The Importance of Worship

During the lifetime of some enlightened beings, worship began. Even during the time of Lord Buddha, people worshipped stupas and worshipped statues of the Buddha. However, not all people believed in worshipping statues. Those who invaded India at the time when Buddhist dharma was strong, demolished most of the statues and Buddhist monasteries were burnt. During the time of Buddha, he himself he accepted dharma and sangha. Monasteries were established during the time of Ashoka; statues and stupas were built. Even today in many countries statues of Buddha are being built. Recently a sixty-foot high statue was built in Bodhgaya by the Japanese.

Worship has been advised from time immemorial. Here we generally speak about consciousness, which is omniscient, omnipresent, in everything, every atom. There is no place where there is no consciousness. So what does worship mean? Many people get confused. Those who have been enlightened have worshipped through stupas, through statues, and that is how dharma has been living. I do not know of any religion which has not included worship. Buddhism is already 2,600 years old. Vedic Dharma is 25,000 years old. In Peru they have found a Shiva lingam 25,000 years old.

We are dealing with consciousness only, but it’s very important to consider this matter. Many people write to me from The States and Europe. They say they are all right here in India, but when they return home, they forget and they lose peace and consciousness. I advise them to playfully worship whatever comes into their day-to-day life. Whatever they see has to be worshipped as the same consciousness — it cannot be other than consciousness. Eating food, whatever you do. Listening to music, worship through the ears. Whatever you see, it has to be worshipped, adored, honored. Like this, you will not forget consciousness.

When you see that consciousness is everywhere this Cosmic Being has to be adored and worshipped in every being, every non-being, in every situation; when you are happy, in happiness; when you are not happy, in unhappiness. In all situations engage yourself. People say, “Sometimes I am happy; sometimes I lose it.” Beyond both is consciousness, their own Self. The Self reveals itself to itself. This Cosmic Being which resides in all beings, in human beings, and animals, and birds, in everything — is conscious within you. In the cave of your heart is the Conscious Being that directs you to see, smell, hear, activate your activities. This has to be worshipped, adored, honored wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever you hear, whatever you see. Then how can you forget? Wherever you are, you are in consciousness and consciousness is within you. Worship this purusha — this cosmic being within you.

I do not know how this Cosmic Being has become an individual being. If it has become an individual being then the Cosmic being is residing within it. This knowledge that, “I am individual being.” must be in the cosmos. This Cosmic Being has entered the cavity of your heart. Somehow you feel separated. You feel that, “I am an individual being, a different personality.” Where does this knowledge that, “I am an individual being.” come from? This knowledge is quite enough to be worshipped. Worship this knowledge at least, that “I am this individual being,” if you can’t agree that, “I am cosmic.”

Many times I’ve made attempt to express it. I have failed. It is said the mind cannot reach, the senses cannot describe it. Somehow, I have to do it.

This longing will arise — it is not enough. You will have to go and see a teacher and listen to the teacher. First you choose, “I have to return to effortlessness, I want to be free.” This longing is not enough. This longing rises from ignorance only; it’s not wisdom. Any choice is from ignorance; any longing is from ignorance. Good longing also is ignorance, but it takes you to a teacher who tells you whatever he tells you, and that is also ignorance. It is ignorance because it cannot be conveyed through words. Your mind can listen. This experience cannot be had by the mind or senses. When the mind and senses admit their defeat, then you will have this experience.

Let the individual dissolve and adore the Supreme Being. Let it merge into the Supreme Being from where it arose. Individuality must come from somewhere; a wave arises from somewhere. The individuality rises when you say, “this individual.” You have returned with this thought. Now, this moment, where did this thought rise from? Individuality. This moment go back and see. Don’t make any effort — it will drop by itself. Don’t make any effort, don’t think; it will drop by itself. Your longing will cease. My instruction will cease.

17 November, 1992