We have a reader question by Lavie

I have seen many women and man go to satsang and do prayers day and night. Not only old but many young people also go and at home their children and family are made to starve for food. When I ask them why they do this they say that pooja path is ultimate truth and we are earning good karma. They sometime also bring their small children to satsang without caring about their studies. I have also seen many people who wants to help only their family and relatives but when they see people crying on road they just don’t care. Does only taking care of own relatives earn good karma?

Thanks Lavie.

Glad you asked this.

Worship is not about visiting a temple, standing hours in some queue and seeing the glimpse of a deity. Worship is not donating money to a temple, pilgrimage or buying the idol and spending money on it to show people how well you adore your deity. This is called the “Show of worship”.

Worship is

  • Not singing devotional songs
  • Not visiting a temple and sitting there chanting the name of god
  • Not donating money to a religious institution
  • Not bringing Idols to your house and showing people (or yourself) how pious you are.

Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission to the subjects who need it more than anyone else.

If you love something and submit to a cause, that is worship. This can be anything. You can love your job and completely submit yourself towards it, not caring the fruits or results that are derived out of that action. If your intent is clean and you put your heart in something, that is worship. What you referred in the above example is not “Worship” but the “Show of worship”.

If you love other people regardless of their caste, color, creed, social status, donate to the needy, treat everyone with respect and never harm other people, you are worshipping the supreme. There is no greater worship that loving and helping others who need help.

“दया श्रेष्ठा धर्म है ” – Empathy is the supreme religion.

In real life, we see the opposite happening.

People go to religious institutions and then follows the usual banter

Oh this place is so crowded, I hate so much crowd.

Just see all these beggars lined up? Can’t they work hard and earn their living? These people find it easy to earn a living in the name of god.

And the blame game continues.

See, how the subject has filled his/her heart with hatred. Just see the animosity, see the pathetic state of his “idea of worship”. What this subject is doing is following a “Template” and thinking that by following this “template”, he is worshipping the almighty and earning good karma.

In reality, he is doing the exact opposite. He is breeding more hatred inside his heart and blaming others, hating others (even the diety that he worships). He takes great pride in telling others that he has been part of this religious institution, that he has travelled far and wide, that he has been to so and so pilgrimage but all of that is not worship. What he has done is nothing but an adventurous show of worship. Being a pretender is easy these days, don’t fall for that.

If you really want to earn good karma through worship, stop hating others. Whoever it is, your heart must be free from hatred of any form, only then you qualify to worship the gods in the first place. You must not complain about your surroundings, government, situations and continue to love everyone and serve the needy, that is the primary clause for true worship. You must learn how to forgive people, forgive your enemies, forgive the wrong doers and love everyone in equal spirit. The true devotee is the one who has learned the art of love beyond all means.

Krishna tells Arjuna in the Battlefield

पत्रं पुष्पम फलम तोयम्
यो में भक्त्या प्राच्यति
तद अहम भक्ताय उपह्रतम् 
असनामी प्रयतात्मनः

Hey Arjuna! Whoever with loving devotion offers me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I affectionately accept it as a devotional offering.

So what is Krishna saying in hindsight? He is referring to the non worldly form of love and donation. He does not request for gold, money or material things that people often donate to Gods. Krishna is telling Arjuna that if you really want to worship me, donate food and non worldly things to people who need it the most. By donating and serving the needy, you are worshipping me (Krishna).

To wrap up, Yes, worship will earn you good karma. Provided you know what is worship in the first place. What you see in Television, those religious programmes are nothing but business. They are earning money out of it and broadcasting it so that more and more people subscribe to that idea and do whatever they want the people to do in the name of “Worship”.

To truly worship the almighty, you need not visit any temple and neither you need to read scriptures or believe in the existence of God. You can be very well an atheist and still worship by learning how to love people and help the needy.

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