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Two kinds of Upasana are well known , as Prateek and Ahangrah .
In the Prateek Upasana , one has to see Brahma ( Divinity ) , having set aside the appearance of external forms . In the Ahangrah Upasana , there remains only the Divine vision and nothing but that . You have to give up your selfishness , the supposed " I and mine " .

If we believe the external objects to be real and suppose GOD to exist therein , that is not Divine worship , but is only blind faith or idolatry . In this connection , it is ordained , ( Sutra 5 , Pad 1 , Chapter IV of Vyas Ji's Brahma Mimansa Darshan ) thus , " Divine vision elevates one . "

We should see Divinity in all the external objects . But this does not mean that we should regard the external objects to be something separate from Divinity .

As regards the Ahangrah Upasana , Vyas Ji writes thus :

" They attain the Real Self and also hold it fast . "

( Brahma Mamansa 4-1 , 3 ) .

Repeat this idea again and again that your soul is Brahma ( Divinity ) .

It is the creed as well as the teachings of the Vedas . In both kinds of Upasana , the aim is one and the same . What is that ? It is that with undisturbed mind you should concentrate on the fact that is entire world is Brahma , because it is created out of Brahma , it does exist in Brahma and will ultimately be submerged in Brahma . See Brahma within and without with a cool mind .

" The human is the embodiment of one's desires and beliefs . "

( Chhandyag Up . , III , 14 , 1 )

Hence , " as one thinks , so one certainly becomes . " When such is the case , we should concentrate with a strong will on the idea that we are Brahma . The Shruti also confirms this .

" To know Brahma is to become Brahma . "

( Manduk Up . , 3 , 2 )

Both the Prateek and Ahangrah Upasanas have the common aim to demolish or to merge this diversity of names and forms into one Brahma , and not to confirm it .

Solid is Brahma , liquid is Brahma , air is Brahma , fire is Brahma , sky is Brahma , and so on and so forth . It may , however , be clearly understood that Brahma is not to be added to anything , such as solid , liquid or gas etc . These are only the different forms of Prateek Upasana .

As a matter of fact , it is all Brahma and nothing but Brahma .

The serpent is black . In this sentence , both the serpent and its blackness exist . But such is not the case in relation to Brahma and other objects .

It is all Brahma .

In this case , there is the denial of all other objects . If it is said to a deluded person that this serpent is rope , it means that there is no serpent but only a rope which is black like a serpent . It is nothing but a rope and the serpent does not exist at all .

In the same way , true Upasana is , when we do not see the form of any object at all , be it solid , liquid , gas , etc , but instead , we see only Brahma and Brahma alone .

The flowing Ganga or the blowing wind must disappear from our sight and we have to realize nothing but Divinity alone .

In the case of an idol , the very idea of the form of the idol must be effaced from our mind and we must see only the vision of the all-glorious Lord , Brahma .

On receiving a love letter , the charming face of the beloved comes before the eyes of the lover who is , therefore , quite unable to read the letter * . So , too , when one is all absorbed in Divine love , Upasana , one would be able to see nothing except one's Beloved GOD , Brahma , the all pervading .

To one absorbed in Upasana ( Devotion ) , the worldly objects will appear but only for name sake . When the sweetheart pinches the lover , the sting of the pinch is not felt . It is only the beloved who is reminded by the pinch . In the same way , the knowledge of sense organs will be felt by such a person like a pleasant episode with one's Beloved , who is the only Reality .

A Hindi poet says :—

" When the breeze came dancing , it brought the message of the sweetheart , Shyam . "

Dear ! Upasana is the name of that state in which not only the tongue but every atom of the body is thrilled .

If , however , it does not produce such an effect , your Upasana is useless , even though you may close your eyes , stuff your nose , plug your ears , hold your tongue , sing , shout or do whatever you like . Such Upasana is like an uninspiring painting , howsoever beautiful it may be , even though it may have been painted by Ravi Varma .

Upasana is to strengthen the Divine vision to help you realize Brahma in worldly objects and to eradicate the idea of feeling sense-objects as real . Do not take it to be the development or utilization of the imaginative faculty , as is done in the game of chess , by supposing the wooden pieces to be ruler , ruler's spouse , elephant , horse or footpersons .

Water is Brahma , sky is Brahma , vital force is Brahma , fire is Brahma , mind is Brahma and so on .

The main purpose of Upasana is to establish and strengthen the idea of true Reality , having effaced that of unreality .

If it be taken as mere supposition , let it be that of a child who is made to believe the rules of multiplication and division , as taught by the teacher . Why are the rules of multiplication and division so and so and not otherwise , and what is the cause of getting the right answer by following those rules , will be understood by the child later on , when learning algebra . But , by having faith in the teacher's instructions , all the exercises will be solved correctly . But be beware . Do not misunderstand the formulae as other than what has been taught by the teacher .

What is an idol ( Pratima ) ? An idol can be compared to a measure or a weight . You may call it the unit of measurement . When the measuring weight is small , the result will be great . Suppose the measuring weight is a quarter , the result of it will be four units . When the measuring weight is one-sixteenth , the result will be sixteen units .

Now , we have to see what the Prateek and the Pratima ( external objects and idols ) in the Hindu religion are . They are units of measure to estimate the greatness of GOD . In Hindu religion , the great Sun and the Moon are also the forms of Prateek ( external object ) to form an estimation of GOD .

Next to them are also Guru ( religious teacher ) , Brahman ( one of realization ) , Cows , Garus ( the biggest bird ) Pipal , Tulsi , tree and shruts , Kailash ( one of the highest peaks of the Himilayas ) the Ganga , etc etc . Besides these , the short round black stone ( Salig Ram ) has also been taken as a form of Pratima , the measure .

Was the smallest Prateek or Pratima ( the unit of measure ) only meant to make GOD look small ? No . Not at all . In taking a small unit of measure it was aimed to enhance the estimation of GOD-consciousness and Divine vision .

When even the smallest stone has been accepted as Divinity , all the other things and the entire world will be nothing but Divinity .

But one who worships the idol with the limited idea that it alone is Divinity , is steeped in ignorance . Such a person can well be compared to the " worm " as one's vision is confined to the stone only . ( Such a person cannot realize the omnipresence of GOD . The vision remains confined to the idol only . )

( NOTE : * The gopis , the milk maids of Brij ask Uddhava who brought a letter from Lord Krishna , as to where they should keep it . If they hold it on their bosoms , it would be burnt , due to the fire of separation . If however , they place the letter on their eyes , it would be wet with tears and would be reduced to a pulp .



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