WORSHIP, METHOD AND BENEFIT
Raju - Father, people were reciting in the temple "Lord we have reaped the benefit of your worship". What is this worship ritual and what are its benefits?
Subodh - Remembering the attributes of our most adored Lord, scriptures and monks is worship ritual.
Raju - Who is this adored God ?
Subodh - The aim of the soul is to annihilate wrong faith, attachments and aversions and to attain omniscience and supreme bliss. Whosoever attains that state is the soul supreme i.e. God. Possessed of the four eternal achievements, the Arahants and the Siddhas are the Gods, adored by all.
Raju - I have followed the conception of God. How are scriptures and monks worthy of our worship ?
Subodh - Scriptures are worthy of our homage, because they are the voice of the true God and they preach the gospel of real happiness, after annihilation of wrong faith, attachments and aversions. Digamber spiritual monks following the path of complete renunciation are also worthy of our worship.
Raju - Our teachers, parents etc. are also called Gurus. Should we, worship them also ?
Subodh - From conventional point of view, they should also be respected according to their status, but they cannot regarded as worthy of our worship in our pursuit of complete liberation, since they are not without attachments and aversions. Only the omniscient Gods scriptures that preach the gospel of complete detachment and the Digambar jain saints are worthy of our worship ritual with eight offerings.
Raju - Agreed that we should worship the three. Please let us know what benefits arise out of the worship.
Subodh - Persons having religious understanding do not worship these with desires for worldly gains or achievements. They have innate feelings of reverence towards them. Those who are on the path of liberation naturally have feelings of adoration towards those who have attained liberation, just as one who is after wealth, pays his respects to the wealthy.
Raju - So do we not get worldly joys out of worship of the Lord ?
Subodh - Conscious devotees do not desire worldly joys, but since their feelings of homage are meritorious, they attract merit karmic matter and on fruition thereof, get pleasures of this worldly existence also, but such people do not regard these as of any importance. The real benefit of such worship is to keep away from passions and pleasures of senses.
Raju - How is the ritual arranged ?
Subodh - Worship ritual is accomplished in daylight, after taking bath and putting on clean clothes. The God should be worshipped standing before the image respectfully and with concentration, offering pure substances without any life element in them.
Raju - What do you mean by pure substances ?
Subodh - Pure, cleansed substances without any germs or insects in them are worth offering to the diety e.g. rice, dry fruits, almonds etc. and pure filtered water.
Raju - Can we not worship our God without these offerings ?
Subodh - Why not ? Our feelings are the predominant elements in worship. The householders, sometimes, worship without any offerings. Some like to worship with the eight substances, while others with one or more of these.
Raju - This is alright, but I have not followed the whole procedure.
Subodh - You want to understand everything just standing here. Come with me to the temple tomorrow. You will understand everything there.
Raju - I will surely come with you; I have not only to understand the procedure, I shall perform the ritual of worship myself, everyday.
Subodh - That is a nice idea. This is the only method of saving ourselves from worldly occupations and feelings of dement.