Saturday, June 9, 2018
One can realise God through worship of murti (or idol). The worship of the Lord in saguna (concrete) form is a great aid for vedantic realisation also, and for the realisation of the Lord in His all-pervading, formless aspect. The worship of the murti is very essential for the purpose of concentration and meditation in the beginning. Such worship is not in any way a hindrance to the attainment of God consciousness. Those who vehemently attack murti puja (worship) are groping in the darkness of extreme ignorance. They have no real knowledge. They enter into vain debates to show that they are learned persons and have not done any sadhana (spiritual practice). Idle talking is their real profession. They have unsettled the minds of countless persons. The whole world worships symbols and murtis in some form or other. As one advances in meditation, the form melts into the formless and the aspirant becomes one with the formless essence.
Empty vessels only make sound. A practical man who does meditation and worship, who is full of knowledge and real devotion, keeps always silence. He influences and teaches others through silence. He only knows whether a murti is necessary in the beginning or not.
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Prasada is 'that which gives peace'. During kirtan (chanting), worship (puja, havan and arati), milk, sweets and fruit are offered to the Lord. Puja is done with bael (wood apple) leaves, flowers, tulsi (basil), sacred ash, and these are later given as prasada from the Lord. They are charged with mysterious powers, by the chanting of mantras (sacred hymns) during puja and havan (worship with the fire as the sacred symbol).
Prasada is a great purifier. Prasada is a panacea for all ills; it is a spiritual elixir. Prasada is the grace of the Lord. It is an embodiment of shakti (divine energy). Prasada is divinity in manifestation. Many sincere aspirants get wonderful experiences from prasada alone. Many incurable illnesses are cured by prasada alone. Prasada energises, vivifies, invigorates and infuses devotion. It should be taken with great faith. Those brought up in modern education and culture have forgotten the glory of prasada. Prasada gives good health, long life, peace and prosperity to all. The sacred ash is the prasada of Lord Siva. It is applied to the forehead. Kumkum (vermilion powder) is the prasada of Sri Devi or Shakti. It is applied at the space between the eyebrows.