What is the nature of true worship to be offered to God?
The first point to be kept in mind is that the singular Brahman is infinite sentience, and Consciousness is another term for sentience. The one to be worshipped is this supreme Consciousness. Do the seekers have the subtlety and comprehension to engage in such worship? Even the elderly people usually fail to reflect upon the subject properly. Religious practices seem to be more attractive than philosophical discussions and enlightening introspection to the majority of people. That is why, since ancient times, various forms of ritualistic worship have been in vogue. But all these practices, when closely examined, are meant to help the beginners alone. Everyone should be led to truthful introspection at the earliest; and the higher, inner form of worship should become his choice pursuit. In fact, this transition from ritualistic practices (achara) to distinct willful introspection (vichara) is a prerequisite for human growth and advancement. But the more alluring formalities and customs of religious practices usually overwhelm the mind, disallowing deeper understanding and refinement. Vedas and allied texts have foreseen this confusion and made it a point to incorporate introspection and evaluation in the midst of rituals and ceremonies.
Inability of the human mind to take to right practices does not the least allow indulgence in wrong habits. That is why the Upanishads are brought in the middle of ritualistic portion of the Vedas. The intention is to provide right spiritual insight, even while involved in desire-oriented rituals and ceremonies.
-- Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
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