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The Supreme Worship

"Human beings need not be guided by blind faith alone. For the heart has wings capable of flying where the thinking mind cannot. These are the wings of love and awe. Love impels the soul to soar toward that which is ultimately attractive, and awe humbles one's limited individuality before the "mysterium tremendum". While we rush with open arms toward the beautiful, we feel compelled to bow down before the sublime. ~ Thomas Hickey

To realize one's true nature is to realize that one is the only One that is. This is a paradoxical combination of worship, admiration and wonder for the One, while at the same time realizing that all this is the experience of the One by the One. One's own Self-awareness is none other than God's own Self-awareness. ~ Douglas Harding

Inner Light When recognition dawns at last in Awareness (our essential nature) and it's seen that Consciousness is all there is and that there is nothing else whatever, it may be imagined that worship has no place in the life of the awakened individual because it's thought there's no otherness or duality to make worship possible.

This conclusion is sometimes drawn, because the human mind cannot grasp the awesome wonder, sublimity and mystery of That which is pointed to by the word: Consciousness.

The great Indian sage, Nisargadatta Maharaj urged his hearers to consider the divine nature or aspect of Consciousness when he said:

"Do you realize the unimaginable greatness, the holiness of what you so casually call Consciousness? It is the unmanifest Absolute aware of its awareness through the manifestation, of which your mind-body is presently a part."

An ancient Indian scripture, The Yoga Visistha, is unequivocal in asserting that worship is actually natural and delightfully beneficial for those in whom the ultimate understanding has arisen. It also tells us how to enjoy without interruption this most important practice.

This Consciousness (the Self), it says, is to be worshipped inwardly by one's own consciousness, not by outward ritual or material substances -- by waving of lamps, lighting incense, offering flowers or even food or sandalpaste.

Consciousness is apprehended or realised without the least effort, and is worshipped by self-realisation alone. And the Self is not realised by any means other than meditation.

Meditating with form such as upon an object, sound, breath or mental image is both external and dualistic, since there exists the division of the subject (the one that meditates) and object (that which is meditated upon).

'on wings like eagles' We shall now share with you the internal worship of the Self which is the greatest of all practices and which destroys completely the darkness of ignorance and illusion.

The meditation (or worship) to which we refer is in essence a continuous meditation -- whether one is walking, or standing, in and through all one's actions, one can contemplate this supreme Presence Awareness which dwells within us.

This is both internal and non-dualistic worship, since there is no subject and object division when your awareness remains aware of Awareness, when consciousness remains conscious of Consciousness.

This is the supreme meditation, this is the supreme worship: the continuous and unbroken awareness of the indwelling Presence, inner Light or Consciousness.

While doing whatever one is doing -- seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, breathing, or talking -- one can realise one's essential nature as pure Consciousness. This is truly liberating.

One is to worship the manifest consciousness or self-awareness which wakes up, goes about or stands, touches what is to be touched, abandons what should be abandoned, enjoys and abandons pleasures, engages in varied external activities, lends value to all actions and remains as peace in the vital organs in the body.

This inner intelligence is to be worshipped in or through whatever comes to one unsought.

Remaining firmly established in the stream of life and its experiences, after having bathed in self-knowledge, one is to worship this inner intelligence by means of self-realisation (direct self-awareness of your inner Awareness).

This worship is to be performed day and night continually, with the objects that effortlessly appear, and are offered to consciousness with a mind firmly established in equanimity and in the right spirit, for Consciousness, being Spirit, cares only for the right spirit.

Consciousness is to be worshipped by means of all enjoyments that the body enjoys, through eating, drinking, being with one's consort and such other pleasures. Consciousness is to be worshipped with the illnesses one experiences and with every sort of unhappiness or suffering one experiences.

Consciousness is to be worshipped with all of one's activities, including life and death and all of one's dreams. Consciousness should be worshipped with one's poverty and prosperity.

Consciousness is to be worshipped even with fights and quarrels as well as with sports and other pastimes, and with the manifestations of the emotions of attraction and aversion. Consciousness is to be adored with the noble qualities of a pious heart -- friendship, compassion, joy and indifference.

Consciousness is to be worshipped with all kinds of pleasures that are granted to one unsought, whether those pleasures are sanctioned by the scriptures or forbidden by them.

Consciousness is to be worshipped with those that are regarded as desirable and others that are regarded as undesirable, with those that are considered appropriate and others that are considered inappropriate.

For this worship one is to abandon what is lost, and one should accept and receive what has been obtained without effort. One is to engage oneself in this worship at all times, established in supreme equanimity in regard to all the percepts, whether they be pleasant or unpleasant.

One is to regard everything as good and auspicious (or one is to regard everything as a mixture of good and evil).

Realizing that everything is the one Self (Consciousness), one is to worship the Self in this spirit. One is to look with equal vision upon that which is pleasant and beautiful through and through, and that which is unendurably unpleasant.

Thus is one to worship the Self.

One is to abandon the divisive notions of 'This I am' and 'This I am not' and realise that 'All this is indeed God' -- the one indivisible and infinite Consciousness. In that spirit one is to worship the Self.

At all times, in all forms and their modifications, one is to worship the Self in and through all that one obtains. One is to worship the Self after having abandoned the distinction between the desirable and the undesirable, or even while relying on such a distinction (but using them as a means for worship).

Without craving and without rejecting, that which is effortless and naturally obtained may be enjoyed. One is not to get excited or depressed when faced with insignificant or significant objects, just as neither sky nor space is affected by the diverse objects that exist and grow in it.

One is to worship the Self without mental manipulation, with every objects that are obtained purely on account of the coincidence of the time, place and activity -- whether they are popularly known as good or bad.

In this procedure for the worship of the Self, whatever article has been mentioned as being necessary for worship is of the same nature as all others (as Consciousness), though the expressions used are different.

Equanimity (an equal eye) is sweetness itself and this sweetness is beyond the senses and the mind. Whatever is touched by that equanimity instantly becomes sweet, whatever its description or definition may be.

That alone is regarded as worship which is performed when it is in a state of equanimity like that of space, when the mind has become utterly quiescent without the least movement of thought, when there is effortless absence of manipulation.

Established in this state of equanimity, the wise one experiences infinite expansion within him or herself while carrying out one's natural actions externally without craving or rejection.

Such is the nature of the worshipper of this intelligence (Consciousness), delusion, ignorance and ego-sense do not arise for the wise one, even in a dream. Remain in this mode, experiencing everything as a child does.

Worship the intelligence (Consciousness) that pervades this body with all that is brought to you by time, circumstances and environment, and rest in supreme peace, devoid of desire.

Whatever you do and whenever you do it (or refrain from doing it) -- all that is the worship of the Lord who is pure Consciousness. By regarding all that as the worship of the Self, the Self is delighted.

Likes and dislikes, attraction and aversion are not found in the Self independent of its essential nature; they are mere words. Even the concepts indicated by words like 'sovereignty', 'poverty', 'pleasure', 'pain', 'one's own' and 'others' are in fact worship of the Self, for this 'conceiving' intelligence is the Self.

Knowledge of the Cosmic Being (Consciousness) alone is the proper worship of the Cosmic Being. It is that Self or Cosmic Consciousness alone which is indicated by expressions such as 'this world.'

Oh, what mysterious wonder it is that the Self, which is pure Consciousness or intelligence somehow seems to forget Its own nature and comes to regard Itself as a separate individual (an object rather than the Subject).

In fact, in that Cosmic Being which is the reality in everything, there is not even the division into worshipper, worship and the worshipped.

It is impossible to describe that Cosmic Being who supports the entire universe without division; it is impossible to teach another concerning it. And, we do not consider them worthy of being taught by us who consider that God is limited by time and space (is not omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient).

Hence, abandoning all such limited concepts, abandoning even the division between the worshipper and the worshipped (Lord), worship the Self by the Self (consciously remain conscious of Consciousness).

Be at peace, pure, free from cravings. Consider (consciously) that all your experiences and expressions are the worship of the Self.

Thus is one to worship the Self at all times through this continual meditation (awareness remaining aware of Awareness).

~ From: The Concise Yoga Vasistha, pp 299-301, Trans. by Swami Venkatesananda.

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