Once sage Vasishta was doing penance. As a result of his penance Lord Shiva appeared before him along with his consort, Parvathi. Vasihta was longing to know about the external worship. When Shiva appeared, Vasishta sought clarification on this from the Lord. Shiva enlightened Vasishta with his following remarks: “God (Brahman) is beyond mind, senses and forms. God is knowledge, the knowledge of the highest order. This is called Brahma jnana (knowledge about the Brahman. Jnana means knowledge). It does not have a beginning and an end. Only the ignorant people worship God with different forms. The practice of worshipping diversified forms of God was introduced to give an opportunity to ignorant (lack of knowledge about the Brahman) people to gain ultimate knowledge and to begin their spiritual path by worshiping these forms. In a true worship, flowers mean the knowledge of the Brahman, considering all as equal and most importantly contentment. Only by using these flowers, bliss can be attained and certainly not with those physical flowers. This jnana or knowledge cannot be obtained by knowing the sastras. Afflicted by space and time the soul or the jiva gets embedded with anthakkaranam. Anthakkaranam is the combination of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.
When the mind gets attached to the external objects, the soul sinks in the sea of maya or illusion. The desires of the mind can be burnt only by the fire of the Brahman and not otherwise. Annihilation of all thoughts and surrendering to the God is the true form of worship. Physical body has nothing to do with the Brahman. “Every creation in this universe is made up of three shakthis, icha, jnana and kriya shakthis (please refer earlier postings for details). The effects of these shakthis are felt only on the physical bodies, and thus gross bodies are born. The one who realizes this fact is fit to be worshiped by everybody. He is happy with the realisation that gross is different from the subtle. Any other form of external worship is not proper. The mere act of contemplation of the Brahman within is the utensils for worship like vessels, bell, water pots, flowers, lamps, etc. The physical utilization of these utensils is not necessary when you realize the Brahman within. The Supreme consciousness pervades everywhere, in the 36 tatwas, in the chakras, in prana etc. (It is to be noted here that Lord Shiva has not given any specific place for the Brahman within the body. Not in the cave in the heart, not in the third eye.)The contemplation should continue till a shining light is realised throughout the body (Please note this throughout the body). This light should be identified with the mind. As your mind is under control at this stage, not aided by the sensory organs, you have to realize “I am That”. You have to worship “That” within, which alone is considered as the true worship.
The knowledgeable persons continue to worship this Supreme jnana (the knowledge of the Brahman), without any desires for those objects that they cannot get or they do not want to get. This worship of jnana should be perpetual and not at the prescribed timings. This worship should be done when you are performing the entire routine chorus. Such people do realize that pressure or pain is only for the gross body and their “I” (the universal self) within is not connected to sufferings. Such true knowledge can be obtained through the words of Guru or through the scriptures. “Consciousness is the supreme and this manifests as illusion or maya or duality. The ego is responsible for associating with worldly things when it induces the mind. Mind is in association with ego and sensory organs cause illusionary or non-existent individuality. This is how the individual jiva or soul comes into being. Those who want to be associated with this ego, which is nothing but a mirage in the desert, are not fit to be initiated into the path of jnana or knowledge.” With this Shiva concluded, after blessing the great sage Vasihta.