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Books > Hindu > Festivals & Rituals > Meaning and Significance of Worship
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Meaning and Significance of Worship
Meaning and Significance of Worship
Description
Back the Book

It is easy to say that there is no use of rituals and temples and all such paraphernalia; every baby says that in modern time. But it must be easy for all to see that those who worship inside a temple are in many respects different from those who will not worship there. Therefore the association of particular temples, rituals and other concrete forms with particular religions has a tendency to bring into the minds of the followers of those religions the thoughts for which those concrete things stand as symbols; and it is not wise to ignore rituals and symology altogether.

 

Preface

This hand book on Puja as practiced in Ramakrishna Math centers in general and Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore in particular is the outcome of the earnest desire to have clearideas regarding the meaning and significance of the mantras, mudras and procedures. And the confent of this book is the result of knowledge imparted by Rev. Swami Achalanandaji who had taken a series of classes on this subject held for about four month in the year 1985. An attempt was made to organize his explanation and insights given informally into a systematic notes enriched with pictures, summary charts of chronology reference which serve s useful to the novice to understand puja better. The Mantras of the puja and the Procedure are based on the book “Worship of Sri Ramakrishna” by Swami Hitanandaji. Swami Muktidanananji has given so much of time and energy in taking down the notes from Swami Achalanandaji and giving this book a final shape, with meticulous care and deep understanding.

Swami Achalanandji was a scholar in Sanskrit and had traditional knowledge of the ritualistic worship. He had considerable mastery over Ramakrishna Vivekananda Vedanta literature. He had received initiation from swami Yatishwaranandji. He took sanyasa after his retirement from the government service, and lived at our Ashrama at Ulsoor (Bangalore), and Ramakrishna Institute of Moral and Spiritual Education (RIMSE), Mysore, for the rest of his life. He passed away at Rimse itself in the year 1991.

The “Science of Worship” by Rev. Swami Prameyanandaji Maharaj, and the two editorial articles of the Prabuddha Bharata of May and june 1980- ‘Worship as a Spiritual Discipline’ by Rev. Swami Bhajananandjiare very illuminating and should be read in this connection. So is the section ‘Ramakrishna as a Priest’ taken from Rev. Swami Nikhilanandaji’s introduction to his translation of ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’, We have therefore appended these articles to this book.

We earnestly hope that this effort will serve a useful purpose in conveying to the interested devotees, brahmacharins and monks of Ramakrishna Order the Significance and meaning of Puja, so that worship becomes more meaningful and spiritually beneficial.

We are grateful to Rev. Swami Prameyanandaji Maharaj and Swami Bhajanandaji Maharaj for allowing us to include their valuable articles which have enriched this book. We are thankful to all the monastic brothers and devotees who helped in data feeding and ingoing valuable suggestion. We also thank reverentially swami Gautamanandaji, the President, Ramakrishna math, Chennai, for allowing us to publish this book from our centre, and promising to take it over for publishing the subsequent editions.

 

Introduction

Puja, ritualistic worship, forms a part of the process Upasana. The literal meaning of the word 'upasana' is to sit near. It is the process of practising the proximity of God and of progressively feeling his presence till one merges in Him. Dhyana--contemplation and intense meditation are also part of the same process. While Dhyana is a purely internal and mental act, puja or worship, includes some performance of external acts as also chanting of certain mantras and the like. As we all know Japa and Dhyana, which are purely mental, form an important part of the Puja.

These acts of worship and the contemplation and meditation accompanying them are performed in accordance with certain methods prescribed by the scriptures. To serve the purpose for which they are performed, these scriptures prescribe methods based on the experience of the wise elders and that is their validity and sanction. Till the proximity and its progressive closeness culminating in the union of the individual with the universal spirit becomes a realized fact, the contemplation of such proximity is just based on imagination. But contemplation in accordance with scriptural injunction has this advantage over imagination "running riot": It is based on the actual experience of the wise elders who have trodden the path before us, while the latter could be just a fictitious projection of our own ignorant mind.

These acts and contemplation have to be done with faith to serve the purpose for which they are performed. Faith is the belief in the words of the scripture and of the preceptor, Guru. This faith does not yield the result by itself, but following the precepts with faith does. Faith gives steadfastness to the method and persistence in the action.

If one has to receive the full benefit of the formal worship with rituals, one must have, in addition to faith, some of understanding of the meaning of the mantras he is chartings to and the significance of the acts he is performing so that these rod may be done with the proper attitude of mind. Puja done in with faith and understanding produces a state of mind in which so the proximity of the Divine is felt at least as long as the puja lasts. Repetition of this day after day results in the memory of the state lingering long after the puja is over and finally it becomes an abiding memory. This requires everyday renewal; y but once the proximity has been experienced as a fact, its memory can never be lost and this very memory accelerates 1 the progress towards the union with the Self.

The methods taught by the scriptures are very many and all of them are valid and valuable for their followers. To us the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, he is the embodiment of the ultimate truth, the form in which we like to contemplate God, the Ishta-devata. He is also the way to reach that God, the ultimate Guru; and our immediate Guru is the one who has shown us the way to Him. That is why in meditation we merge our own form in the Guru and Him in the Ishta.

We worship Him therefore as the embodiment of the Divine. The method of worship is given in the book "Worship of Sri Ramakrishna" by Swami Hitananda. In these notes an attempt has been made to explain the meaning of the mantras given in the aforementioned book as well as the significance of the actions, and also to indicate with what attitude of mind all this should be done. What is said here is based on the memory of some passages retained while studying the subject sometime in the past. It has not been possible to quote from memory all passages from the sastras in support of the entire statements made here.

The explanations given here are illustrative and do not claim to be exhaustive or exclusive. The readers are therefore we come to supplement or replace them by other explanation gathered from their own reading or from instructions competent persons, so long as such explanations help us t feel and practice the presence of God and thus lead us toward our goal of atmano moksha and jaggadhita.

That the explanations given here can serve this end can be verified by practice.

 

Contents

 

  Preface 5
  Introduction 8
  A word with the Worshipper 11
  Worship of Sri Ramakrishna 13
  Mudras or Poses of the hands 129
  Successive Steps of Puja 136
  Appendices  
1 Sri Ramakrishna a Priest 146
2 The Science of Worship 149
3 Worship as a Spiritual Discipline 163
4 Durga Puja 195

 

Meaning and Significance of Worship

Item Code:
NAE982
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2007
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages:
213
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 250 gms
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Back the Book

It is easy to say that there is no use of rituals and temples and all such paraphernalia; every baby says that in modern time. But it must be easy for all to see that those who worship inside a temple are in many respects different from those who will not worship there. Therefore the association of particular temples, rituals and other concrete forms with particular religions has a tendency to bring into the minds of the followers of those religions the thoughts for which those concrete things stand as symbols; and it is not wise to ignore rituals and symology altogether.

 

Preface

This hand book on Puja as practiced in Ramakrishna Math centers in general and Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore in particular is the outcome of the earnest desire to have clearideas regarding the meaning and significance of the mantras, mudras and procedures. And the confent of this book is the result of knowledge imparted by Rev. Swami Achalanandaji who had taken a series of classes on this subject held for about four month in the year 1985. An attempt was made to organize his explanation and insights given informally into a systematic notes enriched with pictures, summary charts of chronology reference which serve s useful to the novice to understand puja better. The Mantras of the puja and the Procedure are based on the book “Worship of Sri Ramakrishna” by Swami Hitanandaji. Swami Muktidanananji has given so much of time and energy in taking down the notes from Swami Achalanandaji and giving this book a final shape, with meticulous care and deep understanding.

Swami Achalanandji was a scholar in Sanskrit and had traditional knowledge of the ritualistic worship. He had considerable mastery over Ramakrishna Vivekananda Vedanta literature. He had received initiation from swami Yatishwaranandji. He took sanyasa after his retirement from the government service, and lived at our Ashrama at Ulsoor (Bangalore), and Ramakrishna Institute of Moral and Spiritual Education (RIMSE), Mysore, for the rest of his life. He passed away at Rimse itself in the year 1991.

The “Science of Worship” by Rev. Swami Prameyanandaji Maharaj, and the two editorial articles of the Prabuddha Bharata of May and june 1980- ‘Worship as a Spiritual Discipline’ by Rev. Swami Bhajananandjiare very illuminating and should be read in this connection. So is the section ‘Ramakrishna as a Priest’ taken from Rev. Swami Nikhilanandaji’s introduction to his translation of ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’, We have therefore appended these articles to this book.

We earnestly hope that this effort will serve a useful purpose in conveying to the interested devotees, brahmacharins and monks of Ramakrishna Order the Significance and meaning of Puja, so that worship becomes more meaningful and spiritually beneficial.

We are grateful to Rev. Swami Prameyanandaji Maharaj and Swami Bhajanandaji Maharaj for allowing us to include their valuable articles which have enriched this book. We are thankful to all the monastic brothers and devotees who helped in data feeding and ingoing valuable suggestion. We also thank reverentially swami Gautamanandaji, the President, Ramakrishna math, Chennai, for allowing us to publish this book from our centre, and promising to take it over for publishing the subsequent editions.

 

Introduction

Puja, ritualistic worship, forms a part of the process Upasana. The literal meaning of the word 'upasana' is to sit near. It is the process of practising the proximity of God and of progressively feeling his presence till one merges in Him. Dhyana--contemplation and intense meditation are also part of the same process. While Dhyana is a purely internal and mental act, puja or worship, includes some performance of external acts as also chanting of certain mantras and the like. As we all know Japa and Dhyana, which are purely mental, form an important part of the Puja.

These acts of worship and the contemplation and meditation accompanying them are performed in accordance with certain methods prescribed by the scriptures. To serve the purpose for which they are performed, these scriptures prescribe methods based on the experience of the wise elders and that is their validity and sanction. Till the proximity and its progressive closeness culminating in the union of the individual with the universal spirit becomes a realized fact, the contemplation of such proximity is just based on imagination. But contemplation in accordance with scriptural injunction has this advantage over imagination "running riot": It is based on the actual experience of the wise elders who have trodden the path before us, while the latter could be just a fictitious projection of our own ignorant mind.

These acts and contemplation have to be done with faith to serve the purpose for which they are performed. Faith is the belief in the words of the scripture and of the preceptor, Guru. This faith does not yield the result by itself, but following the precepts with faith does. Faith gives steadfastness to the method and persistence in the action.

If one has to receive the full benefit of the formal worship with rituals, one must have, in addition to faith, some of understanding of the meaning of the mantras he is chartings to and the significance of the acts he is performing so that these rod may be done with the proper attitude of mind. Puja done in with faith and understanding produces a state of mind in which so the proximity of the Divine is felt at least as long as the puja lasts. Repetition of this day after day results in the memory of the state lingering long after the puja is over and finally it becomes an abiding memory. This requires everyday renewal; y but once the proximity has been experienced as a fact, its memory can never be lost and this very memory accelerates 1 the progress towards the union with the Self.

The methods taught by the scriptures are very many and all of them are valid and valuable for their followers. To us the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, he is the embodiment of the ultimate truth, the form in which we like to contemplate God, the Ishta-devata. He is also the way to reach that God, the ultimate Guru; and our immediate Guru is the one who has shown us the way to Him. That is why in meditation we merge our own form in the Guru and Him in the Ishta.

We worship Him therefore as the embodiment of the Divine. The method of worship is given in the book "Worship of Sri Ramakrishna" by Swami Hitananda. In these notes an attempt has been made to explain the meaning of the mantras given in the aforementioned book as well as the significance of the actions, and also to indicate with what attitude of mind all this should be done. What is said here is based on the memory of some passages retained while studying the subject sometime in the past. It has not been possible to quote from memory all passages from the sastras in support of the entire statements made here.

The explanations given here are illustrative and do not claim to be exhaustive or exclusive. The readers are therefore we come to supplement or replace them by other explanation gathered from their own reading or from instructions competent persons, so long as such explanations help us t feel and practice the presence of God and thus lead us toward our goal of atmano moksha and jaggadhita.

That the explanations given here can serve this end can be verified by practice.

 

Contents

 

  Preface 5
  Introduction 8
  A word with the Worshipper 11
  Worship of Sri Ramakrishna 13
  Mudras or Poses of the hands 129
  Successive Steps of Puja 136
  Appendices  
1 Sri Ramakrishna a Priest 146
2 The Science of Worship 149
3 Worship as a Spiritual Discipline 163
4 Durga Puja 195

 

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