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Home >> Seeker’s Solace  >> Know thyself: The many meanings of worship
 

Know thyself: The many meanings of worship

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The Upanishad, after a couple of statements on the inability of the ordinary mind to comprehend one’s true identity with its five senses, goes on to something quite interesting.

It says:

Vad vaca nabhyuditam yena vaag abhyudyate

tad eva brahme tvam viddhi nedam yad idam upaasate

Quite a strong statement! It defines ‘That’ in terms of which words cannot comprehend, which is indefinable. ‘That’ which cannot be worded, but because of which the meaning of words exists.

Tad eva brahma tvam viddhi nedam yad idam upaasate.

Meaning–that which cannot be comprehended by the mind, and (on the contrary) by which the mind comprehends, you realise that alone as Brahman, nothing that you worship.

‘Nothing that you worship’. How do you like that? A very iconoclastic statement! So, it goes on about the other senses, the eye and the ear. 

But, the most important thing and the interesting one, for me, is the last (declaration):

Van manasaa na manuta yenaahur mano matam

tad eva brahma tvam viddhi nedam yad idam upaasate.

Van manasaa na manuta yenaahur mano matam

Meaning–but, because of which the mind has its capacity to think.

Tad eva brahma tvam viddhi.

Understand that ‘That’ alone is the ‘Supreme Truth’, the ‘Self’, the Brahman. 

Nedam yad idam upasate

Nothing that you worship here. Nothing, Nothing!

When you say worship, it has many meanings. Here, it means not to have an image which you hero worship.


Now, we have to carefully look at these words. ‘Nothing that you worship here.’ What is the meaning of worship? Immediately, one jumps to the conclusion that we should not worship God, that we should not worship this image or that image.

When you say worship, it has many meanings. Here, it means not to have an image which you hero worship. It means not to form images, it means that the ‘true-self’ can be discovered only when the mind is free of all images. All images are carefully explored and found to be just images and nothing more.

Therefore, when they (the images) fall like ninepins, when you no longer have an image of anything, and when you see that all the images are basically and primarily only an aspect of the Supreme Reality, what remains then is the true BrahmanNothing that you worship here!

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