section in Srimad Bhagavatam where Devahuti was married to Kardama Prajapati by her father. Her father was looking into several cases, going to different places to find out “To whom shall I gift my daughter?”. Kanya dāna, giving the daughter as a kanya to somebody, it was called Kanya dāna. Depending upon the preferences, ambitions and aspirations of the father, the receptacle was chosen. So, Swayambhuva Manu searched the whole world and finally found that Kardama Prajapati, a born ascetic and austere person was the best to be gifted with his daughter.

He goes with the daughter to Kardama Prajapati, expresses his fondness, his feelings, concern etc. and says, “I would like you to accept my daughter”. Kardama Prajapati accepted. Devahuti was a young girl, so she had some normal girlish and womanish ambitions. Kardama was not indifferent. He sanctioned all that. Then when nine girls were born to both of them, he said, “Now I have been moving with you for a long time, satisfying your ambitions. Now nine girls are also born to you. Allow me to go my way, I shall go to the forest to continue my austerities.”

Devahuti said, “My dear Lord, you are great and you have given me everything that I wanted. But I shall not be able to marry off these girls. I won’t be able to find suitable partners for them. So, please marry them off yourself and then leave. Also gift me a son. I know that you are an ascetic and as the partner of an ascetic, I must also become an ascetic. But I have some sensory, worldly and domestic ambitions. These have to be exhausted. So gift me a son who in your absence will instruct me and take away my attachment to things enabling me to follow your path.” Kardama was very pleased. He also gifted her with such a child. That child is Kapila.

Kapila is always considered to be Kapila Vasudeva. He was almost on a par with Krishna, Vasudeva. After the child was born, the girls were married. He (the father) goes to the son and prostrates before him (the son), and says that “Your mother’s wishes are fulfilled, the daughters are married and you are there now to advise her in my absence. Please allow me to go to the forest and continue my austerities”. Kapila allowed the father to go, giving him his blessings and took up the task, the mission of instructing the mother.

He started advising the mother everything about creation and in Kapila’s ‘Sankhya’ {the word ‘Sankhya’ is associated with him}, it was Upanishadic wisdom. He introduces the subject of creation. He says prakṛti consists of three qualities – sattva, rajas and tamas. When they are in a state of equilibrium, there is full silence and extinction. When the equilibrium is disturbed, one quality starts acting upon the other two. The other two in turn act upon the one, each acting upon the others, the others acting upon the one. The entire subtle indistinctness starts becoming grosser and grosser and the panchabhautik world comes into being. He explains all this. In the process he says that devotion is something very important. But the devotion is meant to please the Lord.

Kapila identifies himself as the Lord and starts speaking saying that, “I will not be pleased with ostentatious worship. The worship done with costly materials and in a very ostentatious manner will not please me. On the other hand, a simple worship with a petal or a leaf but with devotional heart, that pleases me.”

The essence of devotion consists in understanding the whole world to be manifestation of God. In every being is the same God living and shining. You cannot separate God at any point of time from anything to anything. A big homa done for me, at the same time the performer of the havan does not have regard for the fellow beings around him who suffer and who need food, shelter and other things, if he is indifferent to them, his worship is not pleasing to me. Whatever ghee he pours, it is like the one that is poured on a heap of ash. What I want him to do is feed the hungry. When their throats are wet, I am pleased, my hunger is appeased. There is no point in offering big big things, payasam, pudding etc. to the stone or to the picture in front which is not alive. It doesn’t have hunger. Appease the hunger where hungry people are there, hungry creatures are there. Wet the bottom of trees and plants so that they will not wither. There is no point in giving me food. I don’t need it. Give food to those who need.”

The long and short of the exposition is that a worshipper should worship the Lord in a manner that the Lord will be pleased with. That point is missing in our devotion. Unless this gap is filled, devotion is not going to fulfill yourselves at all.

The same applies to seva or service. Suppose you are thinking of doing any service to the Ashram, the service is not to be decided by the service giver. He has to find out, “Where shall I fit in, what can I do as a service?” The entire service is done for the Ashram. So, the Ashram should say which service it wants from whom. “I have half-an-hours’ time. I will come and do some service because that is a time pass for me”. No. Whatever service is to be done, wait for it, select it, make yourselves available for it and do it very heartily.

“I shall do this” – no, no. “What shall I do” should be the enquiry and a proper answer and clarity should be had. In other words, it is not doing what we want. It is doing what the others need. If the people around you need any help, extend that help to them.

So far as God is concerned, He needs nothing from you. In fact, whatever you have is given by Him. So, you enjoy whatever God has given and enable others also to enjoy similarly. It is an expansion of heart that is required and dissolving of the ego. Service becomes service only when that pleases the one whom you serve where his needs are filled. If you can bring about this alteration and change, I think that is the best. I am not referring to the service that you will render in the ashram if at all, no. Making God as the central point I say - Do not serve God in the manner you like; serve God in the manner He would like and be pleased with. Our śāstras specifically say that these are the items which have to be done by the devotee. When done, the Lord is most pleased with the devotee.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, there is a portion where He says, “Of all my devotees, he is the best and super most who can tie with the chord of love the Lord’s feet in his heart”. What do you say about it? “He who can tie the feet of the Lord with a chord of love generated by the devotee’s heart, he is the topmost amongst my devotees”. If Srimad Bhagavata says this, what should you understand by devotion? Where is the essence of devotion? Where does it lie? How to approach it? I think a total revolution is called for in the devotee’s mind so far as devotional approach and practice are concerned. The same applies to the service mission also.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

Pin It